Music is tradition for this family

November 26, 2000

Music is tradition for this family


photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Reba and Kenneth BurrierSMITHSBURG - For the Burriers, music has become a family trait.

Three generations of the Burrier family who live in Washington and Frederick counties play instruments. About 14 family members perform in a family group, called the Linganore Band after the church where they hold rehearsals.


Family band director Peggy Burrier said their musical ability can be traced to their grandmother, who played piano mostly by ear.

Her father, Frank, and his brother, Kenneth Burrier, carried on the tradition, playing a variety of instruments and passing on the love of music to their children.


Peggy Burrier said she was surrounded by music as a child and grew up playing the clarinet. Her son plays the trumpet.

"One thing that I see as a real advantage is that it's inter-generational," she said.

Burrier said that music, unlike sports, can be played throughout a lifetime and can be enjoyed by almost everyone.

"When we have a family reunion we tell everybody to bring their horns," said Peggy Burrier.

The family band plays a few gigs a year at local nursing homes and weddings, she said. They perform pop, classical, big band, military songs, religious and other types of music. The band was started in the 1970s and originally was called the Burrier Band. Led by Kenneth Burrier, they took home a top prize in the 1973 Maryland State Grange talent contest held in Frederick County.

While they all work hard at it, family members agree that their musical ability is of a divine origin.

"It's a blessing. I truly believe God blessed us with this gift," said Peggy Burrier.

Burrier said the family band has all different skill levels, but members are patient and help each other perform their best. The band also includes a few new members outside the family, she said.

"We say we have adopted them," said Burrier.

"It's a relaxed atmosphere. There's never any pressure." Peggy Burrier said.

Burrier said music is "a good outlet" that requires discipline.

Reba Burrier, wife of Kenneth Burrier, started playing the bass drums just few years ago because she wanted to be part of the family band, she said.

"I never touched an instrument before," she said.

She loved it so much she joined her husband in playing with the Hagerstown Community College's New Horizons band for people over 50.

"I'm at the bottom of the totem pole because I'm the newest, but I enjoy it," said Reba Burrier.

She said she feels she is improving every day and likes "participating instead of being a spectator."

More than just a diversion, music helps the family stay close, Peggy Burrier said. They practice together the first Sunday of every month.

"It's something we all have in common. The more we get together the more comfortable we are around each other," she said.

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