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, cello, and harp. There are many arrangements written for handbells and virtually any instrument, including a full orchestra—the possibilities are countless! 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. PBR also owns a second three octave set of Malmark handbells which are exclusively used for our Ensemble Group. Donated by the Rawson family, PBR owns and maintains 15 White Chapel handbells forged at the White Chapel Bell Foundry, in the United Kingdom.
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.”