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Adams County Pianist Recalls Friendships with Jazz Legends - abc27 WHTM

Adams County Pianist Recalls Friendships with Jazz Legends

Adams County Pianist Recalls Friendships with Jazz Legends

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  • Perry County Church Given New Life

    Perry County Church Given New Life

    Perry County Church Given New Life

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-08-19 15:02:59 GMT
    A big reason why Darlene Barrick fought to save the Mahanoy Union Church from bulldozers lies in the small cemetery next to it."This is Ulysses Grant Baker. My grandfather Baker," said Barrick, pointing to one of several headstones in the church cemetery with direct family ties. "He helped build the church."At another stone she added, "This is my Uncle Albert who fought in World War One."Since closing in the early 1960's, the church suffered heavily from neglect and vandalism. But stepping in...More >>
    A big reason why Darlene Barrick fought to save the Mahanoy Union Church from bulldozers lies in the small cemetery next to it."This is Ulysses Grant Baker. My grandfather Baker," said Barrick, pointing to one of several headstones in the church cemetery with direct family ties. "He helped build the church."At another stone she added, "This is my Uncle Albert who fought in World War One."Since closing in the early 1960's, the church suffered heavily from neglect and vandalism. But stepping in...More >>
  • Chancel Makeover Marks Dillsburg Church Centennial

    Chancel Makeover Marks Dillsburg Church Centennial

    Chancel Makeover Marks Dillsburg Church Centennial

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:17 AM EDT2014-08-15 13:17:26 GMT
    St. Paul's Lutheran Church is an easily recognized landmark of downtown Dillsburg, standing high on a hill, with large stain glass windows and an adjacent prayer garden.But it's inside the church where a remodeling project marks the celebration of the building's 100th anniversary.The most noticeable change is the altar area, now several feet wider, and easier to access.Pastor Lois Van Orden says the centennial seemed like the perfect time to modernize the chancel and choir area."The thing tha...More >>
    St. Paul's Lutheran Church is an easily recognized landmark of downtown Dillsburg, standing high on a hill, with large stain glass windows and an adjacent prayer garden.But it's inside the church where a remodeling project marks the celebration of the building's 100th anniversary.The most noticeable change is the altar area, now several feet wider, and easier to access.Pastor Lois Van Orden says the centennial seemed like the perfect time to modernize the chancel and choir area."The thing tha...More >>
  • Union County Museum Honors Buggy Makers

    Union County Museum Honors Buggy Makers

    Union County Museum Honors Buggy Makers

    Tuesday, August 12 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-08-12 13:35:19 GMT
    The Buggy Museum in Mifflinburg is a tribute to a transportation industry that once thrived in the heart of Union county."They think they're coming to learn about one buggy maker," said museum executive director Bronwen Sanders, "when, in fact, we actually had 90 buggy makers in town."A visit there is a unique look at carriage making, housed in the refurbished buildings where William Heiss, his family and a handful of workers once turned out much in demand buggies, carriages and sleighs."Peop...More >>
    The Buggy Museum in Mifflinburg is a tribute to a transportation industry that once thrived in the heart of Union county."They think they're coming to learn about one buggy maker," said museum executive director Bronwen Sanders, "when, in fact, we actually had 90 buggy makers in town."A visit there is a unique look at carriage making, housed in the refurbished buildings where William Heiss, his family and a handful of workers once turned out much in demand buggies, carriages and sleighs."Peop...More >>
For Littlestown pianist Herb Sell, sitting at a piano is his comfort zone.

"Sometimes I get up in the morning and realize I've been playing for two hours and realize half the day is gone," said Sell.

And, at 85 years old, the master pianist has mastered the playing styles of many of the greats.

"I like to play different styles and that's what I do," he said, effortlessly transitioning from boogie-woogie to swing music.

His love of jazz piano and the blues began as a boy, then blossomed as a pianist for the Army and Air Force Special Services Department during the Korean War. It was a passion he later shared with younger generations as choral director at Westminster high school in Maryland and as director of the Carroll County Choral Society.

Sell was well known for bringing the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Maynard Furgeson and Jester Hairston to perform at his high school. He saw it as a chance for his students to hear and work with some of the best players and singers in the world. It was an opportunity he never got to experience at that age. He still speaks fondly of many of the guest artists, some of whom became life-long friends with Sell.

"That's Duke Ellington," said Sell, pointing to a picture of Ellington standing with the Westminster High School Choir. "He had just finished directing a beautiful version of solitude that I had arranged for the concert."

Sell also credits the piano for meeting his late wife, Eleanor. Their nearly 55 year union began when she sat next to him on his piano bench during a playing job.

He still plays special occasions concerts and, for the last sixty years, has been the organist and choir director at his church.

But, when watching him play, one gets the impression that where Sell plays doesn't really matter, just when.
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