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United We Ring From C to C to C
Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers 2017 Festival
The 2017 OGEHR Festival and Concert, "United We Ring From C to C to C", was held May 25-27 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Forty choirs, made up of 289 ringers, attended this year’s festival. To read more about the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers festival, click HERE.
OGEHR has held this festival in different locations throughout Ontario once every two years since 1985. The name of this year’s festival was chosen to reflect Canada’s sesquicentennial and even the colors of the logo are significant; the bronze represents bells and the red is, of course, for Canada.
The festival attendees were grouped into three different levels of choirs – Copper, Bronze and Gold. The Copper and Bronze choirs prepared three pieces, and the Gold Choir two pieces, of pre-selected music by the festival committee that were appropriate for their ringing skills but allowed for advancement of those skills. In addition, they also prepared four massed choir pieces for the concert on the final night.
For each festival, a well-known conductor is brought in for the event to rehearse with the choirs for the concert. In 2017, Michael Glasgow from Raleigh, NC was the conductor for the Copper, Bronze and Massed Choirs. Terry Head, a music director in London, Ontario, was the Gold Choir conductor. Both men impressed the festival committee and the participants with their talent and passion for handbell music.
During the three-day festival, ringers had the opportunity to participate in two workshops that they were asked to choose in advance. The workshops were designed to address the needs of the ringers; however, there were non-ringing workshops offered as well. A Marketplace, made up of both music and non-music vendors, was available for ringers to purchase needed items.
From the festival coordinator, Mary Loree: This bi-annual festival is the major event offered by the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers. The Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers exists to promote Handbell ringing in Ontario. This festival brings ringers in contact with each other for the purpose exchanging ideas, to assist newly formed choirs, to provide a forum for discussion, and the practical advancement of the art of handbell ringing. For more information on OGEHR, visit their webpage or connect with them on their Facebook page.
Jeffers Handbell Supply was pleased to provide tote bags for the ringers at the 2017 festival and we hope to continue building the relationship with OGEHR in future years.