The First Congregational Church Hand Bell Choir rings two octaves of Malmark bells. They practice once a week on Sunday mornings at 9:00 A.M., and are pleased to provide support to the worship service. The Hand Bell Choir usually performs on the third Sunday of each month. So, if you happen to be visiting South Haven, please stop in to enjoy the beautiful music! Additional members are always welcome.
A handbell choir or handbell ensemble is a group that rings recognizable music with melodies and harmony, as opposed to the mathematical permutations used in change ringing. The bells used generally include all notes of the chromatic scale within the range of the bell set. While a smaller group uses only 25 bells (two octaves), the sets are often larger, ranging up to a seven-and-a-half-octave set. The bells are typically arranged chromatically on foam-covered tables; these tables protect the bronze surface of the bell, as well as keep the bells from rolling when placed on their sides. Unlike an orchestra or choir in which each musician is responsible for one line of the texture, a bell ensemble acts as one instrument, with each musician responsible for particular notes, sounding his or her assigned bells whenever that note appears in the music.
In the United States, handbell choirs have become more popular over the last thirty years. They are often associated with churches, although the past decade has seen a dramatic rise in the number of community groups. Most community groups use larger sets of handbells than an average church handbell choir, twelve to fifteen members being a common size for a four- or five-octave choir. Many schools also include handbells in their music programs, some starting students on chimes in lower grades. Music theory, notation reading, and the cooperative effort required are a just few of the aspects that fulfill "SOL" requirements. Special populations also adopt handbell ringing for enjoyment, using a wide variety of musical and notation styles, leader directions and physical adaptations.
Full details on handbells can be found here: Handbell Wikipedia Article