50 Over 50 Project for 2020


Cheryl Anderson

Age: 73


"Don't waste a moment of life fretting. Change the world one note at a time, one kind gesture at a time. Don't suffer fools."

Age: 73
Profession: Director of Choral/Vocal Studies, Cabrillo College

What is the best thing about being your age?
Having the perspective of a lifetime of singing and conducting, teaching, travel, hiking, cooking, reading, knowing such a rich and wonderful variety of people, and keeping up with everyone as we progress through the years and grow.

What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?
Loss of family members and friends. Out of desperation I have chosen to carry my loved-ones' finest qualities everyday with me and to mentally thank them for caring for me. If I can keep them close then they are not gone. My father died when I was a baby; I feel as close to him as anyone else I've known. There was a time when I was consumed with sadness about losing him and anyone else who died. I realized I had been given the gift of knowing and loving all those people, and I had to share that through my actions and words.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The ability to always want to and having the opportunity to give back what's been given to me. Living as a classical musician, a conductor, an educator.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being with and laughing with friends and family and dogs. Being able to respect myself and know I've done my best. Watching my husband in his element conducting.

What is your most treasured possession?
My health and the people I love.

What's your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?
Climbing Kilimanjaro, conducting great choral/orchestral masterworks, learning to tap dance.

What is your greatest extravagance?
My Badgley Mischka gown from their shop on Rodeo Drive and the Christian Louboutin black patent heels.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd also be a cowgirl.

What is a trait you are most proud of?
How much I love what I do and the people in my life.

What is your greatest fear?

What do you most value in your friends?
A spirit of joyousness and adventure, a desire to help others, and seeing the humor in even the absurd, and kindness.

What advice would you give your younger self?
It will be ok. Have faith, believe in yourself, trust in your higher purpose, honor your family/friends/mentors. Every experience you have will teach you something; learn from every success and misstep. Be honest, deliver more than is expected, be on time, decided everyday to make it a good day, try to find something good in everyone. Stand up for yourself and your beliefs even when no one else believes in you. Dream outrageously and when you reach your goal, set another one!

What is your favorite motto or quote?
Onward ever, backward never.

Additional thoughts for younger women...
Age is a number. As long as we are breathing we can still be of help to someone, still aspire and accomplish, still laugh, and still love. Don't waste a moment of life fretting. Change the world one note at a time, one kind gesture at a time. Don't suffer fools.