This article written by Sharryl S. Pond, Founder & Artistic Director
The Chime Loan Program was exactly what was needed to enhance the teaching of boys in our choirs of the Woodlands Boys Choir and also enhance worship in the church where I serve (which also sponsors the boys’ choirs). We are so appreciative of the opportunity the loan program afforded us this past year. Thank you especially to you and to those who facilitated transporting them.
We use the chimes regularly with our TrebleMakers, a new preparatory choir for the Tour Choir for boys ages 6 – 8; we had nine members this first year. They learned beginning musicianship skills from solfege hand signs and from reading from the staff in their weekly rehearsals, in which we emphasized having fun with music. The chimes were a great asset for them, and they loved playing them.
The Tour Choir of the Woodlands Boys Choir is a select group of fifteen boys. We just returned from touring DC and participating in the Baltimore Boychoir Festival. We performed David Ashley White’s Spirit Moving Over Chaos, which utilizes the chimes in an improvisatory way, creating an atmosphere with organ improvisation. They processed with this piece while ringing the chimes. They also performed it with the chimes on Pentecost at Church of the Resurrection in Baltimore. Gorgeous!
We used the chimes regularly in worship at my church, HopePointe Anglican in The Woodlands, both with the children’s choir (seven children) and the adult choir (eighteen members). They added so much to worship. We used them in anthems and hymns. They are a great recruiting tool for kids!
All total, there were probably fifty-or-so kids and adults who played the chimes – nearly everyone in our choirs! The chimes were used in worship and in our WBC Spring Concert. All groups rehearse once a week.
These chimes gave us the inspiration we needed to get a taste of what is possible for both the church and the boys’ choirs on an ongoing basis, enhancing education and worship. It was great to have chimes that were durable and didn’t require us to have the players wear gloves and get out all of the necessary accouterment for handbells.
We have now purchased a 4-octave set of Schulmerich handbells from a church in Houston which is closing its doors. We were able to obtain the tables, pads, tablecloths, parts, tools, and music! This loaner program provided the catalyst for this to happen. We are hoping to start a bona fide bell choir this fall; we have a potential director with bell choir experience! I will miss not having the chimes as well, as they are so good for kids.
We look forward to enjoying our bells for years to come. Thank you so much for all you did to make this possible. If there is anything we can do to help you as well, we would be delighted.