Camden's Palermo on tour

Westminster bell choir plays Midcoast

May 13, 2014
The Westminster Concert Bell Choir, conducted by Kathleen Ebling Shaw, includes Camden Hills grad Sarah Palermo, on the left in the front row.

Camden — The Westminster Concert Bell Choir, conducted by Kathleen Ebling Shaw and hailing from Princeton, N.J.’s Westminster Choir College of Rider University, will present a concert titled Tintinnabulation Sunday, May 25, at 4 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 55 Elm St./Route 1.

The performance is presented in conjunction with the Friends of Music Concert Series, an outreach program of the church. The program takes its title from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Bells,” which describes the sounds of four different kinds of bells and the times and places where they might be heard. The ensemble’s 2014 New England tour repertoire features both original compositions and arrangements of familiar works that highlight the range and versatility of handbells and choir chimes. Included are Ward’s “America the Beautiful”; excerpts from Bach’s “Unto Us a Child is Born,” BVW 142; Moklebust’s “Festival Sanctus”; Sherman’s “Flourishes”; Stitt’s “Glory On their Wings”; excerpts from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46’ and more.

Shaw is a member of the Sacred Music Department at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, where she teaches classes in handbell training and conducts a second handbell choir. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, she also is director of music at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Doylestown, Pa. Well-known as a handbell clinician, Shaw has conducted sessions for the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers both on the local and national levels.

The 16-member Westminster Concert Bell Choir is composed of undergraduate and graduate students of Westminster Choir College and Rider University — including Sarah Palermo, a 2011 graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School and a rising senior at Westminster majoring in music theory and composition. Palermo’s original composition for handbells, “Infinity’s Reflection,” will be performed on this concert tour.

This year celebrates the 36th year of the handbell curriculum at Westminster Choir College, first institution in the world to develop such a program. Hailed for its virtuosity, the Westminster Concert Bell Choir uses the largest range of handbells in the world — eight octaves, from C1 to C9. The Westminster Concert Bell Choir has appeared on Public Television’s “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and several holiday broadcasts of the “Today” show, including one in which the ensemble was joined by NBC television personalities Katie Couric and Willard Scott. Its holiday performances have been heard annually on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and it is included on NPR’s “Christmas Around The Country II” recording.

A suggested donation of $10, $5 for students and senior citizens, will be collected at the door. For more information, visit camdenucc.org or call 236-4821.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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