Established nearly 40 years ago, the resounding music of the House of Hope Handbell Choir has become a familiar and integral part of worship. The Adult Handbell Choir is a multi-generational group open to high school students and adults that provides music for the worship service once a month. Rehearsals are held on Wednesdays from 7:15-8:45 p.m. The Youth Handbell Choir is open to middle and high school students and rehearses on Wednesdays from 6:30–7 p.m. and rings several times each year during worship services.
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. They were given to House of Hope by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Blumers in 1979. The choir also uses a five-octave set of Malmark handchimes.
Commissioned by a handbell choir member, Dr. Aaron David Miller, Director of Music and Organist, composed a work for double handbell choir specifically for House of Hope Adult and Youth Handbell Choirs. Fantasy on “St. Anne,” was premiered in May 2012.
If you are interested in joining one of the handbell choirs, please contact Director of Music Aaron Miller at AaronM@hohchurch.org. Interested ringers must be able to read music.
History of Handbells
Handbell ringing began in England about 300 years ago. 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.
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.