New church music director aiming for 2 careers

NEIGHBORS

January 12, 2001|By Lourdes Sullivan | Lourdes Sullivan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AFTER A long spell without a music director, United Methodist Church of Savage found the right musician in November. Aline Otten's journey to our town has been an eventful one.

An Indiana native, Otten decided on her career while in high school. "From the time I was small, I wanted to play music," she said. "Most career musicians make that decision early. In high school, I was debating between music and medicine. I chose music."

After graduating from Indiana University with an advanced degree in organ performance and sacred music, she held teaching positions with churches in Indiana and Louisiana. She spent six years in New Orleans as music director of a large parish.

Although she enjoyed that experience, she felt that something was missing. Her interest in medicine was rekindled.

She decided to continue with music part time and applied to nursing schools. She is enrolled in the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

Otten found the position in Savage through the American Guild of Organists, a professional group for church musicians, and moved here soon after.

She said the transition has been easy. She is enjoying her fellow students at Hopkins and is making friends there. She is impressed by the caliber of church music performance here.

She was happy to discover that the church has a six-octave set of handbells, small, individually tuned bells played by a choir.

A handbell choir is in essence a musical instrument; each bell is rung according to the notes in a musical score.

Otten, who has started handbell choirs in other churches, was delighted to find the adult handbell choir at United Methodist.

"I've had handbell groups since 1987. This is the first group I've had that was functioning before I came," she said. "But it's really rewarding to teach someone who has no experience. I'm going to start a children's [handbell] choir. I want to open it up to the community - get more community children involved. You don't have to read music to play. Children could join this choir without being church members."

She said she hopes to get middle school children involved in the choir, with the stronger players getting the heavier bells. "They'll build up some arm muscle," Otten said.

In the little free time between her nursing studies and her musical duties, Otten, a proud Hoosier, watches any basketball game she can. She would like to go horseback riding and find a convenient health club.

"I hope to stay in this area when I finish [my nursing studies]," she said. "Savage has a great feel to it."

Information about joining the adult handbell choir or the children's choir: United Methodist Church of Savage, 301-725-7630.

No chads, no recounts

The Savage Community Association held its annual election of officers Monday at Carroll Baldwin Hall.

The new officers are Franck Spicher, president; Linda Doran, vice president; George Williams, recording secretary; and Myra Phelps, treasurer.

The board members are Mary Aber, Corrinne Arnold, Ed Cezar, Debbie Clever, Neil Doran, Bobbie Fairall, Mary Ann Gardes, Linda Orfield, Sharon Spicher, Dennis Thornton, Bill Waff, Ellen Waff, Jennifer Weaver, Warren Williams and Kym Young.

A vote to approve proposed bylaw changes was postponed until the next meeting.

Holiday contest

The holiday season brings out the exuberant decorator in many of us. Historic Savage Mill and the Savage Community Association congratulate the winners of its second Holiday Decorating Contest: Lisa Lowe, Michael and Barbara Decheubel, Vanessa Hall, Dave and Tina Freman, William Coleman, Beth Decenzo and Penny Ortiz.

Winning honorable mention were James Croston, Jacob Middleton, Karl and Debbie Clever, Missy Carter, Paul Ward and April Boone.

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