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News >  Idaho

Annual handbell performance to benefit victims of tsunami


Ann Lunceford, 84, left, and Jordan Hardy, 15, rehearse with their hand bell choir, The Tintinnabulators, at Trinity Lutheran Church. They are preparing for the upcoming hand bell festival. 
 (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Ann Lunceford, 84, left, and Jordan Hardy, 15, rehearse with their hand bell choir, The Tintinnabulators, at Trinity Lutheran Church. They are preparing for the upcoming hand bell festival. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The ninth annual Spring Ring on April 17 at Christ the King Lutheran Church will feature 10 handbell choirs in a performance to raise money for victims of the south Asia tsunami.

The collection of free-will offerings will benefit the victims by way of Northwest Medical Team, a Christian, nonprofit, nonpolitical humanitarian organization based in Portland.

The handbell choirs hail from across the region, including groups from Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, Cheney, Sandpoint, Wallace and Moscow. Their performances are not a competition, said Spring Ring organizer Jane Orto.

Orto got her inspiration for the Spring Ring by attending some mass handbell choir performances in the late 1980s. Spring Ring is open to any community or church handbell choir in the region. Diane Thornton, the bell choir director at Coeur d’Alene Bible Church, first had the idea to channel the event proceeds to the tsunami victims.

A lifelong musician, Orto taught music for 12 years. She was a flute and voice major and she holds a master’s degree from the University of Idaho. She performs with the Tintinnabulators from Trinity Lutheran Church. The Spring Ring will include three selections that are performed by the combined 10 choirs; each bell choir is also invited to do a solo.

Guest conductor for the event is Phyllis Tincher of Nampa, Idaho. Tincher is a candidate for the National President of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. She will perform a solo concert at Trinity Lutheran Church next Saturday at 7 p.m.

Attending a handbell concert is a visual as well as an auditory experience. Orto said performers use many different ringing techniques; her group wears black pants or skirts and white shirts and vests so as not to detract from the beauty of the bells.

The handbells are of unfinished bronze, so the musicians must wear gloves to protect the metal.

“No metal to metal, and no flesh to metal,” Orto said.

Thornton’s group, Ring of Praise, has only been together for two years. They perform at Coeur d’Alene Bible Church and at nursing homes around town.

Other choirs include the College Bell Choir from Whitworth College, the West Plains Handbell Choir from Cheney, two from Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Moscow, the First Presbyterian Handbell choir from Sandpoint and the UCC Congregationalists from Wallace.

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