10 Questions with ... Point Loma Summer Concerts leader Kerri De Rosier
Ten Questions is a series in the Point Loma-OB Monthly that shines a spotlight on notable locals we wish we knew more about. This month’s featured personality is Point Loma Summer Concerts chairwoman Kerri De Rosier.
The 21st season of the concert series at Point Loma Community Park concludes with DSB performing a tribute to Journey from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11. Previous shows featured music from the 1940s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
The 21st season of Point Loma Summer Concerts explored the age-old question among lovers of 1960s rock ‘n’ roll: Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Proceeds from sales of raffle tickets at each concert go to local schools and music-related nonprofits. For more information, visit pointlomasummerconcerts.org.
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Here is what De Rosier has to say about herself:
“When most people write bios, they focus solely on their careers. However, when I contemplate my life’s work up until now, I focus on my career and my community service and advocacy. My advocacy is where I am: in my community. Focusing on me is not my strong suit.
“But I’ll start at the beginning. I was born and raised in Clairemont Mesa (go Madison Warhawks!), the daughter of an aeronautical engineer and a choir director/piano teacher. Not being involved in music was not an option, so my siblings and I took music lessons, sang in choirs or played in bands and rang in bell choirs.
“After leaving Clairemont to attend UCLA, I worked toward a degree in English literature. I soon became the editor for my sorority, staying up late in what we called “The Pit” (our house basement) to help my fellow sisters with grammar, clarity, sentence structure and organization.
“After graduating, I stayed in Los Angeles, where I got my first job at Xerox, beginning my career as a technical writer. I met my future husband, Dave, on a blind date in West L.A. He was in dental school at UCLA at the time. Soon, I was dragging him down to my hometown, where we soon married — and relocated. We established ourselves first in Mira Mesa, where I joined the Mira Mesa Planning Board and found the subject for my master’s thesis, “Grasping at Straws: Financing Infrastructure in California Since Proposition 13,” the final act toward my master’s in public administration at San Diego State University.
“After having our one and only child —Sarah — we were finally able to move to Point Loma in 1998, where we had bought our dental practice in 1991. Moving to Point Loma opened a variety of outlets for me. I continued my work as a freelance writer and editor and began my involvement as a Girl Scout leader and in the Point Loma Association, an incredible group of people dedicated to the beautification of our wonderful peninsula.
“It was through the PLA that I began volunteering for Point Loma Summer Concerts around 2002, the year after the inaugural concert in June 2001. In 2018, I took over as chair of Point Loma Summer Concerts and will finish my ‘reign’ this December.
“I also worked with neighbors to slow down the speed demons racing up and down my street to and from the Navy base. It took five years, but we finally got two speed humps installed. A bit later, we decided to remove the ugly blacktop and weeds from the medians at the base of Gage and Talbot and replace them with succulents and stamped concrete. We got it paid for through neighbor donations, the PLA and our City Council member’s office.
“I served as band booster president in Sarah’s junior and senior years at Point Loma High School. When Sarah graduated, I decided to shift my devotion from band to choir. PLHS no longer had choirs, so I recruited the director and did the logistics and fundraising. Because the only way to build a high school choir is through feeder choirs in lower schools, I helped start choirs in the Point Loma Cluster’s two middle schools. Not long after that, I fulfilled a lifelong dream: helping to create an auditioned, all-female choir that my co-founders and I called Key of She.
“I remain a freelance editor and writer and am a lecturer in SDSU’s Educational Leadership Department.
“After growing up and creating a life here in San Diego with all my grassroots involvement, I will be ready to leave here for a quieter space. My friends, who frequently remind me to say “no,” forecast that I won’t be able to stop myself from volunteering wherever my future home might be. Maybe they’re right. There’s always a cause somewhere. Maybe a choir … where I am.”
Now on to the 10 Questions:
Q. What attracted you to the Point Loma-Ocean Beach area as a place to live or work?
A. Before finding our dental practice here, what I knew about Point Loma was that Point Loma High had an amazing choral department that trounced Madison in choral festivals every year. ... I also knew that Point Loma was a beautiful community. My parents owned a small sailboat that we docked at Half Moon Inn. On our drive there from Clairemont, we would take the entire stretch of Rosecrans Street, past the graceful mansions, to Shelter Island. When Dave called to say he found a practice here, I was all in.
