Classical guitarists Jesus Serrano and Pamela Arellano take the DVAC stage in Hemet

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Classical guitarists Pamela Arellano and Jesus Serrano from Mexico perform a rare duet of classical guitar music at the Diamond Valley Arts Center free “The Art of the Guitar in Mexico” music event. Tony Ault photo

World-renowned Mexican classic and flamenco guitarist Jesus Serrano and rising young classical guitarist Pamela Arellano, first time in America, made a rare appearance in a free concert at the Diamond Valley Arts Center in Hemet, Saturday, Nov. 9.

The duo, both taught by some of the top classical guitar players from Mexico, Italy and Russia, who have earned praises on their worldwide tours, made a special appearance at the DVAC on the invitation of fine guitar-maker David Pelham who searches the world for the best in guitar.

The special musical event was billed as “The Art of The Guitar in Mexico.”

Arellano, 20, from Zacatecas, Mexico, played some outstanding classics she learned at the Universidad Autonomo Zacatecas Academic Unit of Arts since she was 14 and picked up her first guitar. Her classical guitarist stepfather and teacher Edgar Bautisa and her mother came with her for her first visit to America.

“It is so exciting,” she said at the end of her set at the DVAC.

She played six sets of classics from “Aires de Son” by Gerardo Tamez to “Felicidade” by V. de Moraes and A.C. Jobim and arranged by Roland Dyens.

Serrano glided across the strings of his Pellam guitar at first slowly and melodically and soon shifted the mood with the amazing finger movements found only in the best of flamenco guitar masters. Serrano, originally from Mexico City, is now based in the Netherlands, touring many international cities including Amsterdam, Mexico City, Toronto, Costa Rica and Madrid. His American tour included Miami, Denver, San Jose and soon Idyllwild. All of these appearances were accomplished in just a matter of weeks. Hemet was a special stop for the trio who joined together to present “The Art of the Guitar in Mexico” at Pellam’s request.

Serrano and Arellano finished the show playing together in a beautiful set of classical and Flamenco numbers, bringing great applause from the full house of spectators. The duel performance was only one of a number of “surprises” that Serrano promised his audience. Another was presentation of several classics written by Pelham as a songwriter on one of his guitars.

“I could not have played them better. They were never so beautiful,” Pellam said clapping for the artist after the surprise performance.

Serranos played seven pieces from the Gran Jota by Francisco Tarrega from 1852-1909 to the more modern “Funk for guitar” by Guillermo Gonzales in 1960 and “The Red Fantasy” by Kevin Callahan in 1958. The more famous classics “Etudes 11 and 12” by Heitor Villalobos from 1887-1959 concluded his part of the performance before coming onstage with Arellano.

Serrano and Arellano thanked Pelham for bringing them to America and managing to get them through a maze of red tape with Homeland Security. Arellano was refused U.S. entry once before.

The DVAC is located at 123 N. Harvard St. in Hemet and provide live musical performances twice a month from many musicians across the world and top local artists. The nonprofit Diamond Valley Arts Council sponsors the events at the historic downtown Harvard Street facility. The DVAC music and art show schedule may be found at www.thedvac.org.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.