CHICO was founded in 2003 by Henning Ottsen and Les Vielbig. Below is a message from Henning about his friend of 42 years .
Dear Friends of the Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra,
This week we lost one of our own and very best, – Les Vielbig died on Saturday morning while getting ready for the day. Les was a founding board member of our orchestra, our first concert master and principal violinist, a generous sponsor every year since the beginning, and a tireless visionary and proponent for all phases of the orchestra’s endeavors. Even up to our last concert, it was his joy to greet the concert goers at the welcome table and visit with them. Les will continue to be an inspiration for our work with and enjoyment of the orchestra.
Les was a renaissance man, throughout his life, always accomplished and immersing himself into his many passions. He was a mechanical engineer by education and vocation, graduating from Syracuse University where he also was a track star and an All-American in the 4 by 440 relay. That alone makes your head spin, doesn’t it? Moreover, he and his fellow relay team members hold the American record for that event that stands to this day. There’s a story there too.
He and his wife Judy, who preceded him in death a few years ago, met out here on the West Coast, were married and raised a delightful family. An early anecdote tells us that when he picked up Judy for their first date, he had confused her with of one of her apartment mates. But unflappable Les went on the date with Judy anyway even though he was expecting to go out with one of the others – and lucky for them and all of us that he did.
Les and Judy left a huge imprint on this community and on so many of us. Linda and I were church shopping upon arriving in Ventura when we walked into the courtyard of First United Methodist Church. We were met by Les and Judy who grabbed us by the arm and we immediately found ourselves in the choir. We’re still singing in that choir now over four decades letter and became intricately involved in the life of the church. For me, personally, Les was a role model, a mentor, and my best friend as we navigated church business and book studies, did our weekly bike rides up the coast, and – for the last couple of years – religiously tended to our Monday night pizzas.
On behalf of the entire board I can say that we are stunned that he no longer is here. He certainly will have us all redoubling our efforts to live up to his example. We will remember him and we will miss him.