The Latin American Culture Department – A Retrospective 1997-2009

by Angela Maria Sacchi (February 2013)

To raise awareness of the fascinating heritage of our Spanish-speaking neighbors, the Ebell of Los Angeles created a Latin American Cultures Department in 1997, under the leadership of Curator Angela Maria Sacchi.

With dazzling and informative programs, the wide range of subjects gave the Ebell the opportunity to invite artists of every talent and diplomats from all the South American countries and Mexico.

Here is a brief overview of the Department’s activities:

Exotic Peruvian Songbird Yma Sumac Honored with Ebell Life Achievement Award – October 27, 1997

Singing marvel Yma Sumac, with a four-and-a-half-octave vocal range had talents that transcended age, culture, generation and politics to help define a new category of “World Artist.” For that reason, the Ebell of Los Angeles chose to bestow upon her the prestigious Life Achievement Award.

 Mystical Tequila Gets High Marks -May 5, 2002

More than 400 guests, a romantic program of Mariachi singers, colorful dancers, delicious Mexican dishes, and precious liquid tequila added up to to an evening of instant immersion into the colors, sensations and aromas of Mexico.

The evening was hosted by generous and gracious sponsors: Carlos Haro, Jr., author of the book Tequila and owner of the legendary restaurant Casablanca; Javier Martinez, President and CEO of “El Charro” Tequila Company, and Jorge Gamboa, Patron Marketing Director of the Mexican Tourist Office in Los Angeles.

 First Ebell Humanitarian Award Bestowed Upon Chilean-Born Philanthropist – November 13, 2003

Chilean born business entrepreneur Jose Luis Nazar, founder of Lexicon Marketing-USA, was honored with the Ebell Humanitarian Award during this “Latino Spirit” gala in recognition of his generous effort to help Spanish-speaking immigrants learn English by donating thousands of Spanish-English dictionaries. Ebell lunches and evening programs benefitted from his generosity. Mr. Nazar used to donate cases of his delicious Chilean wines to be savored with our Latin American dishes.

Great Masters of Art Gala Honors a Renaissance Artist with Life Achievement Award – November 16, 2007

The Peruvian painter and sculptor Fernando de Szyszlo flew from Lima, Peru to be guest of honor at a splendid reception to celebrate his life as one of the giants of Latin American art in the second half of the 20th century and to receive The Ebell Life Achievement Award presented to him by President Kay Lachter.

Nine sponsorship packages totaling $15,000 were sold during a special fundraiser party held at the beautiful house of Paul and June Bilgore on September 21, 2007. Maestro de Szyszlo donated a print of one of his famous paintings that went to the highest bidder of the Gala’s silent auction.

 “Give Our Regards to Broadway” Gala Honors Rita Moreno with Life Achievement Award – November 6, 2009

Rita Moreno is a show business legend and the only Hispanic woman to win an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony and an Oscar. Since her Broadway debut she has been a singer, a dancer, a sitcom celebrity and a Hollywood actress.

The Ebell was very pleased to bestow upon Rita Moreno its prestigious 2009 Life Achievement Award. Past Presidents and members of the Ebell Board of Directors produced 22 programs to portray the temperamental, feisty and very talented Hispanic people.

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