Members of the Acadia Handbell Choir practice in the parish hall of the Somesville Union Meeting House. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Celebrate the season with the Acadia Handbell Choir

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Ring in the holiday season with a concert and sing-along by the Acadia Handbell Choir at the Southwest Harbor Public Library, Monday evening, Dec. 3, 6 p.m.

The choir will perform a mix of traditional carols and holiday tunes. A sing-along is planned at the end of the program. After the performance, anyone interested is invited to try the bells for themselves.

One ringers’ score, with her assigned notes highlighted. The group will perform Dec. 3 at the Southwest Harbor Library.

The Acadia Handbell Choir was formed in the 1970s. The choir performs at libraries, churches, retirement communities, nursing homes and other venues in the Mount Desert Island, Ellsworth and Blue Hill areas. They have performed at a number of weddings and at least one funeral.

The bells range from very small ones that make high, ringing sounds to large ones that boom out the deep, rich bass notes. A player rings a particular bell at the appointed time in the music and then mutes it against her chest so the sound doesn’t get muddy.

The bells are made of copper and tin, cast and pitched in a factory so that heat and cold will not affect the tone. The clappers only move up and down and have special springs to prevent the clapper from resting on the bell. Each bell is marked with the musical note on its handle. In addition to bells, the choir members use similar instruments called “hand chimes.”

Handbell choirs are carefully choreographed so that the entire group acts as a single instrument. The bells are quite expensive so few ringers own their own, making group practices very important.

Contact the library at 244-7065.

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