Boston Handbell Festival 2023
May 16, 2023
Old South Church
645 Boylston St. Boston, MA
- Back Bay Ringers
- Old South Ringers
- Merrimack Valley Ringers
- New England Ringers
Guest director: Daniel K. Moore
Guest choir: Highland Chimes, Danvers, MA
The Boston Handbell Festival is the continuation of a musical tradition of handbell performance at Old South Church that stretches back almost a century, and it has always been supported by the goodwill and generous financial gifts of others. A free-will donation will be collected at the event, the proceeds of which will go toward making sure that this tradition continues well into the future. Your gift will support the arts and education, helping to keep a low-cost, high quality, live musical experience a vital part of our city’s culture.
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
- Concert Handbell Ringers of the Wheeler School
- Hancock Carillon
- Jubilate Bells of UCC Reading
- Penobscot Bay Ringers
- Bedminster Bells of Bedminster, NJ
- Shoreline Ringers
- Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble
- Perkins School for the Blind Handbell Ensemble
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. BBR donates a set of Malmark choirchimes to a local school at the event, thanks to a generous underwriter.
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
- 2007: Rafael Hernandez Bilingual Elementary School, Boston
- 2008: A. C. Whelan Elementary School, Revere
- 2009: Alexander Hamilton Elementary School, Brighton
- 2011: Thomas J. Kenny Elementary School, Dorchester
- 2012: East Somerville Community School, Somerville
- 2013: J. F. Condon Elementary School, Boston
- 2014: Wood End and Birch Meadow Schools, Reading
- 2015: JFK School and South School, Holbrook
- 2016: Watertown Middle School, Watertown and Donald McKay School, East Boston
- 2017: Willis E. Thorpe Elementary School, Danvers
- 2018: McAvinnue Elementary School, Lowell
- 2019: Oakdale Elementary School, Dedham
- 2020: Mather Elementary School, Dorchester
- 2021: Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School, East Boston
- 2022: Haley Pilot School, Roslindale
This event is endorsed by Handbell Musicians of America, dedicated to uniting people through the musical art of handbell and handchime ringing. www.handbellmusicians.org.