—by Alfredo Rolando Ortiz
Music perseveres through ups and downs
Born in Cuba, I moved to Venezuela in February of 1958 when I was 11. Days after my 15th birthday, on Dec. 23, 1961, my 14-year-old friend, Fernando Guerrero, gave me my first lesson on a borrowed Venezuelan harp that a family friend had as decoration. Months later, Paraguayan harpist Alberto Romero became my teacher, and he helped my family to obtain my first Paraguayan harp. Knowing we had a house full of Cuban refugees sleeping on the floor, Alberto never accepted payment for my lessons.