Sharing the sounds of bells Print
Written by Kate Ripple, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Apr. 26, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

The Edgewood High School Hand Bell Choirs directed by Ann Nelson perform for residents of All Saints Retirement Center in Madison on April 18. (Catholic Herald photo/Pam Payne)

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MADISON -- The Edgewood High School (EHS) Hand Bell Choirs performed for residents of All Saints Retirement Center on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 18.

The EHS Hand Bell Choir was begun 28 years ago. Current director and long-time EHS piano teacher Ann Nelson has led the choirs — one for beginning and one for continuing students — for over 25 of those years.

Nelson and her husband, Vance, also direct hand bell choirs at two area churches. Their involvement in hand bell ringing began when their son Michael once joined them in the audience at a hand bell concert and was fascinated by the sound. When Michael died at age seven, the Nelsons dedicated a memorial in his name for hand bells at their church.

In addition to concerts at EHS, the student choirs also play about five outside concerts a year. The choirs perform annually at the UW Hospital “Love Lights” Ceremony, which recognizes all those who have died at the hospital in the past year. Attendees appreciate the sweet, meditative sound of the bells, which seems to comfort all involved.

The EHS hand bells have also performed around the United States and Canada in such places as Toronto, Niagara, and New York City, which they visited right after 9/11. During that trip the choirs played at, among other venues, the Empire State Building.


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