I have great admiration for our new apprentice conductor, Lisa Nelbach. Her debut in the warm up this year gave us all a good dose of her warmth and humor, even with the pressure of a couple hundred sets of eyes on her. What courage to step up to this new endeavor! In my more than a decade of singing, Lisa has been visible in so many ways — as a board member, leading the ad campaign, a member of the chamber chorus, as a fellow second soprano (transplanted from the altos). She has a scientist’s attention to detail and an artist’s spirit and exuberance. I recently had a chance to get to know her in a slightly different realm — in a kayak. Lisa joined us for a day in kayaks on Elkhorn Slough, at Moss Landing just south of Watsonville. Spectacular birds and wildlife, otters, seals, sea lions, pelicans, and a sighting of a humpback whale near the harbor mouth. Lisa’s comfort in the small boat was obvious — I learned that she’s spent most of her life as a boater. And not just in the calm waters of a slough — she was part of a group of California whitewater pioneers in the 1960s, running rivers that make me gulp just hearing about them. I suspect, though, that standing up in front of the chorus is, in many ways, just as challenging. I hope it’s as rewarding for her!
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