Herencia Mariachi Academy

501 (c)(3) non-profit organization
Federal Tax Id # 47-2523243

Musical Director

Director Rafael Palomar,

A living legend of mariachi, former member of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, professional arranger, maestro and artistic/musical director.

Rafael Palomar was born in the port of Veracruz, Mexico.  At the age of thirteen, he began working at Plaza Garibaldi with different groups.  While in high school and the La Escuela Libre de Musica in Mexico City he continued perfecting his craft.

For 15 years Rafael worked with el Mariachi "Charros de Ameca".  It was during this time when he first recorded the famous song, "El Mariachi Loco" a composition of his father, Mr. Raman Palomar.

At the age of 15 years he had the opportunity to record with his father all the productions of Los Hermanos Zaizar, Federico Villa, and many others.

At age 17, he was part of the Mariachi Latino, working in the well-known restaurant "Plaza Santa Cecilia" of Mexico City, accompanying famous artists, such as Las Hermanitas Nunez, Marco Antonio Vasquez, Manuel Lopez Ochoa, Magda Franco, Maria Elena Sandoval and many more.

As a soloist for the Charros de Ameca his most important work was to record classical music, waltzes and polkas.

From the age of 23 until 46, he had the great opportunity of being a member of the "MARIACHI VARGAS DE TECALITLAN".  With them he traveled to many places in the world like the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, Canada, China, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, etc.

He has accompanied many artists, among them Lucha Villa, Lucero, Beatriz Adriana, Luis Miguel, Alejandro and Vicente Fernandez, Estela Nunez, Aida Cuevas, and Guadalupe Pineda. 

Working with the great Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, was very significant and important to his career because he participated in 35 recordings productions.

At the age of 47 he retired from Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan and devoted himself to working as a musical director for Mr. Ezequiel Pena, accompanying him on his tour of all the Mexican Republic with "Mariachi Palomar of Ameca" and at the same time managing the band.

Today Rafael Palomar resides in the United States and in his free time is dedicated to making musical arrangements for artists and mariachi groups as requested.



Trumpet Instructor Manuel Luna



Violin Instructor Karla Mascari


Board President

President: Eddie Nunez

Was born to immigrant parents in the City of Indio, California.  After graduating from Coachella Valley High School in 1985, he attended the University of California, Irvine where he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Humanities with emphasis in bilingual education.  While attending UCI, he danced in the "Ballet Folklorico de UCI".   He has two daughters who are involved in the mariachi program.  

"A program like HERENCIA Mariachi Academy, is needed in the community to instill positive reinforcement for young children and a way to keep them involved in positive activities.  HERENCIA Mariachi Academy teaches students to appreciate a piece of their culture and heritage, while at the same time, teaches them to play and sing mariachi music."


Board Vice President

Vice President: Rene Bonilla

He graduated from California State University of Fullerton.  He holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.  He has serve as a board member representative for the Board of Directors of HERENCIA Mariachi Academy since its inception.  He has two children in the program who play trumpet and vihuela.

"I strongly believe that actively learning to play an instrument helps a child develop their brain as well as their academic achievement. HERENCIA Mariachi Academy has been founded to inspire all its students through music while simultaneously supporting, encouraging and inspiring them to show their hidden artistic talents.  My vision is to take each child's musical skills to even greater levels than they could have ever imagined and show your child that if they believe you can ...then you can!"


Board Treasurer

Treasurer: Teresa Serrano

Was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.  She attended California Baptist University where she graduated with a Bachelor's in Sociology and a Masters in Counseling Psychology.  She has three children, two have been part of the Mariachi program since its inception.  Her daughter played the Guitar and Guitarron and last year gradutated and is now studying at UC Merced pursuing a higher education.  Her youngest is part of the Beginners II, where he is learning to play the guitar.

"I am a true believer that you must invest in your children to help them discover the greatness in them.  The programs goal is to expose children to an overall educational experience through art.  We as a community must stop making excuses and make progress for the new generation.  The vision is to help children discover culture, heritage, and be a diverse community through Mariachi music.  We want our program to help children and youth innovate themselves so that they grow up with a sense of identity and security of who they are.  I am proud to be part of this movement in my community."


