Music Ministry: Handbells
First Baptist Henderson has one of the largest collections of handbells and handchimes in captivity. Our seven handbell ensembles ring three sets of bells made by Schulmerich Carillons of Sellersville, PA. The original set, purchased in 1967, now spans six octaves. The second set was added in 1974 and is four-and-a-half octaves. The third three-octave set was added in 2004. The ensembles also use two sets of Malmark handchimes: one five-octave set and one three octave set. In all the collection includes 246 bells and chimes.
Handbell Ensembles (listed alphabetically)
Bells of Wyche
First Baptist newest handbell ensemble, The Bells of Wyche, was formed in the fall of 2009. Its name acknowledges the church’s belfry and 16-bell tower carillon, which sits on Wyche Street in downtown Henderson. The name was chosen, however, in honor of the church’s long-time Minister of Music Phil Young, whose handbell composition “The Bells of Wyche” has been rung by nearly every handbell ensemble in the church in the course of the past twenty years.
Created as an outlet for youth and adult ringers who are interested in ringing challenging literature, the group rings regularly in worship year-round and participates in periodic retreats.
Rehearsals: Monday evenings, 5:30-7:00 in the downstairs Music Room
The Chamber Ringers were formed in the fall of 2007. Comprised of high school-age members of The Bell Ringers of The First Baptist Church, this group affords teens opportunities to ring more advanced literature. They ring regularly in worship, and participate annually in The Bell Ringers’ home concert and spring tour.
Rehearsals: Sunday afternoons, 4:00-4:45 in the downstairs Music Room
Evening Adult Ringers
The Evening Adult Ringers meets on Wednesday evenings for a rollicking time of ringing and fellowship. This group has travelled to bell festivals in Richmond and Hampton, Virginia, and to Raleigh for the Raleigh Ringers’ Festival. They have given benefit concerts which raised over $500 for A.C.T.S. (Area Christians Together in Service), $2000 for ALS research in memory of a former ringer, and $2000 to help fund a successful kidney transplant for a current ringer. Go Team!!! We always have room for one or two more ringers!
Rehearsals: Wednesday evenings, 7:30-8:30 in the downstairs Music Room
Morning Adult Ringers
The Morning Adult Ringers provides opportunities for adults to ring handbells in services and for special occasions. This group is open to experienced ringers as well as adults who have not previously participated in handbell ringing. All are welcomed to participate!
Rehearsals: Thursday mornings, 8:30-9:30 in the downstairs Music Room
Come down to the Children’s Music Room on any Wednesday afternoon and you will experience organized chaos! A room full of 4th through 6th graders with bells in their hands can be seen and heard each week learning how to ring. These ringers are introduced to all the varied skills required for ringing handbells and for later participation in The Bell Ringers. Skills are broken down and taught step-by-step. No prior experience is required but regular attendance is helpful and speeds the learning process. This group rings in programs during the Advent and Spring seasons and occasionally participates in worship.
Rehearsals: Wednesday afternoons, 3:30-4:15 in the downstairs Music Room
The Bell Ringers
One of the largest youth handbell programs in the United States, The Bell Ringers of The First Baptist Church have concertized and taken part in major handbell festivals from Florida to the Canadian border since their founding in 1969.
In addition to regular participation in the worship services of their own church, The Bell Ringers have made an annual appearance in Duke University Chapel for nearly four decades providing music for a Sunday morning Advent worship service. In recent years, The Bell Ringers have performed in Hill Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Music Teachers Association, the Greensboro Coliseum for the annual meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and on several occasions in joint concerts with the North Carolina Boys Choir. In 2010 the group performed for the state convention of the North Carolina Federated Women’s Clubs.
The thirty-four seventh through twelfth graders who make up the group have from three to eight years of experience and training in handbell ringing.
Rehearsals: Sunday afternoons, 4:45-6:00 in the downstairs Music Room