Malmark is happy and proud to know that we are a part of life-changing music around the world! Linda Rutherford of Austin, TX shares her recent experience in taking Malmark Choirchime instruments to a mission church in Cuba.
Several years ago I read an article about Travel with a Purpose and sent an inquiry to the company, wanting to know if there was a way to use my music background during the mission. I never received a response. Time and circumstances intervened for several years until spring of 2012 when Tammy Linn (Covenant member, violinist, and teacher) did a Minute for Mission about the trip to Cuba. Of course, I had attended the Concierto for Cuba and loved the music and heard many people talk about their experiences on other trips. It was then I realized this might be the opportunity I was seeking. (Concierto for Cuba is a concert that Covenant hosts by Tammy Linn with her violin students and friends. Concert CD's are sold to support for mission trips.)
On Monday, Oct 28 we left Austin for Cuba. I was taking a case of Choirchimes for the church in Luyanó and looking forward to introducing them. About two months before we were to leave, I found out that Cheryl Banks was also going on the trip. Since she is in the handbell choir with me at Covenant Presbyterian, I thought she and I would be able to demonstrate the Choirchimes.
After we arrived I realized that the best way to introduce the chimes was to play something for the "Youth Event" that was planned for Friday night. The "Youth Event" on Friday was a surprise to me. I "assumed" (even though we were told not to go with expectations) that youth would be teenagers and early twenties. Imagine my surprise when we walked into a room full of people from children to octogenarians!! But they had so much fun singing, dancing, and playing games. I asked several choir members who were on the team if they would play chimes with us at the "Youth Event" and they cheerfully accepted (and gained the nickname – Cheerful Chimers.) We played some simple arrangements and then invited anyone who wanted to try the chimes to come up. Daniel Izquierdo, minister of Luyano Presbyterian Church, had mentioned to Jack Kern, Covenant member and leader of the Cuba Ministry, that "his plans were initially for the chimes to be a magnet for the older youth and young adults." There was a huge rush of people and I was so excited because I knew the chimes would be used.
Then, the Cheerful Chimers were asked to play something for the Sunday morning service. One of the favorite hymns in Luyano is "Lord, You have Come to the Lakeshore". So, we played on chimes with Tammy Linn and Marilyn on violin and Iliana Garza, pianist at Luyano Presbyterian and instructor at the Institute of Superior Art in Havana, as the congregation sang along.
The people at Luyano are the most, loving friendly people I have met in a very long time. We had many opportunities to meet them, study with them and play with them. Did we provide service while we there? I think we did, maybe not in the sense many equate with mission trips, but they know that Covenant loves them and we certainly felt loved by them. For more information and additional photos follow the "more" link below.
Pictured: Linda Rutherford, Nilda, member and Esther, song leader and one of the new chime leaders at Luyano Presbyterian.
Linda is a full time agent with Keller Williams Realty. She has been ringing bells since 1982 and – prior to her move to Austin in 1994 – was a member of the Indianapolis Handbell Ensemble. Linda has a Bachelors degree in Music Education from Eastern Kentucky University and a Masters degree in Music Education from the University of Texas. In addition to ringing bells, Linda directs two handbell choirs at Covenant Presbyterian Church. She also has regularly taught handbells at the Heart of Texas Suzuki Workshop at Texas State University in San Marcos and Veritas Academy in Austin. In her free time Linda likes to read, travel, and play with her cats.