Annual Spring Handbell Festival set for Sunday in Greenville

By Daily News • Last Updated 11:26 am on Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Joy Bells Choir of First Congregational Church is among the performers at Sunday’s Spring Handbell Festival at St. Paul Lutheran Church. — Courtesy photo

GREENVILLE — The annual Spring Handbell Festival is being hosted by Grace Notes Handbell Choir of St. Paul Lutheran Church.

The concert will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 9844 S. Greenville Road, two miles south of Greenville on M-91.

The concert features three local handbell choirs, along with a special solo performance by Lori Baker and a duet by Leigh and Lori Englebrech.

There is no charge for this event. A donation box will be available for anyone wishing to make an offering for the Greenville Area Ecumenical Food Pantry and RAVE I/M Inc., the local nonprofit organization serving domestic violence and sexual abuse victims as well as the homeless.

About the presenting handbell choirs:

• Grace Notes Handbell Choir is a small group ministry within the congregation of St. Paul Lutheran Church of Greenville. “First in the minds and hearts of the ringers of Grace Notes is serving God,” director Lori Baker said. “We praise him with our ringing and give him thanks for the opportunity to do so.”

Grace Notes was formed in January 1998 when the first three octaves of Schulmerich bells arrived. The bells and equipment were purchased with money in the Memorial Fund of the congregation and a gift from the Buescher estate. Additional bells and handchimes have been added since, purchased with memorial monies given specifically for bell choir support.

The 11 members of the choir ring four and one half octaves of bells and three octaves of chimes. Ringers range in age from middle school to retired.

The first public appearance of Grace Notes was during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of St. Paul Lutheran Church. Since then, Grace Notes has given concerts for the tree-lighting ceremony at Spectrum Health United Hospital; Zondervan’s Book Publishing headquarters; Marygrove, the Dominican Nun Retirement Home; Maple Creek; Metron Nursing Home and Green Acres. Additionally, Grace Notes has played at church services throughout Michigan including weddings, funerals and an ordination.

Grace Notes members, under the direction of Baker, are Jack Bileth, Karen Bileth, Barb Bremer, Julia Gabrysh, Linda Hansen, Jan Horst, Beth Johnson, Ed Johnson, Rosy Rivera, Kathy Sherd and Janet Wulf-Marvin.

• Joy Bells Choir of the First Congregational Church of Greenville is a long-standing group which was formed in the early 1970s, thanks to the purchase of the bells by Dr. Robert Rice. In 1998, the purchase of hand chimes was achieved with other memorial monies.

In the past 30 years the Joy Bells has grown to a five-octave choir, allowing ringers of all ages to praise God with their musical gifts. This group is all about laughing and having fun while praising God and spreading his good news.

The Joy Bells has been blessed with opportunities to play for local nursing homes, other churches, Women’s Fellowship events, Spectrum Health United Hospital and many other venues.

“Our group offers us long-lasting friendship opportunities, provides enjoyment for the community and helps us find personal fulfillment, all while praising God with this wonderful gift. We are honored to be a part of the 2012 Spring Handbell Festival,” said director Trudi Cunningham.

Joy Bells’ current choir members, under the direction of Cunningham, consist of Roger Abel, Theresa Cory, Sandy Cote, Emily Englebrech, Leigh Englebrech, Lori Englebrech, Gloria Guilfoyle, Brittany Jager, Bo Stephenson and Penny Stroope.

• Joyful Noise: What kid wouldn’t love to make a joyful noise unto the Lord? Settlement Lutheran Church has a Kids’ Bell Choir that loves to do just that. These children in grades 2 through 5 enhance the church worship service about once a month with their jubilant ringing.

The Joyful Noise choir ringers are Robert Fruchey, JD Johansen, Beckie and Drew Caswell, Emma Kent, Maddie Ward, Emma McCallum and Reaghan Dolphin. The choir is directed by Linda Hansen who says she is amazed at how quickly these children learn and how enthusiastically they ring.

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