Penobscot Bay Ringers is a five-octave handbell choir. In the spirit of diversity, growth and challenge for our ringers, we also encourage solo ringing and ringing in smaller ensembles.
Our group loves to collaborate with vocalists and instrumentalists. We have collaborated with the Down East Singers, several vocalists, and musicians playing piano, flute, hammered dulcimer, and harp. There are many arrangements written for handbells and virtually any instrument, including a full orchestra—the possibilities are virtually endless! If you would like to discuss musical collaboration with Penobscot Bay Ringers, please contact us.
Penobscot Bay Ringers owns and performs on five octaves of handbells and Choirchime® instruments made by Malmark, Inc. Bellcraftsmen of Plumsteadville, Pennsylvania.
Our largest bell is a bronze C3, which measures 11" in diameter and weighs 8.5 pounds. Our smallest bell is a C8, also cast in bronze, weighing just under half a pound. All of our handbells are made of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. The ratio of copper (around 80%) to tin (around 20%) has to be the perfect balance to allow flexibility and resonance without being too brittle. Polished inside and out, these bells have adjustable clappers, black and white polymer handles that match the color of modern piano keys, and polymer spring dampers. Our bells have polymer and sometimes felt on their clappers.
Choirchimes® are made of a lightweight aluminum alloy. Developed in 1982, the Malmark Choirchime® was the first American-made, hand-held chime instrument. Choirchimes® have been described, by an acoustical expert, as "the purest sound of any known musical instrument.”
Several of our ringers have decades of handbell experience, while some have only just discovered the satisfaction that comes from ringing handbells. Our common denominator is the love of making music together and the desire to share the art of ringing with others.
Currently, our ringers hail from ten different towns in the Midcoast area, some traveling over a half hour to attend our weekly rehearsals. Penobscot Bay Ringers is a dedicated team of musicians!
Contact us if you are interested in ringing with our group. We are always in need to substitute ringers, as well.
June 2008 - Penobscot Bay Ringers is founded as Midcoast Maine’s first community handbell choir by Ella Saltonstall and Leigh Smith.
December 2008 - The group has its first public performances at Ringing in the Season and Maine Pro Musica Holiday Pops concerts, both in Camden, Maine.
June 2009 - The group is awarded the Elizabeth A. Bradford Scholarship from the Handbell Musicians of America Area One Conference, held at the University of Maine at Orono.
May 2010 - PBR is invited to perform at the Boston Handbell Festival at Old South Church.
April 2011 - PBR completes its Give-A-Bell Campaign to purchase five octaves of Malmark handbells and Choirchimes.® (The initial five-octaves of instruments which PBR played were purchased and owned by Ella Saltonstall. Upon Ella’s decision to relocate to Kodiak Alaska, PBR sought to replace the instruments and equipment through its Give-A-Bell Campaign. This goal was successfully reached in 100 days, raising over $30,000. PBR’s former loaned instruments are now used by our sister community handbell choir in Kodiak.)
May 2012 - PBR is invited to perform at the Maine State Prison Chapel in Warren, Maine (the first known handbell concert inside Maine State Prison walls)
Penobscot Bay Ringers is a member of the national organization, Handbell Musicians of America, which is comprised of twelve, multi-state areas. Our group is located in Area 1, which includes the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the Atlantic Provinces of Canada.
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