The Tabor College Handbell Choir will be among the groups performing at the community-wide service, ?With Praise and Thanksgiving,? beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, 300 Prairie Pointe.
The Handbell Choir will be playing the Christmas favorite, ?Do You Hear What I Hear?? directed by Richard Cantwell, director of instrumental music and chair of the music department.
The Tabor College Handbell Choir began in 2003 with a significant donation from Don and Connie Isaac to purchase the first two-octave set. The third octave was added through a donation from the Sam Regier family in memory of Sam?s mother, Katharina Friesen Regier, an early Tabor College music faculty member.
According to Cantwell, handbell ringing requires a unique combination of musicianship, eye-hand coordination and personal focus. He recommends Handbell Choir participation for Tabor students planning to serve in the area of church music either as a vocation or a service.
?Many churches have handbell sets with a lack of skilled volunteers to lead them,? Cantwell said. ?Tabor is fortunate to have a group of fine musicians willing to fit the Handbell Ensemble into their busy academic schedules.?
The Handbell Choir played during Nov. 8 Sunday worship services at Community Bible Church in Abilene, the home church of senior handbell choir member Andrea Kuntz.
On Nov. 10, the choir performed for 125 residents and family members at Schowalter Villa, in Hesston, where senior member Janae Rempel?s grandmother resides in a duplex.
Unlike an orchestra or choir, in which each musician is responsible for one line of the texture, a handbell ensemble acts as one instrument, with each musician responsible for sounding his or her assigned bells whenever that note appears in the music.
?Handbells is the type of group where everyone needs to be there, each part is so important,? said Sarah Friesen, sophomore from Guthrie, Okla.
?The Hesston audience was unique in that so many people either had played handbells or had a relative or friend that is a handbell player. It was a fun experience.?
Sally Epp, a freshman from Gilter, Neb., said, ?I enjoy handbells?it?s a new experience.
?After playing the piano for many years, it?s like starting over on a new instrument, and you learn to laugh at your mistakes.?
In addition to Kuntz, Rempel, Friesen and Epp, other member of the Handbell Choir are Katheryn Camp, Debbie Miller, Emily Olson, Emily Schmidt and Heidi Versaw.