The First Baptist Church of Westwood recently announced that Daniel K. Moore of Rumford, RI, has accepted the position of Director of the Westwood Ringers.
Those in the audience at the Ringers’ concert last spring will recognize Dan who directed the handbell choir for a couple of months while Peter de Reyna was on tour. When, at the last minute, one of the Ringers suddenly couldn’t take part in the performance, Dan not only directed the concert, but did so from behind a bell table while ringing bells himself. The bell choir is pleased and honored to have him return as their permanent director.
The Westwood Ringers handbell choir was formed in 1965, as a youth group by Marilyn Downes, who had been First Baptist’s music director since 1960. By 2010, at the celebration of Marilyn’s fiftieth anniversary as music director, the Ringers had long since become a talented adult group. They have grown from ringing two octaves of handbells in the 1960’s to five octaves of handbells and chimes today.
Over the years, Dan has directed a number of the Westwood Ringers at various handbell festivals, and he helped keep the group together while they looked for a new director after Marilyn’s death in 2015. He has recently retired after 37 years of teaching music and directing the Concert Handbell Ringers of the Wheeler School in Providence, RI.
As he starts working with the Westwood Ringers, Dan is looking forward to increasing the membership of the bell choir and hopes to start a youth group. He wants to help preserve Marilyn Downes’s legacy, and he is, after all, a teacher. The public can look forward to more information later this spring about the possibility of learning to ring handbells and perhaps joining the Ringers.
Shortly before Dan Moore started at the Wheeler School, he encountered his first handbell concert and was instantly captivated. When he arrived at Wheeler, he was thrilled to discover that they possessed a set of handbells, and immediately began learning all he could about the art of handbell ringing and directing. As time went on, his auditioned high school ensemble toured annually throughout the US, Canada, and Bermuda, appeared frequently on television, performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and in opening concerts at both national and regional handbell festivals.
He was a charter member of a nationwide committee to promote handbells in education, and subsequently served the Area 1 of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (AGEHR) and national AGEHR and Handbell Musicians of America (HMA) boards in many capacities. He continues to serve as a clinician, organizer, and conductor at handbell ringing events, and his comprehensive handbell textbook, Ringing RIGHT! From the Beginning, a resource for both ringers and directors, was published by HMA/AGEHR.
Dan has produced CD recordings for several of New England’s most notable community handbell ensembles including The Back Bay Ringers, The Shoreline Ringers, and the New England Ringers where he has recently been serving as artistic director. He is one of only four recipients of the prestigious Margaret H. Shurcliff Leadership Award presented by the HMA Board and membership for effective teaching, promoting healthy handbell ringing practices, organizing and promoting handbell events, and mentoring ringers and directors new to the art of handbell ringing.