Board Secretary

Secretary: Maria Licea-Gonzalez

Maria Licea was born in Upland, California.  Her parents migrated from Jalisco, Mexico to the United States in 1973.  From her parents she learned the importance of an education and hard work.  Thanks to their support, she has obtained her Bachelors, Teaching Credential, BCLAD and Masters in Education from UC Riverside.  She was fortunate enough to complete her student teaching at Garretson Elementary in the Dual Immersion program.  She is currently starting her 13th year at Garretson  Elementary.  She believes that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially.  It is her desire as an educator to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk taking, and invites a sharing of ideas.  As a result, she believes in the mission statement of HERENCIA Mariachi Academy as well as her husband Alejandro.  They are proud that their two children are part of the academy learning to play the violin.   


Board Member

Board Member: Aidee Lopez

Anative of Tijuana Baja California, Mexico she attended Santa Ana High School and graduated from University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.  She has been a State Farm Agent in the City of Santa Ana for the past 15 years.  Prior to becoming a State Farm Agent, she was a Coldwell Banker Realtor in the City of Anaheim.

Her current associations are:  Secretary for Relampago Del Cielo Grupo Folklorico;  Choir Director of St. Barbara's Spanish choir;  Coordinator of Busqueda De Cristo;  Member of St. Barbara's Hispanic Parish Council;  Volunteer for the Neighbor Works Orange County; Volunteer to feed the homeless in Santa Ana;  Advocate and volunteer for Rancho Nazaret boys orphanage in Tecate, B.C. Mexico.

Recipient of the following awards:  Neighborhood Housing Award - Community Service 2006; 2007 Latino OC 100 - Business Leader; State Farm Circle of Excellence and community Service 2003 and 2009 Women making a difference Award. 


Board Member

Board Member: Paco Licea

Frank "Paco" Licea has been a local Realtor in the Inland Empire since 2001.  As CEO of RX Real Estate & Paco & Associates he has been in the industry for over 15 years.  He believes in empowering sellers and buyers by education.  You often hear him say that he is just a "Story teller of the American Dream."  He prides himself in helping people buy  and sell the American Dream.  

When he is not fighting for his clients, he  is fighting for property rights.  In the last 10 years he has been fighting behind the scenes to make his industry better.  He is currently President of the Inland Valley Association of Realtors.  He also has been a California Association of Realtors Director, member of the legislative committee, past trustee of the local candidate recommendation committee and currently is a key contact for his local congressman and assembly woman.

When he is not helping people with the American Dream he is giving back to his community.  He currently serves as a director in the City of Riverside Library Foundation, director with Victoria Avenue Forever Foundation and giving classes for the City of Riverside on real estate.  But his #1 love is his family.  His most important role is being a dad to his daughter.


Board Member

Board Member: Mayra Najar

Mayra Najar epitomizes integrity, energy, hard work, and creative services in every aspect of her life.  Mayra grew up in Corona, California and aspired to help others from very early stage in her life.  Starting at a young age of 18, she has been working in the medical field for over 15 years.  She is currently working in the Operating room as an Orthopedic Assistant.  She is passionate about caring for the lives of her patients.  Mayra is also a wife and mother of two boys; she has a strong devotion to God, her husband and kids.  An athlete by nature and a bookworm by heart Mayra values spending time outdoors with her family.

Mayra is currently attending Grand Canyon University pursuing her Bachelor's degree of Science in the Counseling in Substance Abuse and Addiction.  Soon after graduating GCU her goal is to apply to Loma Linda University to achieve her Master's degree in Physician Assistant.  

Mayra and her boys have been part of HERENCIA Mariachi Academy for over two years.  Her family enjoys being part of the academy and will continue to support in any way they can.

Five words you can count on from Mayra Najar is love, integrity, commitment, passion and fun.   


Board Member

Board Member: Maribel Ponce


Board Member

Board Member: Marta Cortez

Is a native Coronan and the daughter of immigrant farm workers. She attended Riverside Community College and graduated from the University of California Riverside with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology.  Along with her siblings, they have successfully run Eduardo's Mexican Restaurant in Corona for 25 years.  She is also on the board of directors of the Corona Chamber of Commerce, the Corona History Association and the Cinco de Mayo Scholarship Committee.  She is proud to serve and be a part of this community.

"In my family, it was very important to keep our culture, language and heritage alive.  I learned to love, honor and respect it, so it's only natural that I have felt the need to share it with others in the community.  This program is for children of all backgrounds and through a well-developed music program, it not only teaches them to read and play music, but also teaches them about discipline, commitment, and perseverance, opening up an entire new world of possibilities and opportunities for their education and their future."