Bell Choir


St. Paul’s UCC Bell Choir Facts

  • The choir has had two directors in its 20 year history: Ruth Dodds (1992-1996) and Patricia Jaberg (fall 1996-present)
  • Every time we set up or perform outside of the church we have to move 500 pounds of instruments and equipment. This includes:
    • Six cases of bells (4 octaves of 49 bells form G3-G7) $15,000+, Largest bell, G3, weighs 4.2lbs, Smallest bell, G7,  weighs .45lbs
    • Two cases of choir chimes (3 octaves of 37 chimes from C4-C7) $1750
    • Six tables with pads, and coverings (made by Geri Herbing)
    • Ten risers (Fred Drews memorial, 2004) and carrying bag (Pat Schlegel)
    • Mallets, gloves, tools, wood blocks (John Entringer)
  • The bell choir initially used wooden boxes to set the music binders and store items in. They were made by a number of men in the church in 1992. they were used for 12 years before being replaced with acrylic risers.

Information on Our Instruments

Handbells are cast of pure bronze in the approximate proportions of 80% copper and 20% tin. The metal is heated in crucibles to 2,150 degrees F and then poured into sand molds. The cooled casting is then turned on both the inside and outside. Turning the bell on the inside is where the tuning takes place. Tuning a handbell requires knowledge, skill, and experience. The ability to guide the cutting tool to bring the partials of the bell into exact alignment and pitch is the mark of a true bell craftsman. After each cut, the lathe is stopped. The bell is struck, and the vibrations are read on a tuning scope, permitting reading the partials to an accuracy of 1/100th of a semitone. After polishing, the handles, hand guards, clappers, and yoke mechanisms are fitted.

Choir chimes are extruded aluminum tubes made from a combination of tin and aluminum alloys, based on the principals of the tuning fork with an external clapper mechanism attached.