On Dec. 18, Dr. Ed Siegel will conduct his 21st Holiday Sing-Along at the Fletcher Cove Community Center in Solana Beach. He has been playing the piano completely by ear since age 4.
His formal education includes a bachelor's in English literature from Colorado University and a medical degree from the University of Florida.
He is also a graduate of the psychiatric residency program at UCSD, where he is now an associate clinical professor. He has participated in teaching UCSD medical students about human growth and development for more than 30 years and has a private practice in Solana Beach.
What brought you to Solana Beach?
Sheer happenstance. In the summer of 1976, I needed to quickly find a place to stay when my La Jolla Shores landlord sold my beachfront place.
What makes Solana Beach special to you?
How many can be present at the birth of their city (we became incorporated in 1986) and be privileged to actively participate in its development? I've chaired our Parks and Recreation Commission, created the Public Arts Commission, and have actively served on many committees. What an education!
Also making Solana Beach very special for me is that in 1987 the City Council supported my request to establish the Solana Beach Community Sing-Along. This free weekly event has been a hoot. Out of this, in the year 2000 a regular participant, Lynn Salsberg, and I co-wrote what has become our city's official song, "Solana Beach, Our City Proud." It was also at the sing-along that I discovered that most people can actually sing the high notes of our National Anthem if its key is lowered to G-major. This has led to an amazing, well-accepted and nationally publicized campaign to make it official for when audiences are asked to sing it (check out my Web site at www.singournationalanthem.com). It remains a fun and, I think, worthwhile project for which I continue to hope for success, even if only posthumously.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Solana Beach?
Besides the renovation of our historic Fletcher Cove Community Center, I'd also love to see us get a state-of-the-art movie theater to show the kind of quality films now featured at the nearby Flower Hill UltraStar Theater.
Who or what inspires you?
Practicing psychiatry consistently inspires me to use my experience, knowledge and creativity on a daily basis. Also, there is a quote from Einstein that puts me in a state of awe: "There is an order in the universe that is incomprehensible. God didn't simply roll dice."
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
Well, I'd want it to be both an interesting and entertaining event. Those who came to mind immediately were Vladimir Horowitz, Jimmy Durante, Thomas Jefferson, Sigmund Freud, Moses (assuming that his interpreter wouldn't be counted as a guest), Abraham Lincoln, my second grade teacher, Mrs. Jean Irish, and, finally, my singing pal, Joohoe "Peppy" Koo. I had considered inviting Cleopatra but was concerned she'd be too distracting. I also considered Queen Victoria, but feared she'd be too bossy.
What are you currently reading?
I'm reading and editing chapters written by my 14 distinguished co-authors for a book which I've conceived, "Connecting with the Creator: Limitations of the Brain." Simultaneously, my insatiable curiosity has me addicted to reading Wikipedia.
What is your most prized possession?
First, my health. Then, my sense of humor and ability to communicate by playing the piano.
What do you do for fun?
Lots, especially solo international travel (80 countries so far), seeing good movies and leading the Solana Beach Community Sing-Alongs, my Del Mar Rotary Club and Casa de Mañana in La Jolla.
Describe your greatest accomplishment.
Overcoming being shy as a child.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?
To experience, enjoy and contribute as much as possible during one's time on our amazing planet.