Penobscot Bay Ringers

Bringing Handbell Music to MidCoast Maine

Penobscot Bay Ringers is Midcoast Maine’s community handbell choir. Founded in June 2008, Penobscot Bay Ringers is a group of individuals interested in sharing our love of handbells, handchimes, and musical performance. We provide handbell training and education to our ringers and to anyone in the community also interested in these instruments.
Striving to adhere to the principles of the Handbell Musicians of America, we hope to be an instrument of peace, promoting harmony in Midcoast Maine and beyond.

Our History

Handbell horizontal photo.jpg


  • June - Penobscot Bay Ringers is founded as Midcoast Maine’s first community handbell choir by Ella Saltonstall and Leigh Smith.
  • December - The group has its first public performances at Ringing in the Season and Maine Pro Musica Holiday Pops concerts, both in Camden, Maine.


  • June - 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 - PBR is invited to perform at the Boston Handbell Festival at Old South Church. PBR invited back to Boston in May 2017.

BHF 2017 group.jpg


  • April - 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 - PBR is invited to perform at the Maine State Prison Chapel in Warren, Maine (the first known handbell concert inside Maine State Prison walls)


  • May - The group's first 'Friends of Penobscot Bay Ringers Annual Appeal' is launched to raise funds for handbell refurbishment
  • December - PBR commissions Sarah Palermo to compose a new handbell piece, Ringing in the Season, in honor of group co-founder, Leigh Smith


Rawson Family

Rawson Family

  • August - PBR accepts a donation of 15 Whitechapel Handbells from the Rawson family of Brunswick, Maine


  • December - PBR performs Christmas Bells, a holiday concert commissioned by the Maine Historical Society to honor the potery of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


  • March - PBR purchases a three octave set of Malmark Handbells for Ensemble and Solo use - this purchase was made possible by a grant from the Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation
  • April - In honor of their 10 Year Anniversary, PBR purchases a three octave set of Malmark Choirchimes to begin the Chime Loan Program. Though an application process, this program is designed to bring music to children by loaning a set of chimes to an area elementary or middle school for a two year term. PBR hopes to invite the winning school to join us for our Ringing in the Season concert in December