Boston Handbell Festival 2021

The Boston Handbell Festival is currently on hold until it is safe for the ringers and audience to gather.  However, Back Bay Ringers is proud to continue our tradition of donating a set of Malmark choirchimes to a local school this spring, thanks to a generous underwriter.

Back Bay Ringers is proud to announce that Gregg D. Bodell, at Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School, is the 2021 recipient of Malmark Choirchimes. 

Mr. Bodell has been teaching music at Boston Public Schools for 25 years, and currently teaches at Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School. Focusing on creating a family-like community for their 300 students, the PJK School brings innovation to the music classroom. Students attend music classes up to three times a week. The school also has performance groups for chorus, recorder, ukulele, and band. Mr. Bodell is excited to add choirchimes to the students’ musical experience.


Boston Handbell Festival Massed Ringing

Boston Handbell Festival Massed Ringing

On the third Tuesday of May, Old South Church plays host to the Boston Handbell Festival, an annual celebration of handbell musicianship co-sponsored by the Back Bay Ringers and Old South.

The Boston Handbell Festival brings together local community handbell ensembles–the Back Bay Ringers, Merrimack Valley Ringers, New England Ringers, and Old South Ringers–and an invited guest choir, for an evening of massed and solo ringing in Old South’s beautiful sanctuary. The concert is free and open to the public. Many audience members at the BHF are seeing handbells for the first time! They’ve been treated to an enormous variety of performances, including pieces that included choreography, singing, baseball hats, or pirate costumes, as well as a memorable massed piece involving five choirs and Old South’s stunning Skinner pipe organ.

Past Guest Choirs

2015 Choirchime Donation

Founded to honor the tradition of the Perkins Handbell Festival, originated by Adele Trytko of the Perkins School for the Blind, the festival also prioritizes BBR’s commitment to education, as 100% of BBR’s proceeds from the evening’s free-will donation goes to support our chime donation program.

The Boston Handbell Festival committee invites applications from Boston-area schools who wish to integrate chimes into their own music programs.

At a ceremony at the BHF, the selected school is presented with a two-octave set of Malmark Choirchimes and a packet of music appropriate for use with young musicians. The selected music teacher also receives a one-year mentorship with BBR Artistic Director Griff Gall, an elementary music specialist who successfully incorporates chimes into his music curriculum. We’re very proud to think of how many young musicians are being introduced to ringing instruments through the success of the BHF and the chime donation program!

Past Choirchime Recipients

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Mass Cultural Council, and administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.


Special thanks to the Massachusetts Cultural Council for their support of this program through their Festival grants.

This event is endorsed by Handbell Musicians of America, dedicated to uniting people through the musical art of handbell and handchime ringing.