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Handbell choir sparks student interest

| Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Like their music, the members of the Notre Dame Handbell Choir are a study in balance.

The choir is a mix of members with prior experience playing handbells and others who had never played before coming to Notre Dame.

Senior and president of the Handbell Choir Delaney Pfister said some members have 10 years or more of experience, like herself, while other members have never even seen a handbell before.

“All anyone needs is a willingness to learn,” she said.

The Notre Dame Handbell Choir is holding auditions in room 328 of the Coleman-Morse Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight. Pfister said there will be another audition night on Thursday, September 4th.

Karen Schneider-Kirner directs the Notre Dame Handbell Choir as well as other music ministries. The choir is comprised of Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students who come from different academic and musical backgrounds, Pfister said. The handbell choir is primarily a liturgical choir and operates under Campus Ministry.

The Notre Dame Handbell Choir performs about once every three weeks, said Pfister. During the 11:45 a.m. Sunday mass, the choir performs solo pieces as well as supplements to the mass parts. They also perform during vespers at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and at various locations in December for the holiday season.

The Handbell Choir goes on domestic and international tours where they perform at various parishes to help raise money for the parishes’ underfunded music programs. In the last three years, they have been to Canada and Washington, D.C.

Pfister said the choir currently has 15 members and is looking to add more. At the audition, musicians interested in joining jump right in and begin working on pieces while randomly dispersing throughout the choir. She said it is important to be able to read music proficiently, and it is even better if the auditionees are familiar with both the treble and bass clefs.

“I have been a member of the handbell choir since I came to Notre Dame, so three years now,” Pfister said. “Being in the handbell choir has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. We all have so much fun in rehearsals learning the music.”

The Handbell Choir will be present at Activities Night, and Pfister encourages everyone to speak with them at the fair.

“My advice would be to give us a try if you are interested,” she said. “It can be difficult to determine which activities you want to be a part of on campus, so find things you are actually passionate about.”

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About Wei Lin

Wei Lin currently serves as an Assistant Managing Editor for The Observer. He served as the Photo Editor on the 2014-2015 Editorial Board. He is a senior Accountancy, Economics, and Chinese triple major living in Knott Hall. He hails from the borough of Queens in New York City.

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