Music filled the fellowship hall November 2 at the Eaton Rapids First United Methodist Church as more than 100 handbell ringers participated in a day-long festival. The Detroit Handbell Ensemble co-hosted the event that brought nine area church ensembles together for workshops and mass rehearsals.
“The Eaton Rapids Handbell Festival was a resounding success,” said DHE Artistic Director Brenda Austin. “Ringers engaged in rehearsals, classes and sharing of beautiful music. DHE members led classes in technique and participated in ringing. DHE also gave a mini concert during the festival that further encouraged and inspired the participants.”
Austin, also the director of music at the church, founded the annual festival in 2012. Music learned by the choirs at the 2019 festival included “Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine” arranged by Austin, “God of the Sparrow” and “When the Poor Ones” arranged by festival co-conductor Kyle Webber, “Joyful Praise” by Susan Geschke, and “Majestic Alleluia” by Joel Raney.
Festival participants came from Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Clinton, Farmington Hills, Middleville, Midland, Plymouth, Saline and Eaton Rapids.