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Bells will be ringing
The sounds of reverberating bells will soon fill the air in Bremerton.
Bells of the Sound, Puget Sound’s “premiere handbell choir,” is hosting a concert to celebrate 20 years of “handbell excellence,” according to Wendy McPhetres, Mountain View Middle School choir teacher and Bells of the Sound member.
The next local performance is at 4 p.m., Sunday, May 3 at Bremerton Methodist Church on Marine Drive. Donations will be accepted at the door. The group has suggested $8 for students and seniors and $10 for adults.
“This concert series is to celebrate our 20th year of ‘ringing in the Puget Sound,’” McPhetres said. “So we have picked our favorite songs from the past 20 years that represent us and the script of the concert tells about our history from the beginning of the choir and through all of our accomplishments and the things we have done. We want people to come and enjoy what we do.”
The choir, according to McPhetres, has received national acclaim since its creation in 1989 and the concert this weekend is a chance to perform locally before the group heads to Tuscon, Ariz. in July.
“We were invited to perform at the National Handbell Conference, which is a pretty big accomplishment for us,” she said. “We are going to pack up our bells and take them down there to perform on the national stage.”
Each year, four groups are chosen to perform at the conference from all of the audition DVDs sent in, McPhetres said.
“We’re pretty excited,” she added.
The choir plays many local events and festivals as well, according to McPhetres, and the group is made up of quite a few instruments.
“Our bell choir, which is made up of 15 members, plays 7 and one half octaves of handbells (90 bells) and 6 octaves of chimes (72 chimes),” she said.
Not everyone can play in the choir, McPhetres said. Members are chosen by their talents.
“This is an auditioned group,” she said. “We all auditioned to become a member of this group, so it is kind of the cream of the crop, so to speak.”
The group practices every week in Seattle, McPhetres said, and she is the member with the longest commute.
“I travel the farthest, from Bremerton,” she said. “There are a couple of Tacoma people as well, but I am the farthest away.”
McPhetres said the group has made many appearances throughout the area including appearances on the Q13 Morning News Christmas Special, MIX 92.5’s Christmas Show and KING 98.1’s “Evenings with Gigi Yellen.”
They also have performed at the Opening Gala at Benaroya Hall, sold out shows with the Seattle Men’s Chorus and headlined performances at national handbell conferences.