Handbells & Handchimes

SJYM Handbells banner BFor more than 40 years, the handbell and chime choirs of St. John’s have been ringing for services and special events. Under the direction of Carolyn Martin, players of all ages have the opportunity to learn to read music and play a unique instrument, to gain confidence being a part of a music ensemble, and to have a little fun as a group along the way.

Our Handbells

The initial three octaves of English Handbells made by Schulmerich were donated in memory of Shirley Ingram by her family. We completed five octaves through donations and fund raising. We have also been able to purchase three duplicate octaves and four and a half octaves of Malmark handchimes.

Our Handbell Choirs

Musicfest 2017 all on stageSt. John’s has three handbell choirs:

  • Rockin’ Ringers – For grades 7 to 10. We meet Monday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. to have fun learning to ring handbells and handchimes. Click here to see a one-minute video of our chimers!
  • Brass Ringers – For teens and adults who have some music background. We welcome new members; we meet Sundays 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m, right after The Open Door.
  • Ingram Ringers – For adults. We get together Mondays from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m.

Our choirs start each year the week after Labour Day and run until the beginning of June. Highlights in the schedule are December’s Christmas services and the two occasions when we perform with all the musicians at St. John’s: our Christmas Sing ’n’ Ring and the annual MusicFest in May.

Our Program …

  • Provides music for worship and community service;
  • Provides fellowship and support for both youth and adults;
  • Teaches skill on a unique instrument;
  • Teaches young people and adults how to read music;
  • Encourages and fosters a good life experience and builds self-confidence;
  • Encourages service to others and develops social skills in a caring and supportive environment.

Ringers take part in festivals organized by the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers. St. John’s Ringers have also travelled to Michigan, Indiana, Maine, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming and New York States for festivals sponsored by the Handbell Musicians of America.

We are a member of The Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers.

Our Performances

Under the direction of Carolyn Martin, the three St. John’s Handbell choirs and the chime choir keep a busy schedule of performing in the community as well as for church services. They have also been seen and heard on City TV, Global, TV Ontario and CBC. Our teenage ringers were chosen to make a TV Commercial for Swiss Chalet’s Festive Season Special. It aired nationally for six weeks over three holiday seasons.

Making our CD Ring in Christmas and playing at some exciting and challenging venues keeps us on our toes and always learning new music. The dedication of all the volunteer ringers is heart-warming and deeply appreciated.

Would You Like To Learn How To Ring English Handbells?

Handbells laying on tableWe welcome people who wish to give ringing a try; you do not have to be a parishioner to take part in the Handbell Program. Knowing how to read music is an asset and will allow you to progress faster. The technique can be picked up fairly quickly but takes time and practice to become a relaxed and confident ensemble ringer.

If you would like to come and give it a try, call or e-mail the director Carolyn Martin at 905-881-1140 to arrange a time.

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