What are Handbells?
Handbells were created in England to provide a practice instrument for the carillons. It was impractical for the carillonneurs to spend their practice hours actually ringing the carillon in the unheated towers for everyone to hear, so they created miniature versions of the bells to be played by hand inside. A handbell ensemble is basically an instrument that takes at least 13 people to play. It takes coordination, good rhythm and fun rehearsals to have a successful handbell choir.
Are Handbells expensive?
A set of new handbells costs approximately $23,000.
What brand of handbells do we play at HPUMC?
We ring on 5 octaves of Malmark handbells (a total of 61 bells), and 4 octaves of Malmark handchimes (including the large bass chimes). The handbells are made of bronze, and were refurbished in 2012, so they are in wonderful condition. We also have the church’s original set of 5 octaves of Whitechapel handbells (the “original” source of handbells in England). These bells have a different tone than our newer set, and are used to create contrasting moods within pieces.
Who rings the handbells?
The Epworth Handbell Ensemble, an advanced group, plays in Sanctuary worship on a regular basis, and plays for special mission projects (Night Owls, smaller churches in the area who don’t have a handbell program, weddings). Experience is necessary to join this excellent group of players. Most of our ringers are members of HPUMC, but some come from all over the metroplex to play in this wonderful group. Some of our members have been playing in Epworth for 20 years, and we have several SMU students also who come and ring during their SMU years.
This group of musicians not only rings bells, but we also share each other’s life burdens and pray for one another. The ministry that happens during and after rehearsals is truly a gift to the group.
Rehearsals on Wednesday, 6:00 - 7:15 p.m. in Room 391
What about beginners?
We have an ensemble for new ringers! We meet on Thursday mornings from 10:00 - 10:30 am in Room 391.
For more information call Terrie Preskitt-Brown, Associate Director of Music and Director of Handbells, at 214.523.2205 or