June 16, 2019

Enjoy handbell concerts in Bangor, Presque Isle

People who enjoy handbell music have two opportunities to hear the Auburn Methodist Ringers and 4 Park Avenue, a handbell quartet, both from United Methodist Church of Auburn.

The program is directed by Presque Isle native William Buzza.

The first opportunity is 1 p.m. Saturday, April 24, at First United Methodist Church, 703 Essex St., Bangor. There is no admission charge, but donations will be accepted.

The second opportunity follows the ringers’ drive to Aroostook County, when the program will be presented in conjunction with a public supper from 5 to 6 p.m., and the Freewill Concert at 7 p.m. at Grant Memorial United Methodist Church on Fleetwood Street in Presque Isle.

The supper includes beans, ham, rolls, potato salad and coleslaw, and the cost is $7 for adults and $3 for youth.

Advance supper tickets can be reserved by calling 769-5301 or the church at 762-9531, but tickets will also be available at the door.

The music for each concert includes hymns, original handbell music and popular musical selections.

According to Charlene Buzza of Presque Isle, who is the choir director’s mother, the handbell groups “perform on five octaves of Schulmerich handbells and three octaves of Malmark handchimes,” and have appeared at numerous festivals throughout the state and New England.

University of Southern Maine and Presque Isle High School graduate William Buzza teaches music at Leavitt Area High School in Turner, and also heads that town’s marching band.

Active in high school band and jazz band on the saxophone, he also rang bells for the Grant Methodist Church from his junior high school days until he left for college, according to his mother.

“During his college years,” she added, “he and three other students were asked to play at one of the inaugural functions” for President Bill Clinton.

This is National Volunteer Week, and St. Joseph Healthcare is doing its part by honoring 86 volunteers during its annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon today at Spectacular Event Center in Bangor.

The 86 volunteers have contributed a combined 20,258 hours of service, representing cost savings to St. Joseph of $335,075.

The individual being recognized for the most years of service is Gloria Cyr, who has volunteered for 45 years.

And while we’re on the subject of St. Joseph’s volunteering, staff member Casey Dunn reports Hospice of St. Joseph is seeking volunteers “to provide companionship, assistance and support to hospice patients and their loved ones.”

Hospice volunteers are required to complete a training course before providing care, and that training will begin in June. If you are interested, call Hospice of St. Joseph at 262-1810.

This event is a remarkable one simply because of those responsible for it.

Betsy Reynolds, secretary of the Volunteer Circle of the Brewer King’s Daughters, reports its Spring Fair is 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 24, at First Congregational Church of Brewer, 35 Church St.

The event includes a Soup ‘n Sandwich Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and includes May baskets, crafts, houseplants, attic treasures, knit goods, cooked items and candy.

Reynolds informed me, with understandable pride, that this event is made possible by the continuing commitment of a “shrinking group” of ladies whose youngest member is 60 and the oldest, Betty Gerry, just celebrated her 100th birthday!

“We are a 104-year-old organization affiliated with the First Congregational Church, and support many area needs,” she wrote, “the largest being the Brewer Community Service Council.”

“Our biggest claim to fame is our beautiful May baskets, which will be featured at the fair,” Gerry added.

Heather Babcock and her friends have an idea for Mother’s Day: Do something special for Mom and help displaced Brewer and Lincoln millworkers at the same time.

Babcock has organized a Mother’s Day Rose Sale from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. (or while supplies last) Sunday, May 9, at Oriental Jade Restaurant on Bangor Mall Boulevard.

Individual roses are $3, and all proceeds benefit unemployed millworkers.

Babcock reports all roses have been donated by area florists including Birmingham Florist, Old Town; Secret Gardens, Hermon; Countryside Florist, Brewer; Creative Florist, Bangor; Parkside of Corinth; Hampden Floral and Jan’s of Newport.

Pre-orders will be taken for roses by the dozen for $30 or by the half dozen for $15, but orders must be placed with Babcock by Sunday, May 2, by calling her at 848-5492.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.

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