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New England Ringers presents Pealing Bells, Wild and Sweet in celebration of its 11th December concert season.

The concert will be held at Rogers Center for the Arts at Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike Street, N. Andover, MA 01845 at 4:00pm on Sunday, November 27, 2011. Tickets: advance–$12 (over 65/under 13, $10); at the door–$15 (over 65/under 13, $12)

Fifteen highly-energetic handbell musicians come from four of the northeastern states. New England Ringers play on one of the largest sets of percussive instruments in the region-six octaves of handbells and seven octaves of chimes ring out the delightful music of the holidays as one instrument in the hands of these skilled instrumentalists. From traditional arrangements of familiar carols to full orchestral sounds of classical works, with a surprise here and there of more contemporary seasonal favorites, listeners will be held spellbound. Special effects such as the intricate sounds of mallets on suspended bells or grand symphonic moments of nearly all of the bells and chimes speaking at once shows the breadth and depth of this 40-foot instrument. “The beautiful sound of handbells playing some very innovative arrangements will cast a new perspective on the familiar songs of the season. Our audience will definitely be swept into the spirit,” comments director, Edward G. Henderson, Jr.

With its commitment to musical excellence, focus on eclectic programming to appeal to a variety of musical tastes, and a healthy dash of showmanship, NER has been entertaining audiences of all ages since its beginning. The artistry of the New England Ringers’ programming showcases the skill of an ensemble with great discipline.

Imagine standing in one of the great cathedral towers of Europe enveloped in the incredible grand cacophony of peal upon peal of the great bells ringing in the joy of Christmas. With this vision of sound, New England Ringers opens its 2011 holiday concert program. The program highlights this expansive instrument with stirring and stately arrangements of favorite seasonal hymns. Handchimes lend their shimmery timbre to many audience favorites including a medley of familiar carols and the beloved Nutcracker Suite with its rich orchestral moments. The journey of the three Wise Men is skillfully portrayed with a synthesizer adding an interesting new texture to the sound of bells and chimes. As always the program features powerful arrangements of such familiar tunes as Masters in This Hall with its uniquely jubilant lilt. In an arrangement of the hymn-tune Personent Hodie entitled, On This Day Earth Shall Ring, listeners will be engulfed in the driving rhythms and intense energy as the ringers catapult the evening to its grand finale. The repertoire is not without the gentle side of the holidays as well and includes a hauntingly exquisite rendition of “Silent Night.” And of course, the ringers display their charming sense of fun with the delightfully wintery, “Sleigh Ride.”

The ringers have celebrated ten concert seasons encompassing all of the northeastern states. Members, chosen by audition and invitation, are from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. They rehearse in Greenfield, Massachusetts for three and a half hours every other week. Most members drive over two hours each way.  They bring with them a wide array of musical experience, including piano, organ, voice, and percussion.

For complete listing of the concert series, please visit our website or email us.