Local Violinist "Rings" For the Salvation Army During Holiday Season

It's that time of the year, when we will all do a little shopping and hear a little ringing while we're at it. The Salvation Army bell ringers out in full force, but one bell ringer takes a different approach to raising money for those in need.

Percy Wang of Tyler says he's kind of ringing a bell - he just uses his violin.

"This all started from 2003, in Detroit when I proposed to one of the captains, 'Hey, I can play the violin and it might get more people's attention,'" he said. "My wife say I won't last three days, but I ended up playing for the whole season."

And every season since, through winters in Detroit and Birmingham, Alabama, and now Tyler. He mainly plays Christmas music, popular songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and some of his own jazz compositions.

"I don't actually have time to take requests, but it's funny that in Alabama, the most song people ask for is 'Devil Went Down to Georgia,'" he said, laughing. "I don't know why."

It's a way for Wang to say thank you, to his parents and to God, for a talent he's been developing for 40 years.

"I think God gave me a talent for playing this, and then while playing I also interact with people and I feel like some older people, and kids especially, enjoy my music, so I keep doing it every season," Wang said. "Just to thank God for giving me this life."

And a way to spread a little bit of joy during a busy season.

"This is a season of giving, so I just try to give the best I can, so it's kind of like a given donation of my time to help more people," he said. "That's my goal."

Wang uses a weather-resistant violin he's designed himself and says he does ring a bell when he gets tired.

He has a website where he posts his playing schedule during the holiday season.

The Salvation Army is also in need of bell ringers, even if you don't play the violin. You can go to their website to sign up.

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