Although she cannot read music and has trouble with simple everyday tasks, 48-year-old Gloria Lenhoff can play the accordion and sing with a perfect pitch in 30 languages. Lenhoff has Williams syndrome, a rare genetic condition that produces physical and cognitive abnormalities and an aptitude for music. The disorder is caused by the loss of a tiny piece of a chromosome and occurs in one out of 20,000 births.
A lyric soprano, Lenhoff has a repertoire of more than 2,000 pieces, from genres including popular, religious, folk, classical and opera. A resident of the Baddour Memorial Center in Senatoba, Miss., Lenhoff serves as visiting cantor to Temple B’nai Israel in Tupelo, Miss.
Lenhoff is the featured soloist at this month’s “Pop Go the Arts 2003!” concert, a benefit for St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center of San Diego, which strives to enrich the lives of developmentally disabled adults by training them in the arts. She sings operatic arias by Mozart, Puccini and Verdi; two songs from “Gigi,” including a duet with maestro Martin Wright, and a Santuzza solo from “Cavalleria Rusticana.”
The Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra, led by Israeli-born conductor David Amos, is also in the lineup, along with the San Diego Master Chorale, directed by baritone Martin Wright.
Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B Street, San Diego; June 29, 3 p.m.; $20, $35 and $50. (619-235-0804 or www.ticketmaster.com.)