Chorus conductor Eunice Williams hits the high notes


Eunice Williams has worked as a musician most of her life as both a performer and conductor. She served as organist in her father’s churches, accompanying the Lutheran services for the first time at age 8. She received a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and a master’s in piano performance from Cal State Fullerton.

She’s been married to Dr. Gary Williams of the Scripps Clinic for 22 years and has taught for the San Diego Community College District for 25 years.

Williams is the music director for Pacificaires, Cedar Center Chorus and the NOTEables. She has volunteered as a committee member and a co-chair for the Scripps Clinic Renaissance Ball, and has also served as a member of the UCSD Library Friends Board.

In January, San Diego Metropolitan Magazine named her one of its 2010 Metro Movers, noting her work with area seniors.

What brought you to the area?

I moved here in 1978 with my first husband, the Rev. Wayne Fuller, to serve La Jolla Lutheran Church.

What makes this town special to you?

It’s the beautiful natural surroundings, the wonderful schools (Bird Rock, Muirlands, La Jolla High) attended by all four of our children, and the town treasures that include The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.

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

I want the Cove Theatre back.

Who or what inspires you?

My daughter, Bryn, who answers “Yes, I can do that” to almost any interesting challenge and then persists until the goal is achieved.

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

I’ll need a larger table! The MOST interesting, smartest and funniest person I know in the past or present is my husband, Gary. Then I’ll invite three of the matriarchs of my Norwegian family, pioneer women all: Eunice Sandven, Minnie Fragodt and Doris Olderr (my incredible mother who died Christmas Eve 2009). I’d also invite the musical pioneers J.S. Bach and George Gershwin, and then American pioneers and presidents John Adams and Barack Obama. Spouses would have to be included and, of course, our four children.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

I am always reading on my Kindle while I exercise. “The Great Pianists” by H. Schonberg, “Committed” by E. Gilbert and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson.

What is your most-prized possession?

My grand piano.

What do you do for fun?

Travel, play Scrabble with my husband, exercise, read ... and music!

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

My accomplishments are musical: Cedar Center Chorus, Pacificaires and NOTEables; wonderful musical and cultural exchange with the French choir L’Esterelenco. They came and sang with us in July 2007, and we sang in the Cote D’Azur in April 2008. Members of both groups have visited back and forth in August 2008 and September 2009. Hear us at 1:30 p.m. May 23 at Sherwood Auditorium in the Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, and at 7 p.m. June 4 at the Neurosciences Institute Auditorium. There will be a piano performance with Naomi Okumura Hobbs at 7 p.m. March 10 at the Carmel Valley Library.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Sing, smile, pray, move.