By Ashley Lee
To celebrate the holiday season the First United Methodist Church will be host the 14th annual Eastern New Mexico Fall Handbell Festival at 3 p.m. Saturday in the church sanctuary. Selections to be played will come from holiday, folk, sacred and classical music.
There will be about 96 ringers from 10 different churches, guest directed by Tammy Waldrop from Houston.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to hear many handbell ringers at the same time,” said one of the event’s organizer Bill Wood. “Usually we hear a group of 10 to 12 ringers but in this concert we will hear 100 ringers play all at the same time.”
The churches include Kingswood and First United Methodist Churches of Clovis, First United Methodist churches from Portales and Leveland, Texas, and Jackson Avenue Baptist Church of Lovington. Other participating groups are from First Baptist Church of Eunice, First Baptist Church of Las Cruces, Center Street United Methodist Church from Tucumcari, , First Christian Church of Ruidoso, and St. Luke United Methodist Church from El Paso.
Waldrop is a native of Hobbs and well known for handbell and church music. She received her bachelors and masters degrees in music theory and composition from Baylor University. She has been writing and arranging handbells since 1980.
Brian Uerling Director of Choirs at Clovis High School and director of music at Kingswood United Methodist Church will accompany the choir for two numbers and also play an organ solo during the concert.
Both handbell Choirs from First United Methodist Church, the Agape Ringers directed by Jan Smartnick and Las Campanas directed by Wood will perform solos.
Admission is free, an offering will be taken to defray expenses.