It's an idyllic display of teamwork and perfectly timed movements. The end result is beautiful music from a single instrument.
Two handbell directors oversee the 70-plus students who make up Sts. Joseph and John's four bell choirs. Charlotte Ginter is in charge of two beginner groups composed of third-graders. Patricia Yates, in her ninth year as director, oversees the intermediate choir of fourth-graders and the advanced choir has grades 5-8 participating.
For this handbell choir novice, I learned the bells are not only rung, they are also tapped with mallets for a different sound -- sometimes within the same song.
Watch the talent in the video of the 14-member advanced choir as they perform a portion of "Staccato Giocoso." You'll be impressed. Guaranteed.
According to Yates, a fourth-grade teacher at the school, the students "learn many elements of music: reading notes, musicality, performing as a group together. They take pride in learning their parts and have a great deal of fun along the way."
Her musicians have plenty to say about the experience.
Kayla B. has been in the bell choir program for five years. She said, "Mrs. Yates was convincing (about joining). When we got together as a group, I really felt like I could be part of something."
For twins Danny and Johnny, they were attracted to the handbell choir because an older sister participated. Johnny saw it as an opportunity to "learn an instrument and it's a cool instrument to learn."
Vinny "made the decision to (join the bell choir) in third grade and am so glad I did. It's another fun activity." He, too has been in the program for five years.
And for Morgan, she "loves it a lot. The more challenging music is more fun."
Students commit to practicing weekly and perform during the Christmas season for the school, their parents and friends. They also have a spring concert and hone their skills at a few masses. On occasion, the choir visit nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
'Extra Credit' commends the bell choir. Not only for their talent but the group's hospitality and manners are superb!