The Westminster Concert Bell Choir Is Coming To A City Near You

Posted By Derek Nance on May 17, 2016 |


The 2016 Westminster Concert Bell Choir The 2016 Westminster Concert Bell Choir

Be on the look out! There’s a bus full of college bell ringers driving around the country, and chances are they will be showing up at your city next.

The Westminster Choir College’s handbell ensemble just embarked on their concert tour that will take them from California to the mid-west. Over the next three weeks they have a grueling schedule of 12 concerts in 7 states. From the group’s website:

The tour program, titled “Songs of America,” includes arrangements of patriotic favorites and American songs and hymns, as well as original works, performed on the world’s largest range of handbells and Choirchimes.  Many are featured in the ensemble’s newest recording “Let Freedom Ring!”  The patriotic favorites include Battle Hymn of the Republic, a medley of songs by George M. Cohan and an arrangement of Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever that showcases the ensemble’s virtuosity.  Amazing Grace and Ezekiel Saw the Wheel are two of the hymns and spirituals in the concert repertoire. The ensemble will also perform two works that were composed to honor the memory of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attacks: Cathy Moklebust’s Reflections on the Plains and Arnold Sherman’s Song of Peace.

Long time handbell fans are probably familiar with the Westminster Concert Bell Choir and their director Kathy Ebling Shaw. Shaw is a well know handbell conductor and clinician. In fact, she is even slated to take the podium at Distinctly Bronze West in 2017. I had the fortune of meeting many of her ringers at the College Ring-In this past January.  If the rest of the ringers in her group are as good as the musicians I met, this concert is going to be one you won’t want to miss.

But don’t take my word for it. One of the group’s ringers Bethan Neely said that her favorite part of the concert is a new piece. “We’re playing a new commissioned work by James Weber which uses a new Malmark product, the bell plate. So that’s really exciting!” Gillian Erlenborn, another ringer with the ensemble commented that people should come to the concert because “[we’re] college aged kids so we’re hip 😉 ”

If you want to see these hip kids in action, check out their concert schedule below. More details about their concert tour can be found on their website.

Westminster Concert Bell Choir
2016 Songs of America National Tour

TUESDAY, MAY 17 – 7 p.m.
Valley Church
Cupertino, CA

WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 – 7 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church
Monterey, CA

FRIDAY, MAY 20 – 7 p.m.
St. Mark Presbyterian Church
Newport Beach, CA

SATURDAY, MAY 21 – 7:30 p.m.
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
Pasadena, CA

SUNDAY, MAY 22 – 7 p.m.
Ascension Lutheran Church
Paradise Valley, AZ

MONDAY, MAY 23 – 7 p.m.
St. Mark Catholic Church
Tucson (Oro Valley), AZ

TUESDAY, MAY 24- 7:30 p.m.
Gold Canyon United Methodist Church
Gold Canyon, AZ

FRIDAY, MAY 27 – 7 p.m.
Mountain View Presbyterian Church
Las Vegas, NV

TUESDAY, MAY 31 – 7 p.m.
Grace Lutheran Church
Lincoln, NE

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1 – 7 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church
Iowa City, IA

THURSDAY, JUNE 2 – 7:30 p.m.
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
Fort Wayne, IN

FRIDAY, JUNE 3 – 7p.m.
Wooster United Methodist Church
Wooster, OH