Learn how to ring hand bells

Mary Sievert, Director of the new Bell Choir at Sun Lakes United Methodist Church.

Mary Sievert, Director of the new Bell Choir at Sun Lakes United Methodist Church.

Lyn Munn

There is still time to register for the free class that will be taught from 9:00-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 22 in Lindsay Hall at the Sun Lakes United Methodist Church. The instructor will be Libbie Randels, a representative of the Handbell Musicians of America. The class, “Back to Bells,” is being hosted by the church’s new Bell Choir Director, Mary Seivert, seen in the accompanying photo. Mary has many years of experience forming and directing hand bell choirs. Her skill will be a great asset as she seeks members for her church’s first bell choir.

There are five churches in Sun Lakes that have hand bell sets and they all need members. The United Church of Christ and Risen Savior Lutheran have active bell choirs, but need additional members. Doug Slater, Worship Leader of St. Steven’s Catholic Church, wants to form a bell choir, maybe in time to celebrate Christmas in their renovated sanctuary. First Baptist Church needs a volunteer to direct and recruit members for a bell choir. It takes 10-15 people to fill a choir, depending on the number of octaves of bells in their set.

I have been playing hand bells for 11 years and I truly love every minute. It is fun! I look forward to rehearsal time. Playing a new piece and hearing the music for the first time is delightful, even though we aren’t playing it up to the proper speed or at our best. As the weeks go by and we play it many more times, the flow of the song becomes easier and the true beauty of the music is heard. Then it is finally time to share it. That is the moment when we give our best to make it as perfect as possible. The bell choir becomes a finely tuned instrument in the hands of the director, and the hearts of the audience are touched. It’s a beautiful thing.

Experience this for yourself. Register for this free class and learn the techniques so you can make beautiful music, too. We need men as well as women because larger bells are heavier. Learn how to read the music and keep track of the notes for the bells you ring and learn how to count so that you don’t lose your place in the song. You do need to be able to move your arms, but if you can comb your hair and put dishes away in the cupboard, you qualify. Take the class and join with others to create beautiful music. It’s not too late to learn the basics of bell ringing in this class and become a musician! You will enjoy it.

Stop by the Cottonwood and Oakwood Open Houses this month and meet me. I’ll have one of my bells with me. There will be an opportunity to register for the class at these Open Houses, or you can register now by sending an email to me at [email protected]