In 2008 Janet Heerema initiated the handbells. Our thanks to Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, Exeter for the use of the Schulmerich 3 octave handbells.
A handbell choir is a group/team that rings recognizable music with melodies and harmony. The two major defining characteristics of handbells are their clappers and ability to produce overtones. The clapper on a handbell is on a hinge and moves back and forth in a single direction, unlike a school bell in which the clapper swings freely in any direction. It also has a spring that holds the clapper away from the casting after the strike to allow the bell to ring freely. Handbells can weigh as little as 7 oz or upwards of 18 lb.
To ring a handbell, the ringer moves it in such a way that the clapper strikes the inside surface of the bell, usually holding it against his or her shoulder, bell upwards, and then swinging the bell through an elliptical shape to cause the clapper to strike the casting. There are also many techniques that change the sound of the bell as it is rung such as swinging, malletting, shaking and thumb damping.
The first tuned handbells were developed in Western European between 1696 and 1724. Handbell ringing has grown in popularity worldwide.
Lessons & Carols, Exeter United Church