It is with a heavy heart that we communicate to you that our beloved choir teacher, Lucy Nisbet, passed away August 13, 2020 due to complications from cancer. Mrs. Nisbet was a respected and talented teacher who was loved by all. In just a few short years at Ponderosa, she made a powerful and positive impact on hundreds of young people.

PHS counselors are available for students who need help talking about and processing this difficult moment. http://bruin.eduhsd.k12.ca.us/AcademicsDepartments/Counseling/index.html  Additionally, staff from Sierra Child and Family Services, who staff the PHS Wellness Center, will also be available through the PHS Counseling Office. The Counseling Office can be contacted at 530-677-2281 x 2225.

Many of you have asked about donations to the Nisbet family, flowers, etc. In lieu of flowers or gifts the family has created a scholarship fund in Lucy’s name, and asks that donations be made to that fund. Scholarship awards will be provided to Ponderosa High School and Oak Ridge High School students. We believe that many small donations are just as powerful as a few large ones, so feel free to make a donation of any amount. The link to the scholarship fund can be found here: https://ssl.charityweb.net/eldoradocf/lucynisbet.htm

The Ponderosa High School Choirs have demonstrated a passion for singing since the school’s doors opened in the fall of 1963. PHS choirs have consistently done well both at Heritage and private competitions and festivals, garnering “Sweepstakes” awards as well as “Best Choir” and “Adjudicators Choice” awards wherever they go. Choir members have participated in performances throughout the state of California, including private and community events as well as Regional, State, and National Honor Choirs. Choirs at PHS have a diverse repertoire of music from the classical classics to pop music.  Their concerts are moving and powerful, connecting audience members to the music and students to the world around them and the past that shaped them.

The list of conductors and clinicians with which PHS have worked include Dr. Ralph Hughes (American River College), Dr. Donald Kendrick (Sac State University), Dr. Steven Zopfi (University of Puget Sound), Dr. Jeffrey Benson (San Jose State University), Dr. Paul Broomhead (Brigham Young University), Dr. Jocelyn Jensen (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Dr. Charlene Archibeque (San Jose State University), and Lou De La Rosa (West Valley College, President of California ACDA).

Ponderosa High School choirs received a wonderful foundation in their instruction throughout the many decades of the schools existence. The tradition of excellence continued through the years of school under the direction of the following:

  • 1964-1965: Lyman Saltzen
  • 1966-1968: Roger Foss
  • 1969: Norma Brown
  • 1970: June Nygard
  • 1971-1997:Lorna Perpal
  • 1998-2011: Janet Matranga 
  • 2012-2017: Erin Bailey
  • 2018: Sarah Cunningham 
  • 2019-2020: Lucy Nisbet 

Along with the supportive administration, good facilities, and tireless Boosters group all contribute to an excellent choral program.  But what really makes the PHS choirs stand out among the rest are the fantastic, devoted students and their incredibly supportive parents. The choirs at PHS are extremely talented and special in many ways. And we believe as you learn more about us, you will know this is true.