Santa Cruz musician, Veronica Elsea, reconciles sight and sound
Last Christmas, Veronica Elsea was strolling down Pacific Avenue when she heard the ear-splitting screech of a busker wailing on a guitar. Without hesitation, she walked over to the musician and said, “I’ll give you 10 bucks if you let me tune your guitar.” The performer obliged, Elsea altered the strings, and she walked away.
Elsea, an accomplished music composer and former member of the Santa Cruz County Symphony, was born blind. She and her twin sister—who is also visually impaired—were delivered prematurely and laid in incubators for the first two months of their lives.
When the girls were three, their mother bought a piano, and it wasn’t long before they proved they were musically inclined. “I was always terrified of the idea that you take a blind kid and plop them in front of a piano and they’re this incredible musician,” laughs Elsea, who used to pull all-nighters memorizing sheet music for the symphony. “But [music] was always something that came fairly easy to us.”