Did you know the art of English hand bell ringing is recognized as both an excellent music education tool and as a delightful group instrument, providing fun and a challenge to all who play?
Did you know in medieval times Christians travelled throughout Europe ringing bells while spreading the news of the risen Christ and summoning people to congregate?
Did you know hand bells descended from the tower bells in England as practice instruments for the men who rang the enormous bells housed in church belfries?
Did you know English hand bells are believed to have been introduced to the United States by the Peake Family Ringers in the 1830s and in 1840 by P.T. Barnum?
Did you know hundreds of hand bell groups began springing up throughout the United States in the 1950s and 60s?
In case you did not know, you will have an opportunity to hear a five octave set of hand bells in a concert on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, 201 N. Randolph St., Rockingham.
The Sandhills Ringers, a group of hand bell enthusiasts from Rockingham and Hamlet, will present a program of music showcasing the diversity of hand bells. The idea of a local community hand bell choir was conceived by Joanne Bruce, director of Cole Auditorium, as a prelude to an upcoming concert by the Raleigh Ringers.
Don Greene and Leone McLester served as coordinators of the Sandhills Ringers which debuted at Cole Auditorium on June 1, 2008. The choir enjoyed the unique experience of ringing with people from outside their respective church choirs.
In the spring of 2009, efforts began to reunite the Sandhills Ringers. Since that time, four concerts have been presented. Under the direction of Judy Harris, the Sandhills Ringers desire to educate the community about the art of hand bell ringing and present concerts.
The upcoming concert will include patriotic, holiday, sacred and Disney music. The concert will also feature the talent of other local musicians, the L.J. Bell Elementary School chorus directed by Don Greene, the Sandhills Singers, Genevra Kelly and Melissa Bearfield.
Donations of nonperishable food items will be accepted for BackPack Pals and New Horizons. The public is invited to come to the sanctuary of First Baptist Church on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 4 p.m. and experience this unique sound.