Bell Festival Rings in the Season

Local News

The 22nd annual Handbell Festival "rang" in the holiday season on Sunday evening.

The free event filled the rows of Grace United Methodist Church in downtown Zanesville, as seven bell choirs performed individually and together.

"We have a following of people that come and want to be a part of this," said Director Jim McLaughlin. "Handbells is a unique instrument and has a very beautiful tone, so a lot of people really do enjoy that especially during the holidays."

McLaughlin said the handbell is a fairly new instrument, only being introduced to the world about 50 years ago.

"It was originally a practice instrument in Europe for the big churches that have bells in the tower, how do you practice in the winter or what ever, you practice on little bells," explained McLaughlin. "People in the United States started saying, that’s a lovely sound, that would be a happy instrument."

The musical gathering has become a seasonal tradition, performing each year the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

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