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Creative uses for bells and chimes outside of worship services & the classroom-From Viewers Like You!
In our April eVibes: Community, we asked you, the readers, to take a quick survey about how you use your handbells in creative and unique ways. We got some really creative responses that can easily be adapted to fit almost any choir or ensemble.
1. St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Newark, Delaware offers a community concert at the end of June, near the Fourth of July; the community concert is coming into its fourth year. It is an opportunity for my ringers to learn more than sacred/classical pieces. We take time to learn patriotic and secular selections starting right after Memorial Day and offer them in concert. This year the second half of the concert is full of cinematic themes. The massed community choir, orchestra, and the bells will be ringing a selection of Disney favorites sure to delight all ages! (Michael Bareham from St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Newark, DE)
2. We like to put on concerts for social groups in our church (Paul Weaver from First Presbyterian Church in Carson City, NV)
3. Since 2007, our bell choirs at Avondale Presbyterian Church have hosted an annual Community Handbell Concert in our Great Hall. Each year we've invited up to 7 other bell choirs to join us in 2 massed ring pieces and each choir is asked to prepare 2 solo pieces of their own. Approximately 250 people from the community attend. A freewill offering is taken to benefit a special need, for example: Haiti earthquake relief, Honduras hurricane relief, our local first responders, etc. One year we raised funds for 3 young people who were facing very serious medical issues. This year our concert is on Sunday, May 3, at 3:30 PM and our beneficiary is a Chester County Hospital-based, all-volunteer Cancer Support Group called SHiNE. (Peggy Watkins from Avondale Presbyterian Church in Avondale, PA)
4. We offer a Spring Sing and Ring Community Music day which incorporates church choirs, school choirs and local musicians of all types. We also accompany the Connecticut Choral Society at their Christmas concert, play in the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven. Soon we will perform a newly composed mass at Carnegie Hall, NYC (Chime In! Music with a Mission, Inc. in Bethlehem, CT)
5. This past December, we took our handchimes to a seniors' Christmas luncheon and rang simple carol accompaniments to lead a sing-a-long. The surprise [beyond the great joy brought to the OWLS (Older Wiser Lutherans)] was when the staff and other guests in the hotel where the event was held came in and joined in singing the sounds of the season, too. They asked us to come back next year and perform a concert in the atrium! (Michael Bareham from St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Newark, DE)
6. We often take chimes with us to the nursing homes. I create lyrics to favorite songs and hymns, with the chime note written above the word or syllable of the lyrics. For example, D5 is written above "A," G5 above "maz," and B5 above "zing" of Amazing Grace, and so on. A resident is given a chime and one of our ringers to help. They sing the song and play the chime when their word comes up. The residents love being able to play a little, and we love the smiles and laughter it brings! (Linda Holladay from Taylor Road Baptist Church in Montgomery AL)
7. Our favorite outside project is our "bell mob". Using the 12-bells series music, we load six players, 12 bells and music stands into a large van. We drive around looking for Salvation Army Red Kettle Ringers. When we find one, we leap out and play about six Christmas songs. The kettle ringers are excited and the people coming and going love it. It is a lot of fun. (Monica Stern from Paradise Valley UMC in Paradise Valley, AZ)