Relatives, close friends as well as Venezuelan officials paid tribute to the great Venezuelan maestro Jose Antonio Abreu during his wake that began in the early morning hours of Sunday.
The memorial service began at a chapel in the Sala Simón Bolívar of the National Center for Social Action for Music, located in the Venezuelan capital Caracas.
The casket with the body of the maestro was placed on the hall’s stage after being escorted by the Presidential Guard and musicians from the orchestra he founded.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro attended the ceremony to pay homage to the maestro's coffin, along with relatives and close friends. Maduro presented his family with the national flag and a replica of the Sword of the Liberator Simon Bolívar.
The Bolivarian National Armed Forces also paid tribute to maestro Abreu, Vladimir Padrino López, Venezuelan Minister of Defense, said through his social media accounts.
The funeral of the prominent Venezuelan musician is scheduled for Sunday afternoon in the Eastern Cemetery, located in the southeast of the metropolitan area of Caracas.
The conductor’s expansive career in music was balanced with his dedication as a social activist. Abreu had in mind a mission: to democratize music for social sectors, as well as age and skill levels, El Impulso reports.
Abreu created 'El Sistema' (The System) 40 years ago in a garage with just nine musicians as "a social project because it aspires to apply music to the development of man, and national because it aspires to get the whole country to participate in it."