Sharon Louise Strange
Sharon Strange, harpist, organist, handbell ringer, performer on several wind instruments, and conductor, has taught music for over three decades. Her handbell ensembles have traveled widely and been acclaimed for their excellence.
Sharon was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. She started lessons on piano at age nine, studied organ two years later, and would eventually learn to play and teach fifteen different wind instruments. She attended Indiana Academy, where she was active in music and was particularly inspired by music teacher Larry Otto.
Following graduation From IA in 1974, Strange attended Andrews University and then transferred to Oakwood College, now University, for study before returning to AU, where she completed B.Mus. degrees in music education and organ performance in 1978 and M.Mus. degrees in the same areas the following year. She would eventually do additional graduate work in music and earn a doctorate in the 1980s.
While at AU, she became fascinated with handbells during a church music workshop and quickly became an enthusiast, performing as a soloist and promoting handbell choirs at all levels, from pre-school through geriatric levels.
Her first teaching position was in Indianapolis, where she taught in the public school system for three years. She then taught in Oakland, California, before moving to the Washington, D.C., area in 1983.
At that time Strange introduced handbells into the D.C. public school system and has had as many as five groups in one school. In February 1988, local television coverage featured her work in this area and showed footage of her students, a special population group, performing at a black-tie event where the thousand persons in attendance responded with a prolonged standing ovation.
She has enjoyed widespread recognition for her work, including a Best All-Around Musician award presented to her by the Columbia Union Guild of Adventist Musicians in 2009. She has been listed annually in Who's Who in American Women since 2007 and in other similar publications.
Strange frequently performs as a professional harpist, handbell soloist, and church organist. She has also arranged and composed for various ensembles and occasions. She contributed arrangements and original compositions to Sing for Joy, a hymnal for primary age worshippers published by the Seventh-day Adventist church in 1989. Silver Burdett has also published some of her work.
Source: Interview with Sharon Strange, 13 July 2011; Church Musicians' Guild Journal of Music Ministry, January-March1988, 3; Ancestory.com.