Thirteen William S. Hart Union High School District employees got a chance to ring in the holidays.
The Hart District Chimers stepped in front of their peers, friends and family members to play some of the season’s most popular songs using only chime instruments.
Former Hart District staff member Lorraine King has been leading the group of chimers for sixteen years.
“My father gave me the three-octave chime set in 1992 to start a children’s chime choir at the church I was attending at the time,” King said, “but I really didn’t think that was enough use of an expensive gift.”
“I was talking to a coworker and we decided to have a chime choir right here at work.”
The chimers range from people with previous experience to people with no musical experience at all.
Elizabeth McAnnally, a first-year chimer, said she did not know how to read music before joining the group.
“When I came in the first day it was kind of scary that I had to know what the notes meant,” McAnnally said.
“I had no idea what we were getting into, but I thought, ‘why not’?”
But newcomers did not make up the whole group. Jon Carrino said he has been chiming under King’s direction for 16 years.
A Hart District chimer looks down at her sheet music as she performs.
“There are a lot of nuances that sometimes we get to during the year and sometimes we don’t based on how many new people we have,” Carrino said.
“Being a veteran (to chiming), you kind of pick up on those right away.”
Carrino said King makes the process easy for anyone who wants to join the group.
“She probably has the most patience of anybody I know,” Carrino said. “As much as you may be nervous to perform in front of people, you just have to ignore it and play through it and listen to the music.”
King said she feels “such great joy” when she sees the chimers accomplish something they were struggling with for a while.
“The wonderful thing is that we’re able to practice and practice and practice,” King said.
“(The chimers) learn the values of notes and they learn the technique of ringing chimes.”
Although King is now retired from the Hart District, she was called back by her former coworkers to direct the chimers again this year.
Demonstrating alongside the Hart District Teachers Association, members of the California School Employees Association Chapter 349 stood outside the district office last week in support of the ongoing negotiations concerning pay and benefits.
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