María Eva remembers that moment:
When the Venezuelans were looking for housing to bring a group, they spoke with us, but the hotel was still very ugly. The boards that had been up before had been taken down, but the rooms were not ready. We told them the story of the hotel, that we were a cooperative, but that at that time, we didn’t have things ready, they could help us if they advanced us payment for the lodging. In the end, the group didn’t come, but the children of a youth orchestra did come, children that came from the villages, from the streets.
This was the Arcos Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, directed by no less than (the then practically unknown and today famous worldwide) Gustavo Dudamel, barely 22 years old, and part of the National System of Children and Youth Orchestras of Venezuela, led by another recognized teacher, José Antonio Abreu.1
For Marcelo Ruarte, who was then president of the cooperative, the 2004 contract with the government of Venezuela was fundamental. Marcelo remembers that the Venezuelans…
(…) needed lodging for around 60 children who, through a State program, were recruited on the street, trained, and then placed in large orchestras. Those kids were the first ones we housed, after the sum of money that PDVSA put up, thanks to the decision of their controller in Argentina, Alejandro Gómez, that allowed us to get two stories and four telephone lines working, improve the lobby, and buy dishes, sheets, and uniforms.
So it was that, at the beginning of October of 2004, the almost 70 children from the orchestra directed by Dudamel were housed in two of the recently rehabilitated floors of the BAUEN. With payment advanced, María Eva recalls that they bought (…) the bedsheets that were needed, and also clothing for the (workers of the) floors, reception, maids, etc. There was the opening of story. It was like a push that we needed to start to commercially work the floors.
The push was so big that it even included the purchase of plants to beautify the entryway. And it did not end there. It was the start that had been needed to put the resumption of the hotel activities on track.
- “Music to break the cycle of poverty,” in La Nación, 3 October 2004. Recovered from https://www.lanacion.com.ar/espectaculos/musica/musica-para-romper-el-circulo-de-la-pobreza-nid641637/.↩