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Angels, Bells and Kings, New England Ringers 2012 Holiday Handbell Concert

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Grace Lutheran Church hosts New England Ringers performing Angels, Bells and Kings.  
    Grace Lutheran Church of Stratford, CT, is excited to be hosting the New England Ringers and their spellbinding 2012 Holiday handbell concert, “Angels, Bells and Kings”, on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 4:30pm. Meet the performers at the reception following the concert. Tickets are $15., available in advance and at the door. Free parking, handicap accessible. Doors open at 4:00pm. To order tickets and for further information, call Grace Lutheran Church at 203 375-3151, email gracel@snet.net. or gracelutheranstratford.org/.
     Join New England’s premier community handbell ensemble in its 11th year of ringing some of the most exciting and challenging music in the repertoire. Thirteen highly energetic performers showcase their talents in a uniquely varied program playing with sensitivity, discipline and skill to achieve their signature artistry on a handbell instrument comprised of six octaves of Schulmerich handbells and seven octaves of Malmark handchimes and other instruments. 
     The 2012 holiday program is filled with a diversity of style--music rich in grand symphonic moments plus delightfully light and airy carols and tunes reminiscent of snowy winter days. Majestic, orchestral arrangements showcase the depth and breadth of this tremendous instrument. Use of other percussion instruments and synthesizer add an interesting layer of sound in some of these unique holiday offerings. The program opens with an exhilarating arrangement of three familiar tunes woven together in a tapestry including the “Ukranian Bell Carol,” “We Three Kings” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Listeners will be caught up in the drama of the magnificent “Savior of the Nations, Come” as the piece grows richer with more and more bells thickening the texture and intensity peaking with a grand cathedral-like moment. The audience will be spellbound at its close. Many familiar Christmas pieces are included in this prelude to the holidays. A pensive version of “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” a unique arrangement of the angel carols and a bluesy “Go Tell It On the Mountain” add to the variety of program offerings. Every bell is used in the powerful “God With Us for All Time” beginning with towering chords pealing the Westminster Chimes. And no holiday concert is complete without a little taste of the Nutcracker. These pieces inevitably elicit the listener comment, “I didn’t know bells could sound and perform like that!” 
     With its commitment to musical excellence, focus on eclectic programming to appeal to a variety of musical tastes, and a healthy dash of showmanship, New England Ringers has been entertaining audiences of all ages for eleven exciting years throughout New England, New York and Pennsylvania. The artistry of the New England Ringers’ programming showcases the skill of an ensemble with great discipline. 
     Grace Lutheran Church is very active in the community, with many charitable causes including the sponsorship of families through Sterling House and its food pantry, assisting other churches with serving dinners at St. John’s Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen in Bridgeport, providing clothing to the homeless, and working with Habitat for Humanity. We are also an active participant in the Stratford Clergy Association and the Greater Bridgeport Area Council of Churches.  
     Recently Grace has become a founding member of Neighbor to Neighbor, an ecumenical group providing care for our neighbors who need a little help now and then through screened volunteers who bring meals, provide rides, or assist with light maintenance. 
     For more information, directions and tickets, please call Grace Lutheran Church at 203 375-3151

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