How this Ministry Operates:
Ringers of Joy is a group of musicians who play handbells and choir chimes. Ringers form a bond with each other and the congregation as they worship God together.
The Youthful Ringers are junior hand bell and choir chime musicians, (approximately grades 4 through 8). The Youthful Ringers learn the valuable skills of public performance, cooperation, and musical capability in praising God.
On an ongoing basis, the handbell choirs help celebrate the festivals and various services of the church year by enhancing the theme with the music. As they have in the past, the handbell choirs are planning to play handbells at Butler Square, using the song titles and words of songs to present Jesus and the Gospel.
- Two of the 25-year-old handbell cases were replaced using gifts of money.
- The Youthful Ringers played for Women in Ministry to show them how bells are played. Director Marie Zehnder showed Women in Ministry members how to play bells by letting them play bells.
- The Youthful Ringers caroled in the school classrooms and hallways with bells.
- Director Marie Zehnder taught the science of sound to the third graders by teaching them how to play choirchimes (pre-handbell techniques).
Handbell players from Ringers of Joy offer melodic sentiments:
“I chose the handbell choir because I enjoy music. When I started out, they made me feel very welcome. They were understanding as to how challenging it can be at first. Now I have been in for about 15 years. Since joining I’ve made many friends with fellow members. I feel more like an active member of our congregation. I enjoy being part of the worship service, especially on festivals when we are a prominent part of the service. It is a very rewarding experience to see how we struggle when first learning a new piece, and then finally play it in church, and people comment on how much they enjoyed our music.”
“It’s beautiful when we process in with our bells on Easter. We dedicate our music to the glory of God. We know the Holy Spirit is with us when we play, and also when you listen.”
“It is frustrating when we don’t have enough players for an effective practice. The more players we have, the more we’ll all enjoy playing. It’s one cultural thing I do, while praising God, and enjoying time with friends and fellow Christians.”
“Handbells is finally my opportunity to play a musical instrument. It is one of the major joys of my life.”
How to Get Involved:
1. More people are needed to volunteer for handbells:
Ringers of Joy - High school-age and adult Immanuel members (or people currently taking the Adult Instruction class) are invited to become members of this musical ministry. Prior knowledge of note-reading (i.e. note values and time) from recorder (school) piano lessons, or playing a band instrument, is necessary.
Ringers meet every Thursday, September through May (except holidays), from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the church balcony to learn to play in unity and to keep bells in good condition. Sometimes someone has to miss. Their bells have to be played by someone else for that week. Each player has their own allotted bells to cover. Right now Ringers of Joy is looking for at least two more players.
Talk to Director Marie Zehnder or to one of the players: Lauren Grunzel, Barb Spinney, Carol Rathjen, Gary Solberg, Sarah Kahlscheuer, Denise Crapser, Matt Vahl, Erica Schellhaas, Sharon Rohde, and Matt Dennkert.
Youthful Ringers: - Musical know-how is not a prerequisite, though some children may have had experience with choir chimes in third grade and recorders in fourth grade. Ringers meet from 12:15 to 1 p.m. every Thursday during the school year (September through May), in the church balcony. Contact Marie Zehnder.
2. Memorial donations that specify handbells can be used to expand or replace things that wear out. One bell costs from $142 (small) to $787 (large).
3. The handbell choirs love feedback from you —whether or not they have enhanced your worship.