Directing My First Bell Choir

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010
Wendy directing the bell choir"Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

For several years, a set of two octave handbells have been sitting in the attic of the local church, just waiting for someone to come along to start a bell choir - I guess that someone was me.

The bell choirLast year, one of the members of the church mentioned the bells and asked if Amy or I would be interested in directing a choir.  At the time, while I really wanted to help, I couldn't imagine myself directing a bell choir where I would be the youngest person there.  Yet, as I thought and prayed about it over the summer, I realized that this was something that I wanted to do.  Handbells has been a passion for me since I first picked up a bell in Junior High.  God has used it to provide so many opportunities over the past several years.  For the past four years, I have been ringing in the handbell choirs at The Master's College under the leadership of Claire Blackwell, professor of Music and Mathematics.  I am so grateful for the time and opportunities Mrs. Blackwell has given me, and I wanted to give others those same opportunities.

Amy and I started the bell choir in August with me acting as director and Amy acting as rover.  It has been so wonderful to take a group of people - most of whom did not know how to ring a handbell and a few of whom could barely read music - and help them grow to the point that they feel comfortable reading the pieces that I give them - much like my choir directors have done for me!

The bell choir waits for me to start the song.It has been such a privilege to direct the handbell choir each week.  Their enthusiasm to learn whatever I can teach them is so encouraging.  I firmly believe that sight reading pieces each night is essential to help the bell choir progress faster to harder levels of music, and the choir has been so patient with me as I throw new pieces and techniques at them.

This morning was the first time the choir was able to ring during the services.  We played a song for offertory and had the special treat of accompanying the congregation as they sang two hymns.  It was so much fun to see how hard everyone had worked to get to this point.  I am so proud of how well the bell choir did today.  They did a great job following me and even put up with my crazy antics as I tried to direct while swatting the flies that kept buzzing around my head.

I am really looking forward to start preparing our Christmas pieces.  I am so grateful for this incredible privilege!

We recorded a video of the choir performance.  As soon as I have time to edit it, I will post a video to this blog.  Stay tuned...

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