Penobscot Bay Ringers, Midcoast Maine’s first and only community handbell choir, will present its inaugural Bells by the Bay concert Saturday, Oct. 2 at 4 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Camden. 55 Elm St./Route 1.

The audience will be treated to a diverse musical repertoire ranging from familiar hymns to contemporary show tunes. The complete handbell choir will be joined by a solo bell ringer, a vocal accompanist and several instrumentalists for a concert that will run for approximately 90 minutes.

Penobscot Bay Ringers performs with five octaves of Malmark handbells and five octaves of Malmark Choirchimes, which means there are 122 different instruments at hand, each representing a pitch on the musical scale. Each choir member is responsible for ringing between four and eight bells and/or handchimes, depending on the complexity of the musical score. There are many sounds to be made with a handbell including ringing, plucking, shaking and striking the bell with a mallet or on a foam-padded table, just to name a few. At Bells by the Bay, the “singing bell” technique will be featured in the gospel piece “How Can I Keep From Singing?”

Since its founding in June 2008, Penobscot Bay Ringers has performed at a variety of venues: the 2008 Maine Pro Musica Holiday Pops concert at the Camden Opera House and again last December at the Strom Auditorium; the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers Area One Festival at University of Maine at Orono in June 2009; the Boston Handbell Festival at Old South Church in May 2010; and in collaboration with the Downeast Singers at Rockland Congregational Church on Memorial Day 2010, and again the following month at the Blue Hill Congregational Church.

The group also has performed at private functions and weddings. Bells by the Bay will be the group’s first full-length handbell concert.

“We are truly thrilled to present our own concert this fall and we hope to gain many new handbell music fans in the process,” said Leigh Smith, co-founder of Penobscot Bay Ringers.

Penobscot Bay Ringers consists of 13 full-time ringers; several permanent substitute ringers; one artistic director; and a board of directors, all of whom participate on a volunteer basis. The group is always on the lookout for new ringers. The choir’s hope is that Bells by the Bay will become its annual fundraising event to cover operating expenses, thereby freeing up the rest of the year for charitable community outreach and education throughout the Midcoast area.

Bells by the Bay concert tickets are $10, $5 for students; families of up to six people may choose the $30 package price. Tickets may be purchased in advance at HAV II in Camden and Northern Kingdom Music in Rockport. Tickets will be available at the door on the afternoon of the concert. For more information, call Smith at 230-6628; send e-mail to; or visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to