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Accordion replaces traditional bell ringing
pic accordian1
Darryl Bain, enjoying the warm conditions on Thursday afternoon, plays his accordion rather than a bell at the red collection kettle of the Salvation Army outside of the Manteca Kmart Store. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
Darryl Bain doesn’t ring the Christmas bell for Salvation Army during the holidays.

Rather, the longtime Manteca resident plays music on the accordion, violin or whatever instrument works that day in front of the signature red donation kettle.

“I tried the bells but I couldn’t sleep at nights (from the constant ringing in my ears),” he said.

On Thursday, Bain, who has worked consistently during the spirit of giving on behalf of Salvation Army for the past nine years, has not one but two accordions.

“This one was given to me (by a stranger) the day before yesterday,” he said while playing before passing holiday shoppers in front of Kmart on 255 Northgate Drive, Manteca.

Bain still uses the same accordion he purchased back in 1975 at, ironically, a Salvation Army store for $65. Not a bad deal considering that the cost for the instrument range in price from $100 to $1,000, he said.

Earlier on, he almost gave up trying to play the instrument. “The accordion hurt my back,” Bain said.

He played in intervals, going for five minutes a day for two weeks while slowly building up his back muscles, increasing the routine to 10 minutes.

Today, Bain plays the instrument in front of the collection kettle from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a 2 ½ hour break in between at least five days a week. He started up shortly before Thanksgiving and will play for the cause until two days before Christmas.

“An accordion can be a temperamental instrument, especially in the cold weather,” he said.

The second accordion helps out, with the violin ready to go just in case.

Bain also plays the piano, organ, guitar, trumpet, trombone and saxophone. He’s lost count on the number of songs he knows by heart in his musical catalog.

On a cold December day, for instance, he might play “Blue Hawaii” just to warm up the passersby.

Outside of the Salvation Army, Bain, who is a member of the Escalon Accordion Club, performed not too long ago at the Ramos Brothers Circus. He also played at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Manteca.

He enjoys his longtime involvement with the Salvation Army ministry.

“I like playing music,” Bain said. “I like to see the smiles it brings to people.”