Group rings in the holidays at arts museum

December 16, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - It was beginning to sound a lot like Christmas at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Sunday afternoon thanks to the Little Heiskell Ringers.

The 10-member group performed a program of sacred, classical and popular music of the season to a full house of music lovers of all ages who gathered in the gallery.

"I came with my friend, Sandy McGowan, who is a member of the group," said Nancy Nichols of Clear Spring. But she said she was happy to be there to enjoy the music of Christmas.


McGowan said she has played with the group for six or seven years and enjoys it immensely.

"It's great because you don't have to be able to read music to play," McGowan said. She said as long as one can count, one can play the bells.

"Our director really helps us with our notes," McGowan said. "I'm just glad I can do it because I love it so much."

Director Louise Bileci charmed the audience with her asides about the history of each piece. She also educated those unfamiliar with the art of bell ringing and its intricacies, explaining how sounds are created and enhanced via the bells.

When the group took on the challenge of selections from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite," Bileci explained how difficult the work is for bells.

"It's a 12-pager but it's really a fun piece," she said as she rolled her eyes.

Other offerings Sunday afternoon were "Worship The Newborn King," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "The First Noel," "Let There Be Peace On Earth" and "A Christmas Lullaby."

In addition to McGowan and Bileci, the other members of the group are Genevieve Wyant, Edwina Brandon, Ann Barnes, Helen Beair, Tish Staggers, Jean Unger, Pat Hunnisett, Vida Okuno and Shirley Bolivar.

One of the younger patrons to attend Sunday's performance was Josephine Baker, who proved that one can be a music lover, even at the age of 3.

"It was good," Josephine said as she left the museum with her mom, Cassandra Baker, both of Hagerstown.

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