Ebenezer Brass Handbell Choir

Handbell Choir 2023
Front row (L to R): Ruth Aebischer, Stephanie Shepherd, Jill Sippel

Back row (L to R): Megan Lau, Tom Birschbach, Claudia Brown, Caitlynn Paulson, & Karen Cmejla

The initial three octaves of handbells were purchased in 1991 with a $5,000 memorial. With the strong support of Rev. Gerry Bertsch and the outstanding, creative leadership and direction of Jeris Waldvogel, the handbell program took root and grew. By 1993, Ebenezer had three choirs for different abilities of ringers. A fourth octave of bells and three plus octaves of handchimes were added with memorial funds and continued contributions.

The handbell choir meets on Wednesday evenings at 6:15 p.m. (Start Date TBD). Participants do not need a music background, only a dedication and desire to cooperatively provide a music ministry. New ringers are always welcome! At present, there are twelve ringers. With the eleven ringers, they can use the fourth octave bass bells and chimes.

The handbell choir provides special worship music the 2nd Sunday of the month at EUCC and for special occasions. The choir has also traveled outside the U.S. on three concert tours. They enjoy playing at other churches and community events as well.

In memory of Jeris Waldvogel, the founder and director of the Bell Choir, the bell choir commissioned a piece of music in her memory–“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” This was one of Jeris’ favorite hymns. On special occasions, we rededicate this song to her.

When Jeris was directing the bell choir, she gave the bell choir members the following poem which expresses the group’s philosophy.

Life is like a bell
If we play a bell all by itself,
We might just as well leave it on the shelf.
But if with others we let it ring,
A song is played for others to sing.
Life is quite often like that bell on the shelf,
For if one lives and thinks only of himself,
He is only sad and discontent.
But if he thinks of others, happy times can be spent.
(Taken from Overtones magazine)

If you would like to know more about the bells or if you would like to learn to play bells and become a part of Ebenezer Brass, feel free to contact Jill Sippel at 920-418-1534 or jksippel1534@gmail.com