What are handbells?
Handbells were created in England to provide a practice instrument for the carillons. Originally, tuned sets of handbells, were used by change ringers to rehearse outside their towers. Tower bell ringers' enthusiasm for practicing the complicated methods of change ringing can easily exceed the neighbors' patience, so in the days before modern sound control handbells offered them a way to continue ringing without the aural assault. A handbell ensemble is basically an instrument that takes at least 6 people to play. It takes coordination, good rhythm and fun rehearsals to have a successful handbell choir.
What brand of handbells do we play at FUMC?
We ring on 2-3 octaves of Schulmerich handbells (a total of 37 bells), and 2 octaves of Suzuki handchimes. The handbells are made of bronze, and are currently being refurbished, so they are in wonderful condition. We also have the church’s original set of 3 octaves Schulmerich handbells, the only other set that we know of is in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. We have other bells that range from C3 (very low) to C8 (very high).
Who rings the handbells?
We have 2 groups at FUMC: Children’s Choirchimes and Handbells. These groups of musicians not only ring bells, but we also share each other’s life burdens, rejoices and pray for one another. We try to have a lot of fun and fellowship in our time together. The ministry that happens during and after rehearsals is truly a gift to the group.
What about beginners?
If you are new to handbells (or music in general), come to one of these groups and try it out. We are always willing to teach and all music is color-coded and easy to read!
Children’s Choirchimes are for children in grades K-5. We meet on Monday after school at 2:50pm. Transportation is provided from schools to the church for those who need it. It is truly amazing the beautiful music the children make with the choirchimes. They perform during worship many times during the year.
Handbells are for anyone youth – adults. We practice on Sunday evenings at 5:30pm and perform in the worship service several times throughout the year.