Handbells Choir

WELCOME TO THE ST. JOHN JUBILEE RINGERS HANDBELL CHOIR

Rehearsals: Wednesdays at 5:00 – 5:59 pm
And at 9:00 am on the Sundays the choir rings in worship

A really brief history of English hand-bells: In cities and villages throughout Europe for many centuries, the church was the center of life in the town and the church bells were the news media of the day. Different patterns of ringing would notify the town of a wedding, a funeral, a call to worship, or even an impending attack by marauders. In order to rehearse the sometimes-complex patterns of the change-ringing, smaller hand-held bells were produced, allowing those who would pull the ropes on the bells in the tower (weighing many tons in total) to practice in seclusion so as to avoid false alarms. The first tuned handbells were developed by brothers Robert and William Cor in Aldbourne, Wiltshire, England, between 1696 and 1724. The Cor brothers, for reasons unknown, began tuning their bells more finely to have an accurate fundamental tone, and fitted them with hinged clappers that moved only in one plane. Of course we’re speaking here of a diatonically tuned set of bells whose harmony will correspond one to the other. We are aware that small hand held bells for temple, church, school, or the old town crier have been in existence from the earliest times.

Physical Fun! The making of music in a hand-bell choir is unique, in that a single ringer is responsible for 1, 2, or possibly 3 or 4 notes, unlike playing, say, clarinet or violin, where one is responsible for the full range of melody. The technique is simple, but the ability to play one’s note in time and at the right time! so that melody and harmony match throughout the group admittedly requires a bit of practice!

Rehearsals normally take place in the Bell Rehearsal Room in the backstage area of Fellowship Hall. Rehearsals will be in the sanctuary, when possible, on the Wednesday just prior to a performance.