with gallantry, his stories, his endless energy
and beloved popular songs and "cuecas choras",
Tio Lalo seduces his audience. The same respect
with which he approaches everybody is the one he
has always received. He is a true gentleman, now
made official by this award.
He has become the idol for
younger generations that want to nurture themselves
with a more local tradition, more genuine. His
charisma and experience make him a living myth.
At 85, he is still active, full of projects, married
to a woman forty years younger, and the spirit
of any party he may attend.
The "Orden al Merito
Docente y Cultural" (Cultural and Teaching
Merit Order) has been defined as "the highest
recognition that the government gives to Chileans
and foreigners that have outstood in the areas
of culture and education". It was created
by the Act N°013017 on October 31st, 2002.
It consists of a medal and a band, and no financial
reward. In its different categories (caballero,
comendador, gran oficial and lazo de dama) the
award has recognized the work of male and female
writers, musicians, teachers, priests, scientific,
painters and actors.
In the area of heritage preservation,
it was given to the Swiss expert in restoration
Roberto Montandon, who developed a work with National
Monuments for fifty years. In the field of popular
music, it was given to Lucho Gatica for being
"one of the most remarkable romantic singers
of 20th Century's second half". Other exponents
of the folkloric root, like Inti-Illimani, had
already worn the honorific band. In classical
music, the choirs director Vicente Bianchi and
the soprano Verónica Villaroel have also
been part of the list. Among the awarded writers,
Jorge Edwards and Francisco Coloane. In painting,
Roberto Matta, José Balmes, Marta Colvin,
Nemesio Antúnez. In stage arts, the actress
Malú Gatica, dancer and choreographer Patricio
Bunster, and opera-singer Cristina Gallardo-Domas.
Important foreign creators,
such as Mexican writer Hector Aguilar Camín,
US photographer Louis Stettner, and British rocker
Gordon Summer -Sting-, who was recognized for
his contribution to the Human-Rights cause and
his commitment with the relatives of the disappeared.
The list goes on with the names of some of the
most important men of the cultural world, such
as the historian Leopoldo Castedo, Senator Gabriel
Valdés, and multi-artist Claudio Di Girólamo.
Teacher Alicia González Opazo was awarded
when turning 100 years of age. Valparaíso´s
major, Hernán Pinto, was recently awarded
after this city was recognized as part of Humanity's