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Amee Wood keeps a song in her heart and great music on her lips

Amee Wood was born in New York City and raised in Tenafly, N.J. Her parents and grandparents were all music lovers, and she began singing in her church choir in second grade.

She received a B.A. in psychology from Skidmore College and a MSW from Hunter College in New York City. While attending both institutions, she continued to sing in choirs and began an amateur acting career. When she moved to San Diego to work as a psychiatric social worker, she met her future husband, who opened many new doors for her. “I grew to love geology, hiking and camping,” she said.

In addition to her career as a child, adolescent and family therapist, Wood has sung alto in the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus for 28 years, and has appeared in many community theater productions.

At home, Wood and her husband care for their three geriatric cats — Josie (19), and litter mates Bernie and Daisy (13).

What brought you to La Jolla?

In 1981, I was living in New York City and I answered an ad in The New York Times for a job in San Diego. I was pretty sure there were beaches in San Diego, and I love going to the beach. When I arrived in San Diego, I immediately auditioned for the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus. As luck would have it, I was accepted and have been here ever since.

What makes this town special to you?

Besides the beaches, I love the variety of arts institutions in La Jolla, and appreciate the long history of La Jollans’ support of the arts.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

The first thing that comes to mind is better traffic control and more free parking. I would also like to see more interaction between UCSD and the La Jolla community.

Who or what inspires you?

That would be nature, creativity and my dad, who at age 88 still sings tenor in his community choir.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

If I didn’t have to do the cooking, I’d love to invite the past nine (I have a big table) Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Mohamed ElBaradei, Muhammad Yunus, Al Gore, Martti Ahtissari and Barack Obama. We would have a brilliant and creative conversation about achieving world peace.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

I’m reading “Dearest Friend — A Life of Abigail Adams” by Lynne Withey.

What is your most-prized possession?

I have a score of Handel’s Messiah from the 1930s. My grandfather wrote his name on the cover, my father wrote his name on the flyleaf, and now it has been passed to me. I bring it out every holiday season when the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus sponsors our Messiah Sing-along for the community, and I feel a real sense of history, not only in connecting with the music, but connecting to my family.

What do you do for fun?

I sing with the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, I hike in the desert with my husband, and I laugh a lot with my friends.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

In assuming the presidency of the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, I have been able to blend my love of music with my “people skills” to work with my colleagues in securing the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus as one of the premier musical institutions in San Diego.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

“It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years,” Abraham Lincoln said.