Anne Nelesen died recently at age 90 recently and her funeral mass was be at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Bonita Springs, near the southwest corner of U.S. 41 and Bonita Beach Road, at noon on Saturday, April 4. The ceremony was multi-denominational, and the public is welcome.
Nelesen directed the Bonita Springs Chorus for more than 20 years, touring with the group throughout Florida and the 1983 World’s Fair in Knoxville.
Under Nelesen’s guidance, the Chorus performed at the Capitol Rotunda in Tallahassee, at Disney World in Orlando. The group played free performances annually at all Florida Veteran’s Hospitals. In gratitude, the Veterans presented her with a glass case containing five flags, each with a rose: one for each of the five years the Bonita Springs Chorus provided free entertainment for them.
Over the years, the Chorus grew to 75 members, acquiring equipment — 75 chairs and risers, instruments (keyboard, organ, trumpet, trombone, percussion — and a backdrop with the name “We’d Love to Sing for You.”
In recent years Nelesen continued as music director at St. Leo’s, giving private lessons to students young and old.
One of her Chorus members (men and women singing soprano, alto, tenor and bass) described Anne as a “marvelous musician” who inspired all who were lucky enough to sing with her. She brought the name of Bonita Springs and the music through the state of Florida and beyond.
At the mass, The Bonita Springs Chorus sang the “Blessing of Aaron.”