Handbell Choir

Handbell Choirs

The House of Hope rings with a five-octave set of Whitechapel handbells, crafted at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, England, maker of the Liberty Bell. The choir also uses a five-octave set of Malmark handchimes.

The Adult Handbell Choir, established over 40 years ago, is a multi-generational group open to high school students and adults, alike. Ringers must act as one instrument and therefore should be able to read music, since each ringer is given a unique, unrepeated handbell assignment. The Adult Handbell Choir provides music for the 10:00 worship service once a month, September through May. Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings, 7:15 to 8:45.

The Youth Handbell Choir is open to middle school students and rehearses 6:30 to 7:00 on Wednesday evenings and rings several times a year at the 10:00 worship service.

Commissioned by a handbell choir member, Dr. Aaron David Miller, Director of Music and Organist, composed a work for double handbell choir for The House of Hope Adult and Youth Handbell Choirs, Fantasy on "St. Anne," which was premiered in May 2012.

If you are interested in joining one of the handbell choirs, please leave a message for Sarah Garner at 651-227-6311 or sarahg@hohchurch.org

History of Handbells

Handbell ringing began in England about three hundred years ago. Tuned, musical handbells, fitted with leather straps, were introduced in the late 17th century and were used for playing simple tunes and for practicing the change ringing of tower bells in specific patterns.

English handbell ringing arrived in the United States in 1902 when Margaret Shurcliff returned from England, gifted with a set of handbells, after becoming the first American woman to ring a peal on tower bells in England. She began the first community handbell group in Boston and later founded the New England Guild of Handbell Ringers in 1937, followed by the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers in 1954. Today the organization is known as Handbell Musicians of America.