Ringing Chimes Lift Hearts During Pandemic
A popular community activity at Paradise Valley Estates that has endured during the 2020 pandemic is the PVE Chime Players. With participants carefully staying six feet apart and wearing face coverings, the group of hand chime enthusiasts has been able to practice a handful of times and intends to return to entertaining once it’s safe to do so.
“There is a camaraderie among us, and we are looking forward to returning to normal but have chosen to take a ‘be safe’ pause for now,” says Phyllis Mosher, the group’s founder and director.
Phyllis has always loved music and throughout her life has mastered instruments such as the tonette, clarinet, piano, five levels of recorders and hand bells. A bell ringer before she moved to Solano County, she missed the activity after moving to Paradise Valley Estates. With help from the Life Plan Community’s Life Enrichment program and Resident Council she founded the PVE Chime Players in October 2013.
Tone chimes, also called hand chimes, originated in Asia when bamboo harvesters discovered that notched stalks made different sounds when they fell and struck an object. Today’s chimes resemble tuning forks with a clapper and are made of aluminum rather than bamboo. Small chimes play high notes while larger chimes play bass notes.
Phyllis says the ability to read sheet music isn’t necessary to begin playing but many players do bring some vocal or musical experience. Players are assigned one chime note for each hand and they play them whenever they appear in the music. The trick is playing the right note at the right moment with the right — correct — hand.
“I teach gently and slowly and tailor playing to ability,” she says. The group’s favorite piece is “Let There Be Peace” and that’s the song they often choose to close a performance.
In normal times, the group gives generously of their time by entertaining residents at Deer Creek, Laurel Creek, and Quail Creek, as well as during community celebrations such as those for the community tree lighting and Independence Day. The group also performs periodically at Sunday morning worship services, too.
“When the pandemic quiets down we hope to begin playing regularly again,” says Phyllis.