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Daniela Sikora Wins Ridgefield Patch Person of the Year

It was nearly a tie between Daniela Sikora and Valerie Jensen of Sphere of CT.

Almost 300 Ridgefielders voted in the Ridgefield Patch Person of the Year poll and the majority have selected Daniela Sikora, director of the Ridgefield Chorale as the 2012 person of the year.

Sikora edged out her fellow nominee, Valerie Jensen, president of the Sphere of CT, by just two votes.

Sikora said she was humbled by the votes, adding that there were others on the list, and so many people other than herself in town doing wonderful volunteer work that "don't get recognized enough" for what they do.

"I just happen to be the director of a wonderful organization—it's the best job in the world," said Sikora, who comes from a family of artists.

Music has a way of bringing people together from all walks of life, she added.

"I'm a music evangelist. I think we all experience music on a different level. I think the community serves the arts and arts serves the community. The Ridgefield Chorale is welcoming—our performers and our audiences aren't afraid to experience music emotionally."

Sikora's supporters said they wanted to recognize her for her dedication to bringing joy to the community through music.

"I feel so lucky to have come to know Daniela through The Ridgefield Chorale," said member Cindy LaBlanc. "She is one of the most positive and gracious people I have ever had the pleasure to get to know and work with. While she pushes our chorale to be the very best we can be, she always does so with love and complete acceptance of our offering and effort. Even under pressure, she always has a smile and an encouraging word to say."

For her part, Jensen—who came in a not-too-distant second place—said she was honored to be nominated by people in a town she fell in love with soon after moving here over a decade ago.

"When I moved to Ridgefield I had a two-year-old and was pregnant with twins. I didn't know many people, and my husband worked long hours," she said. "But everywhere you went people seemed to know each other and I loved it." 

Jensen added that her volunteer work with SPHERE has "changed her life."

"We have a warm, compassionate and caring community.  People are here for one another, and Ridgefield is a happy place to live, thanks to the hard work of a lot of people," she said. Jensen heads up the 20-year-old organization, which serves local residents with developmental disabilities through programming in the arts.

Sikora and Jensen were two of 9 people nominated by their peers in Ridgefield and selected through an unscientific poll on Ridgefield Patch.

Congratulations to all who were nominated and thank you to the nearly 300 locals who voted!

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