From the back room of the Stephens Lake Activity Center, the soft bell tones of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" are punctuated with bursts of laughter. Nadine Sargent has hit the wrong note. Again. She laughs at the rare mistake on the shoulder of fellow hand bell player Barb Jackson, who, in turn, gets the giggles.
At the end of the tune, the group's leader, Cookie Hagen, couldn't be more satisfied. Even with Nadine's missed notes, a missing pianist and only half of her normal group of 30, Cookie is elated. "You sounded really, really good." She emphasizes the point with a bright smile.
"Even though we make mistakes, she tries to make us feel good," Nadine says.
The group has been active for five years through the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department and the Older American Klub.
"Our mission is to share music with the Columbia community," Cookie says. "We welcome anyone who wants to join us."
That inclusive atmosphere is on display between practice sessions. The incoming adaptive bell choir greets the outgoing seniors. The group comes together to celebrate August birthdays, chatting on folding chairs in the hallway. Ice cream sandwiches disappear into smiling faces.
Another successful practice.