For the fourth year, Columbia Adventist Academy's bell choir participated in the Portland Marathon. From 5:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m., ringers played and cheered as runners and walkers passed. Many clapped and cheered right back for the bell players. Several shouted out, "Thank you for being here," as they ran.
The bell choir has an extended standing invitation by event organizers to ring at Mile 3 (in front of the Mercedes-Benz dealership) as long as they continue to provide entertainment along the route each year.
"Getting up early and leaving the school by 4:45 a.m. was worth it once we got there and started playing," says Camille Bascetta, CAA senior. "Watching the runners and walkers smile made it fun to play for them, and this experience has inspired me to run a marathon someday."
The Portland Marathon is only one way the CAA bell choir reaches out to their community. For four years, they have played at the Mormon Festival of Nativities, the Bonneville Power Administration Christian Values Month (representing Christian education), the Veterans Hospital, Southwest Washington Medical Center, and the Ray Hickey Hospice House. Each of these organizations request they be put in the CAA calendar for the following year, every year.
Nita Yuros, bell director, says, "I feel privileged to be part of this outreach. We have a positive impact on many people through the common language of music."