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The Limestone Ringers
(Listen to most recent anthems below)
“The Limestone Ringers” is directed under the fine leadership of Janet MacDonald. We are fortunate to have Laurence Rowbotham and Ruth Pettis who are willing and capable leaders to step in when Janet is away.
In addition to playing approximately once a month in our Sunday church services, we are often asked to play at other locations. Over the years The Limestone Ringers have been invited to play at Nursing Homes and at City Hall; we have played concerts with the Sweet Adelines at Cooke’s Portsmouth United in Kingston. We have also given concerts in surrounding villages like Madoc and Portland. We’ve done choir exchanges with St. Lambert United in St. Lambert, Quebec.
In December 2015, we played at the Isabelle Bader Centre for the Performing Arts as guests of the Kingston Symphony, and a trio of ringers from The Limestone Ringers accompanied the Children’s Choir at Mulberry School during their annual Christmas Concert.
Every two years the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers (OGEHR) hosts a provincial festival. The Limestone Ringers has participated in this festival every year since its inception, in 1985.
The Limestone Ringers look forward to being able to continue providing our unique musical contribution to the church.
The first handbell choir at Edith Rankin Memorial United Church was organized in the Spring of 1985. At that time, our church was very fortunate to receive a three octave set of Schulmerich Handbells as a memorial gift. The bells were dedicated in loving memory of Marilyn Gummo by her husband John and his family.
The choir began with eleven ringers, members of the congregation who had some musical background and an eagerness to learn how to ring bells. Jane MacKay was the director of this intrepid new group. Jane was the only one of them who had ever rung bells before but they were willing to try anything! Their first practices were most interesting but it wasn’t long before the new choir was ready to perform. Their first presentation was for the anniversary service at Edith Rankin on June 23, 1985. It was an exciting experience for the ringers and the congregation alike. The bells were dedicated at that time.
After that, the interest in the handbell choir grew, as did their level of proficiency! Another octave and a half of bells was added to our set, a gift from Dick and Edna Leadbeater and dedicated in the memory of Dick’s brothers, Ernest and Cyril.
Marion Delve rounded out our set at five octaves, by adding the biggest bells, in memory of her husband, Rev. Dr. Sam Delve.
Bill and Ruth Allum then donated a three octave set of hand chimes in memory of their son Tim. Ruth was a member of the first handbell choir.
The bells have and continue to be used by other groups including the Eventones, An Appealing Sound, and beginner choirs consisting of youth and beginning adults.
When Jane MacKay moved to St. Lambert’s with Ian in 1993, Debbie Lloyd became the director. She fulfilled this role in an exemplary fashion until her untimely death in 2015. Her service of remembrance was conducted on 9 May 2015 in the church. Music played a large role in the service, as in her life, and so her beloved Limestone Ringers played two pieces in this service. Also participating was the Sweet Adelines with whom she sang many years.
Ruth Pettis organized a Junior Handbell Choir called the Semi -Tones in 1985 and directed them until 1992. Marlene McCracken took over and directed this choir until 1997 at which point Barb Shaw took over for a year. After that there was no children’s group until Charlotte Jones started the Klapper Kids that she directed from 2005 to 2013.
In 2010 we celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a reunion on Saturday, September 2th when thirty-six ringers joined together to enjoy each other’s company and to prepare pieces to play at the Sunday morning service on the 26th.
In January of 2016 we had a Bell Tree Workshop given by Terry Head. The Bell Tree was bought with money given in memorial of Debbie Lloyd. The bell tree can be used to perform pieces for one to three ringers.
In April of 2016 we hosted a beginners’ workshop for 14 people interested in learning about bells.
Upcoming Events and the Future of the Bells
We hope to continue being a vital part of the music ministry at ERMUC. Plans to host a six-week beginners’ choir in October and November are underway. If you are interested in joining the Limestone Ringers or being part of this beginner choir, please contact Janet McDonald at email@example.com
Listen to these:
2017-05-07 “Praise to the Lord” Limestone Ringers & Chancel Choir Link To Video
2017-05-07 “For the Beauty of the Earth” (Raney/Sherman 2007) Limestone Ringers Link to Video
2017-04-16 Easter Sunday: Triumphant Spirit (N. Hanson)
2017-04-09 Palm Sunday: Lift High the Cross (C. Dobrinsky)
2017-02-05 This Little Light of Mine (Harry Dixon Loes, Arr by Barbara Brocker) Bell tree duet piano accompaniment Link to video
2017-01-15 O Worship The King (Lyons, Johann M.Haydn) Bell Trio Link to video
2016-12-24 Silent Night Handbell Quartet Link to video
2016-12-24 Carol of the Huron (W. Hatch) Limestone Ringers
2016-12-18 O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Susan Geschke) Limestone Ringers Link to Video
2016-12-04 We Three Kings of Orient Are (J Henry Hopkins, Jr., Linda R. Lamb) Hand Bell Trio: Charmaine Bullett, Kathy Baer, Ruth Pettis Link to Video
2016-11-20 The Disciple’s Prayer (M. Glasgow) w Anne Palmer on flute
2016-08-07 Nearer My God To Thee (L. Mason, arr. K. Braswell) played on Bell Tree by
Kathy Baer, Kathi Jackson and Ruth Pettis