Q. What are your favorite places to go in Point Loma and Ocean Beach?
A. I regularly take walks over the hill to Sunset Cliffs, where I marvel at the rugged cliffs and clear water. In the spring and summer, Dave and I love to picnic at Shelter Island, and we enjoy breakfast at Fig Tree, Harbor Town or Jennings House after a bike ride. I also love to walk down Lucinda Street to the secret pathway to La Playa, where I check in on the blue herons. Dave and I often go to Brigantine to grab a drink and I order one of my usuals — crab cakes or ahi tuna. I also regularly ride my bike around Shelter Island and Harbor Island and beyond.
Q. If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add to improve Point Loma or Ocean Beach?
A. The last time I checked, the utility poles on my street were to be undergrounded in 2047. When we first moved here, that date was 2013. Thanks to the PLA, we have a few beautifully landscaped medians, but the city of San Diego needs to put equal effort into maintaining the medians they so carefully replaced along a stretch of Rosecrans. I would also like to see campaign promises fulfilled to smooth our pothole-filled streets. Finally, separated bike lanes on Rosecrans would make it much safer. There is no way I would ride on Rosecrans as it is now.
Q. What would be your dream vacation?
A. I imagine sunning myself by one of those over-the-water bungalows on a deck over the azure seas of Belize, with no itinerary for once.
Q. What are your five favorite movies of all time?
A. I must say that while I love going to movies (I remember 69-cent movies at the Clairemont Theater when we would smuggle in buttered popcorn from our 1970s-era popcorn maker), I’m not really a cinephile. That said, when I think about movies I like, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Footloose,” “The Emperor’s New Groove” and most anything with Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon or Frances McDormand come to mind. Yes, I am dating myself.
Q. Tell us about what you are currently reading or watching on TV.
A. I am a member of two book clubs. In one, I am getting ready to read “Hang the Moon” by Jeannette Walls, but am trying to finish “Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend” by Susan Orlean, which I chose because the author was interviewed on NPR’s “Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!” where I get all my news. (Kidding.)
My other book club was formed after the George Floyd killing. The leader decided we all needed to learn more about the African American experience in the United States by studying both fiction and nonfiction. Since then, we have expanded our focus to the experiences of Asians in the U.S. and have recently read a book about the life stories of transgender people.
Q. If you hosted a dinner party for five guests, who (living or deceased) would you invite?
A. I never met my maternal grandfather, Gordon McKinnis, who died when my dad was only 11. I would love to talk with him about his life, who he was as a person and to better understand the impact he had on my dad. At that same table would be my maternal grandmother, Grace Wanamaker, who loved her grandkids unconditionally. She died before she was able to meet my husband, whom she would have loved equally, and he her. Next would be Joe Pence, my sixth-grade teacher, who was in my corner and was one of the first people to tell me I was indeed a writer. Next would be my favorite writer, Barbara Kingsolver, whom I would interrogate about how she gets into the minds of her characters. Finally, I would welcome 97-year-old Sir David Attenborough — naturalist, broadcaster and creator of the breathtaking “Life” series, among other astounding accomplishments.
Q. Who or what inspires you?
A. As a choral singer, I have been moved by beautiful pieces of music written by Handel, John Rutter, Morten Lauridsen, Oja Gjeillo, Brahms and many others. ... On the other choral end of the spectrum, I am inspired by my fellow Skylarks, a quartet that sings and performs ‘50s and ‘60s doo-wop music with tight harmonies. Pure joy! Most of all, I’m inspired by my daughter, Sarah, an old soul who is unafraid of nearly everything — from wrenching on her 1973 Alfa Romeo to sweating a pipe, tending roses, knitting and working as an automotive engineer for Daimler.
I am also inspired by people working together toward a common goal without expecting anything in return, which has been lost in today’s fractious climate.
Q. What is your most prized possession?
A. The wedding ring on my finger that shows my connection and commitment to my husband, who saved me from a lifetime of bad relationship choices. Dave is also my biggest fan: always by my side, MacGyvering stuff for the Point Loma Summer Concerts, being my sounding board and working the sound board, being a Guylark to my Skylark and the best dad to Sarah I could have asked for.
Q. What is your motto or philosophy of life?
A. My motto is “If you want change, you have to make it.” I have no patience for people who complain and aren’t willing to put the work in. It’s the doers in the world who get it done.
Do you know someone you’d like us to ask 10 Questions? Send an email with your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.