50 years as organist/pianist at The Table: United Church of Christ of La Mesa
By Mary Domb Mikkelson
June 13, 2017 (La Mesa) -- A national treasure right in our midst-- that’s the incomparable Valerie Victor, organist/pianist at The Table: United Church of Christ of La Mesa (UCCLM).
Born in National City (as were her mother and grandmother), Valerie was seven when she started to play the piano, eight when her elementary school music teacher asked that she not return to class – it was “too easy” for her. Taken on as the teacher’s private student for the next seven years, young Valerie thrived. Another teacher followed, working with her for the next 25 – 30 years. Once a month a “bonus” was added: organ lessons.
Valerie became the organist for Lemon Grove Congregational at age 14, then at East San Diego Presbyterian at 18. In June 1967, she arrived at UCCLM and their journey together began. Her new organ, by the way, had been “purchased” with Green Stamps.
Area schools, theaters and choruses also benefited from her musical gifts, among the San Diego Junior Theater (Musical Director) and Starlight Opera (accompanist). Valerie worked for the Grossmont and Cajon Valley School Districts for 40 – 45 years, playing for high school choirs and glee clubs and Greenfield Elementary’s musical theater group.
Mother of four, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of seven, Valerie describes her fifty years at UCCLM as “a blessing,” adding, “I have loved every minute of it.” She looks forward to many more years there.”
The people of UCCLM return the compliment and will highlight and celebrate Valerie’s gifts at a special musical service at 10:00am on Sunday, June 25. You’re invited to join in the celebration.
The church is located at 5940 Kelton Avenue, La Mesa, CA 91942 (619-464-1519, www.tableucc.com).