First person: Bell ringer takes on musical challenge

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Jill Whitehead of Clovis performs with the First United Methodist Church’s hand bell group. The group performs every two months during services.

Jill Whitehead has been playing in the First United Methodist Church hand bell group for 25 years.

To start: When I started, we were new to town and new to the church. It was a small group. It wasn’t as big as this. We didn’t have many bells. It was just a bunch of young mothers doing it and I just got in. There is a core group of us in this same bell group that have been in that long.

Things change: It’s still fun and it’s amazing how fast time flies. We’re much better now. We play bigger music. We’re not just stagnated, doing the same things. It’s been fun.

Schedule: We practice once a week. We kind of go with the school schedule. We don’t practice in summer or during Christmas break and things. We play in church at least every two months with new music.

Work life: My husband and I run a tree farm. That’s what I do. We have all different kinds of trees. Landscaping trees, living Christmas trees, that kind of stuff. It’s kind of seasonal in a way. We’re kind of busy at Christmas for trees but in the summer and spring we’re busy with maintenance and that kind of thing.

Music history: I played the French horn in band but I probably can’t do that anymore and I’ve taken piano and I’m not really good at any of those instruments. I can read music and I sing in the choir here at church too.