Seasonal ap-peal: Handbell groups share Christmas music in annual Ring and Share

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NEW PALESTINE — It’s one part tuneup but most parts concert.

Early in the Christmas season, Cross of Grace Lutheran Church includes several area handbell choirs in an invitational, where each of the choirs plays music it has prepared for upcoming performances. The ensembles get that much more opportunity to play for an audience, and listeners enjoy a festive program of carols.

Though the entire program features handbell music, particularly Christmas tunes, there’s variety in how the music is made. Along with ringing the bells, some songs at Sunday’s concert called for other techniques, such as striking a bell with a mallet or lifting and lowering the bell on the table for a more staccato sound. Some ringers rang multiple bells with the same hand. Other times they used handchimes, and/or played with accompaniment from percussion or piano.

Seven groups performed in this 18th annual event.

“It is just music that we love to make and we love to share, and we love to have an audience, ” Cross of Grace handbells director Susan Oxley said to those gathered. “So thank you so much for being here.”

THE CHOIRS

Bells of Gold, Zion Lutheran School

Bells of Old Bethel, Old Bethel United Methodist Church

Alleluia Ringers, Cross of Grace Lutheran Church

Krug Family Ringers

Bells of Grace, Cross of Grace Lutheran Church

Celebration Bells, Christ Lutheran Church

Joyful Sound, a community handbell choir in Indianapolis