Under the direction of Nancy Hascall, the Sanctuary Bell Choir provides music for worship at FUMC several times a year, playing 5 (and sometimes 6) octaves of Schulmerich handbells. We rehearse weekly on Wednesday evenings from 7-9 p.m.
Besides the director, we currently have 11 active members, four of whom are new to the group this year, and we are eager to welcome others. The ideal number for a 5-octave handbell choir is 13, but we can easily accommodate more. In addition to ringing in worship, our goals include skill development, outreach, and mutual support through prayer and fellowship.
The only requirement for membership in Sanctuary Bells is the ability to read music. Beyond that, anyone who desires to learn, and will make a personal commitment to regular attendance, is encouraged to participate. In the event of an absence, members are responsible for arranging for a substitute ringer to take their place, as rehearsing with a ringer absent is like playing a piano with missing keys.
This spring we are scheduled to play for Sunday worship on February 19, April 22, and May 20. Plans are also in the works to present a Wednesday night program for a retirement home sometime in May, and/or offer music for another church on a Sunday morning.
Several members of the Sanctuary Bells will attend the Area 10 Conference of Handbell Musicians of America (formerly AGEHR) in Tacoma, June 22-24. The event, in which we have participated biannually for almost 20 years, offers showcase concerts, classes on various aspects of handbell ringing, and a massed ringing experience with as many as 400-500 ringers rehearsing and performing in concert together under a nationally known conductor. (In alternate years, we often attend smaller festivals such as the Siskiyou Summit Handbell Festival in Ashland.)
Come and check us out. Anyone is welcome to observe rehearsals and/or give handbell ringing a try!