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Group rings in the season
Bells are the traditional music of Christmas and the Carlsborg-based musicians of the Rainshadow Ringers, led by Cheryl Winney, are scheduled for a series of performances during the holiday season.
• Four members join the Sequim Community Christmas Chorus program (see adjacent story).
•The “Carols Galore!” program includes the whole handbell group at 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 Lopez Ave., Port Angeles, Saturday, Dec. 1.
• The Rainshadow Ringers perform at 1:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at the Fifth Avenue Retirement Center, 500 W. Hendrickson Road, Sequim.
• The full group also will perform at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Sequim Health and Rehab Center, 650 W. Hemlock St.
• On Friday, Dec. 7, the Ringers perform in Port Angeles, with 10 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. programs at Franklin Elementary School, 2505 S. Washington St., and a 2 p.m. concert at Laurel Park Assisted Living, 1133 E. Park Ave.
A 17th-century innovation
Handbells were first cast in 1660 by the Cor brothers of Wiltshire, England, to allow church bell ringers to practice their changes without the strain of using the massive tower bells. The little bells soon caught on in their own right.
Sequim’s tradition of bell ringing began in 2011, when Pam Bedford organized a handbell choir. The bells used by the group were produced by Pennsylvania’s Schulmerick Carillons, one of a handful of bell manufacturers in the world.
Who originally ordered the bells is unknown, but two years ago an Illinois church put them up for sale on craigslist.
Bedford arranged for the bells’ purchase and the transportation of the heavy crates.
The 11 local ringers meet once a week to rehearse mainly secular music. At this time of year, however, they work on their Christmas repertoire.
The Rainshadow Ringers have performed at retirement homes, social organizations, a rehab center and a school. They enthusiastically perform just about anywhere that can accommodate their size.
Anyone interested in scheduling a performance or becoming a member of the choir may phone Cheryl Winney at 457-6993 or Pam Bedford at 683-6376.