Capital Ringers Celebrates 10 Years

On Sunday, December 7 at 7pm the Reformation Lutheran Church, located at 613 Lakeview Avenue in Milford, will be hosting a Christmas Handbell Concert. Open to the public, the concert will feature the Capital Ringers, a community ensemble that rings 6 octaves (73 bells) of Schulmerich handbells and 51⁄2 octaves (67 chimes) of Malmark handchimes –the largest set of handbells on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Considered just one instrument, a set of handbells is actually one instrument played by many hands, and there is a Delmarva community handbell ensemble that does it with great skill.The Capital Ringers are dedicated to musical excellence and promoting the art of handbell ringing, across the Delmarva Peninsula, in their performances and workshops.

The Capital Ringers during their "Reflections" concert.
The Capital Ringers during their “Reflections” concert.

In 2004 Artistic Director Linda Simms established Capital Ringers to provide a unique ringing experience for advanced ringers, and to demonstrate the versatility of handbells to audiences. Capital Ringers has performed across the peninsula in churches, theaters, and schools, and has collaborated with the Delaware Chorale Society, the Queen Anne’s Chorale, Wilmington Handbell Ensemble, and the First State Dance Academy. They have performed at the City of Dover Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, the Delaware Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, Olde Dover Days, and the In Harmony Concert Series at the Schwartz Center in Dover.

Having the opportunity to see a Capital Ringers performance last Spring, Karolyn Hayes of Milford is making it her focus to notify her neighbors and friends about their first performance in Milford. She has been ringing handbells for about 20 years at Reformation Lutheran Church and is attracted to the handbells because they “bring to mind the ancient sound of the call to worship, being central to the life of a community.”

“I think people attending the performance will be amazed by the enormous sound and emotion the bells evoke,” said Hayes. “The presentation is also a visual as well as aural experience. It can be mesmerizing.  There is a little bit of an educational aspect to the performance as the director explains the origins and nature of the sound. Members of the audience often have the opportunity to handle and ring bells together.”

The 2014 Christmas Tour, “Traditions” features Christmas favorites, including “Wizards in Winter”, “Let it Go” (from the movie “Frozen”), “O Holy Night”, and a special guest character will join the ringing ensemble to inspire audiences with a celebration of Christmas traditions. Information about the Capital Ringers concert performance schedule and locations is available on the Capital Ringer’s website: at www.capitalringers.org or by contacting the Artistic Director at 302-632-3106.

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