Ringing in spring
Handbell concert at Trinity
By Angie Landsverk
A community handbell ensemble will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at Trinity Lutheran Church.
“Our spring concert is absolutely fabulous. We’re doing sacred, secular and rock music,” said Marilee Anderson. “It’s just a wide variety of music.”
Anderson is the musical director of Bells of the Bluffs, a group made up of ringers from east-central and southeastern Minnesota, western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities area.
The concert will be free and open to the public. A free will offering will be taken.
Trinity Lutheran Church is located at 206 E. Badger St., in Waupaca.
Anderson was at the church Monday, April 23 to do a workshop with Trinity’s handbell choir.
She has been a ringer for more than 30 years and founded Bells of the Bluffs five years ago.
Her introduction to handbells took place in the early 1980s.
Anderson walked into a Lutheran church on a Sunday morning and said she “saw all these handbells.”
The church was thinking about buying bells and did.
“I fell in love with them,” said Anderson, who majored in music education.
Wanting to get involved at the church, she directed the boys.
“The first year was a disaster. I didn’t know anything about bells,” Anderson said.
She decided to learn and attended workshops and festivals.
“It just opened up the world to me,” Anderson said. “The rest is history.”
In 1996, she auditioned for and became a member of a community ensemble in the Twin Cities called Bells of the Lakes.
Anderson played with that group for 13 years before deciding to form the community ensemble Bells of the Bluffs.
There are about 14 members in the group.
Anderson says her passion for the bells is producing the musicality.
“You create new things to do with the bells,” she said. “There is so much more you can do with them. It’s learning how to do different techniques, like with any instrument.”
Trinity Lutheran Church has had a handbell choir for 33 years, and Char Kuenzi and Marian Johnson have been members since it began.
Shana Rogney became the director of the choir about eight years ago.
There are about a dozen members on the roster, with rehearsals taking place every Monday.
“The youngest member is in fifth grade,” Rogney said.
Wanda Eikenbary, the church’s director of music ministries, said Trinity appreciates the handbell choir.
The April 29 concert came about after a member of the church received a message from a friend who is part of Bells of the Bluffs, asking if Trinity might be interested in having a concert.
Eikenbary talked to Rogney and the church’s pastors, who said, “Go for it.”
Anderson said the concert will be one of several it does in this part of the state over the course of the weekend.
The program will include a mix of modern and classical music and feature a range of musical effects using handbells, chimes, percussion instruments and the group’s exclusive bass pipes apparatus.
In addition, Jean Fjelsted, a member of the ensemble, will provide special music at Trinity’s 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services on April 29, as a soloist.