Elizabeth Lenz loves listening to classical music. "It can suit any mood and I find it exciting some times and relaxing other times." The almost 91-year-old does not play an instrument. However, Elizabeth and her late husband, Surgeon Gilbert Lenz, produced an ensemble of talent of their own. They only played classical music in their home and their seven children all grew to love it. She encouraged them all to learn a different instrument and each child thrived.
Elizabeth has on display a number of pictures of her children playing their instruments. "Mark played trombone and John, he's pictured with his cello; he's principle horn, however," she says proudly. Running down the list, their oldest, Annelise is a pianist and organist. Andrea just retired from the University of Nevada's Music Department and is an accomplished oboist. Paul teaches and plays trumpet. Peter is a principal cellist with the Philharmonic. The youngest, Joel played violin.
As if that is not impressive enough, their talents have been passed on to Elizabeth's 21 grandchildren; some of them also perform. The harmonious brood was even featured on Good Morning America.
Their symphonic success all comes back to Elizabeth, who spent many years carting her kids to rehearsals and recitals. She recalls there being little time for anything else. "We had our family rapidly; seven kids in 10 years. I was very busy during that time, but once they grew up a little bit, I had time to do other things," like teaming up with other doctors' wives. "I was one of the first ones with their famous rummage sale and I worked for that for 50 years."
Elizabeth also dons the title of first woman to chair the Regional Planning Commission. She served as President of the Nevada State Board Association. Plus, she was the first female at the helm of the Washoe County School Board - on which she served for 14 years. Elizabeth was instrumental in getting string music programs into our elementary schools. "It has developed considerably and part of that is because of our family."
Elizabeth will be honored at the Nevada Women's Fund's 22nd Annual Salute to Women of Achievement luncheon this Thursday, May 30th. She will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Lunch is 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in the Rose Ballroom at John Ascuaga's Nugget.
To buy tickets, call the Nevada Women's Fund at (775) 786-2335.
Table of Ten: $1,250
Individual Seat: $125
Written by Kristen Remington