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Headwaters Handbell Choir Performs with Heart and Soul

On Wednesday, June 5th, the Headwaters Handbell Choir performed “Christmas in June” at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Bemidji. The concert kicked off the 2024 Summer Recital Series presented by the Bemidji Area Church Musicians. While this performance took place in a church, the Handbell Choir is unique in that it is not affiliated with a specific church, rather they function as an independent music group with their home at Headwaters Music & Arts.

Directors Carol Johnson and Vicki Stenerson have been ringing handbells together since the late 1980’s. They have a clear passion and dedication to this art form, which carries through to the entire group of fourteen bell ringers. They form a close-knit community of musicians who gather to practice and perform ‘for the love of the bells.’ Their June concert certainly spread that joy to the audience.

The set list for this year’s “Christmas in June” performance contained some classic favorites, like “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” and “Deck the Halls.” But the concert provided a few surprises, like a vocal piece sung gorgeously by bell ringers Jennifer Johnson and Steven Mayer,  accompanied on piano by Carol Johnson, as well as an arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that was beautifully captivating. Their entire performance showed the Headwaters Handbell Choir to be a multi-generational group of multi-talented musicians, with a wide repertoire and big heart.

The group is now on summer hiatus, but their schedule of weekly Thursday evening practices will resume in the fall. New members are welcome to join – no bell experience is necessary. Current ringers will teach and coach new ringers as they develop their skills. For more information about the handbell choir visit our website or call 218-444-5606 x4.

In the meantime, a video of the Handbell Choir performing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on June 5th is viewable on the Headwaters Music & Arts YouTube channel.

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