The Presbyterian College Ringers
Performance include stops in Myrtle Beach, Charleston, among others
Six performances across the Carolinas highlights the first independent bell ringers tour in nearly a decade for the Presbyterian College Ringers.
Thirteen students will spend beach week without sand and surf, opting instead for melodies and tones of the hand bells, according to director and PC music professor Ron Davis.
The 2014 tour includes:
- First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach on Friday, May 2 at 7 p.m.;
- Outer Banks Presbyterian Church of Kill Devil Hills on Saturday, May 3 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, May 4 at 10 a.m.;
- Little Chapel on the Boardwalk in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., on Monday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m.;
- Summerville Baptist Church in Summerville on Tuesday, May 6 at 7 p.m.; and
- Northside Christian School in Charleston on Wednesday, May 7 at 12:45 p.m.
“The public is invited to attend the performances. We especially invite area high school and transfer students interested in Presbyterian College and encouraged them to come learn more about the PC music program and scholarships by attending any of the free concerts,” said Dr. Davis.
The Presbyterian College handbell program began in 1998 with a modest investment in a set of Malmark Choir Chimes. A starter set of Malmark handbells was purchased in 2000 and the collection now consists of five octaves of handbells and seven octaves of Choir
Chimes. The PC Ringers became an active touring and performing ensemble in the fall of 2004 when Dr. Davis became the director. Since that time, the group has represented Presbyterian College on campus, in local communities, throughout South Carolina and as far away as Tampa, Fla., Houston, Texas, Chicago, Ill. and Washington, D.C. The ensemble tours each spring with the PC Choir and is beginning a tradition of touring independently at the end of the spring term.
The Bell Ringers are composed of South Carolina residents: seniors Zach Wells of Landrum, a music major and Laura Irick of Orangeburg, a psychology major; juniors Cassidy Jarrett of Chapin, a music education major and Josh Harrington of Lexington, a music education major; sophomores Lindsey Gardner of Lexington; a music major and Luke Schneider of Travelers Rest, an international studies major.
Georgia residents participating are senior Laura Blanco of Roswell, a music/economics major; sophomore Matt McAdams of Atlanta, a business major; and freshmen Olivia Aldridge of Monticella, an English major; and Datie Rogers of Savannah.
Also participating in the group are senior Sarah Allbright of New Milford, Conn., a French major; sophomore Dustin Vaughn of Lawrence, Kan., and junior MaryBeth Schaffner, of Mooresville, N.C.
The group’s program ranges from the Processional on “Italian Hymn” arranged by Mary Kay Parrish and Ron Davis to “The Addams Family” arranged by Brian Childers.
“Since we are playing in churches, there are mostly sacred, church-oriented selections that we will perform,” said Dr. Davis, adding “There are original compositions for handbells, and we will add some fun things, too.”
In addition to the bells, audiences will enjoy a musical twist when the Ringers opt for boomwhackers, colored plastic tubes cut to different lengths in ““Plink, Plank, Plunk” by Leroy Anderson, who wrote “Sleigh Ride,” and other novelty pieces of the 1950s and 1960s, Davis said.
Soloist Sarah Albright and pianist Josh Harrington are featured on “Be Still My Soul,” arranged by Christine Anderson and Anna Laura Page.
Duo ringers Lindsey Gardner and Josh Harrington are featured in Kevin McChesney’s “Songs of Faith, I. Peace and IV. Glory.
In addition to the Ringers, Dr. Davis conducts Cantare!, PC’s choral ensemble for men. He also serves as organist for First Baptist Church of Greenwood, SC. He is the immediate past chair for South Carolina division of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, Handbell Musicians of America.
Membership in PC Ringers is by audition only, but several new members have joined the ensemble with no previous ringing experience. The group requires a full academic year commitment and rehearses only three hours each week. Membership is open to all PC students regardless of their chosen field of study.
Founded in 1880, Presbyterian College is a Carnegie One liberal arts college and is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The institution confers B.A. and B.S. degrees in 32 courses of study, including music, and nine pre-professional programs including pre-law, pre-med, pre-pharmacy and pre-theological. In May, the School of Pharmacy will graduate its first PharmD candidates.
Photo caption: Members of the Presbyterian College Ringers include, front row, from left, Josh Harrington of Lexington, S.C., Dustin Vaughn of Lawrence, Kan., Matt McAdam of Atlanta, Ga., and Zach Wells of Landrum, S.C.; second row, Sarah Albright of New Milford, Conn., Laura Irick of Orangeburg, S.C., MaryBeth Schaffner of Mooresville, N.C.; back row, Lindsey Gardner of Lexington, S.C., Datie Rogers of Savannah, Ga., and Cassidy Jarrett of Chapin, S.C.. Not pictured is Olivia Aldridge of Monticello, Ga., Laura Blanco of Roswell, Ga., and Luke Schneider of Travelers Rest, S.C.