The Story Behind Eddie Van Halen’s Public School Guitar Donation Revealed
Back in January, Eddie Van Halen donated 75 guitars from his collection to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation for use in Los Angeles public schools. In a new interview, Felice Mancini, the foundation’s executive director, explains how the transfer took place.
“Eddie’s management company knew that Eddie wanted to give these guitars away,” Mancini, the daughter of legendary composer Henry Mancini, told the Examiner (as reported by the Van Halen News Desk). “They called and said, ‘We have a client who is interested in doing this,’ and they talked to us for a long time…They did not tell us who it was until they were sure that they liked us and that we were the ones. And we found out and we thought, Whoa! OK! Wonderful!”
Once the donation had been arranged, Van Halen’s guitar tech worked on each of the instruments to make sure they were playable before handing them over to the foundation. The guitars were then distributed among seven schools.
Eventually, Mancini met the famous benefactor. “He came to our office with his lovely wife and took some pictures with the staff,” she continued. “He’s a lovely man and very shy. It was fun. Eddie’s wife was delightful; they were just so happy that this happened. Eddie did sincerely want to feel that he gave something back, and he did. It was win-win all the way around.”