He appeared like a mirage, a little over five years ago, a ‘gringo’ dressed in an impeccably tailored white linen suit and matching snap brim chapeau. In stentorian tones, he politely inquired if there was a possibility that he could have a photo taken of him alongside of don Hugo Torres, the founding father of the city of Rosarito Beach. The recipient of his query thought he might be talking to the handsomer younger brother of the Emmy Award winning actor James Spader. Anyhow, as luck would have it, the visitor’s request was made at the iconic oceanfront Rosarito Beach Hotel, the site of the city’s 1st Annual International Mariachi & Folklorico Festival, and its proprietor, Senor Torres, was just steps away.
After the pleasantries… and the impromptu photo shoot…were completed, the erudite gentleman made a very generous donation to the local Boys and Girls Club, the causa noble for whom the event was being held. He followed this up with the interesting story of the roots of his love for all things Mexican ( his parents honeymooned at the hotel and he was conceived during the fortnight they spent there) and admitted that mariachi music was his particular passion.
Thus began a friendship and altruistic relationship that continues to this day and beyond. But there is much more to the story including several twists-and-turns of positively byzantine proportions. His other passion, one that predated his love of his preferred musical genre, begins the tale.
Ed Marsh’s interest in literature began when he was in high school. According to Angela Carone of KPBS-TV, the Public Broadcasting affiliate in San Diego, it all started with “…a reverence for L. Ron Hubbard, one of the masters of science fiction. The youngster was just seventeen and was growing up in La Mesa, California when he joined Hubbard’s Church of Scientology. His dad, a well-to-do attorney, and his mother, a socialite, were skeptical of their son’s new-found faith but when he told them that it was the primary reason that he stopped using drugs, they were more supportive.”
Recently, after working exclusively for the Church for over a decade and achieving its highest ministerial level while successfully…and concurrently… pursuing a life-long career in real estate, Marsh told Carone…”as a young man I was really troubled. Extremely troubled. Today I haven’t an unhealthy care in the world. I love my collection of literature. my philosophy, and my religion.”
“Hubbard was prolific, writing essays and poetry, not to mention the many science fiction novels that captured Marsh’s imagination.and inspired him to collect.” While it is probably safe to say that Hubbard was Marsh’s muse as far as literature was concerned (a portion of his vast collection of signed first editions by science fiction giants of the genre was recently donated to the prestigious Love Library at his alma mater, San Diego State University), his other passion is an esoteric brand of Mexican popular music inspired by an equally prestigious practitioner of that particular art form.
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan was founded 116 years ago and today, in its fifth generation, is internationally acclaimed as ‘el mejor del mundo’ (the best in the world). Marsh has been collecting their music and memorabilia for as long as he can remember. While altruistically helping his causa noble, the Club de Ninos y Ninas de Rosarito, to promote its annual fund-raising International Mariachi and Folklorico Festival (which recently celebrated its Fifth Anniversary), he convinced the Vargas grupo to perform on behalf of the event in both 2013 and 2014. The response to their first ever appearances in this Baja Norte rinconcito al mar (coastal town) was overwhelming.
He then decided to pursue his life long dream of producing a very special event featuring the iconic…and internationally acclaimed…maestros. On December 12th, 2015 Mariachi Vargas and four symphony orchestras under the direction of Jose Guadalupe Flores, the Musical Director of the world renowned Qrquesta Filarmonica del Estado de Queretaro (the State of Queretaro’s Symphony Orchestra) will be the focus of the ‘Gran Concierto‘ to be held at the spectacular Baja Cultural Center.
Marsh’s love of literature and music have been a major focus of his life long passion to keep culture alive for future generations to enjoy. The rest of the remarkable story of this man, his muse, and his music remains to be written. However, there is no doubt that the opening chapters will keep all of us looking forward to turning the next pages as soon as they are composed.