By Audrey Anderson
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Directed by their newly installed director, Daniel K. Moore, the Westwood Ringers’ “Ring in Spring” concert on Saturday, May 13, 2023, was an absolute joy!
Westwood has been fortunate to have had an excellent bell choir in town for 59 years. The Westwood Ringers were organized in 1964 by Marilyn Downes, with 25 Schulmerich handbells donated by Edward Girling, the owner of Skyway Cleaners on High Street.
The current group of ten focused, talented musicians presented a delightful and varied program of hymns and modern compositions. One of the current members started in 1967, several others had been with the group for a long time, and the newest member has been with the group for two years.
Each ringer was responsible for three to five tones of the chromatic scale. The bells were struck with a mallet, knocked on the table, rung, or shaken to create the variety of sounds required for each composition. Hand chimes were used as well. In contrast to a pianist having all the notes of the scale available to them, each ringer had to work with a limited number of tones to create a whole composition together.
One piece required the use of an “ocean drum,” which was demonstrated for the audience by Director Moore. When moved, the drum created the comforting sound of ocean waves, adding a distinct layer of sound to a modern piece.
At the end of the concert, Director Moore invited the audience to approach the ringers’ table to ask questions or try some of the bells. A young boy was pleased to try the bells and did very well with them.
The Westwood Ringers are always looking for new members. They perform at the First Baptist Church of Westwood on the first Sunday of each month during the 10:00 am service and at several concerts during the year. Go to https://www.fbcwestwood.org/westwood-ringers to hear recordings of their glorious sound and to learn about the group.