MARSHALL - Youth from four area churches met for the first time on Tuesday night to begin a six-week course in handbell playing.
Handbells are sets of bells finely tuned to specific notes and half-notes. The clapper is fixed to swing in only one direction and strike only once.
Though little known, they've been around since about 1696.
Photo by Steve Browne
Rennae Petersen, center, and Steve Meyer instruct the first class of the youth handbell choir sponsored by four area churches. The choir will meet Tuesdays for six weeks.
"They're tuned like a piano is tuned, you can ring with piano, organ, or any other instrument," said Steve Meyer, who directs The Spirit Bells, an adult group associated with First Lutheran Church.
The youth handbell choir is a cooperative effort between First Lutheran, Wesley and Albright Methodist churches, and Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. The course is jointly taught by Meyer, Rennae Petersen, director of Ecumenibells, and Jean Schueller of Holy Redeemer Church.
Various area churches have organized handbell choirs before, which have tended to sputter out with the pressure of other activities throughout the year.
"We felt that we'd like to have a youth choir in town, so we're trying to do a choir for six weeks," said Petersen. "We'll end on Sept. 9, Rally Day for Lutherans and Methodists.
Youth handbell lessons are Tuesday evenings at First Lutheran Church.