The Big Horn Basin of Northwest Wyoming is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Only an hour or so from the East entrance to Yellowstone, you can imagine that the scenery is often breathtaking. But in addition to the mountains and wildlife, there are some pretty amazing musicians that are often overlooked. The faithful church handbell choir!
Handbell choirs have a long history in the 19th century; coming to America from Europe, they quickly found their home in many churches across a multitude of denominations. Here in the unassuming Big Horn Basin, we are gathering six choirs to play for the community and to get these musicians together for a day of music and camaraderie.
The United Methodist Church of Powell is hosting this event with its beginning bell choir (Ju-Bell-ation) that began only 2 years ago. They will be joined by the Powell Union Presbyterian Church's (PCUSA) Chesarek Handbell Choir, Cody United Methodist's Chancel Bells, Worland United Methodist's Joyful Ringers Bell Choir, Cody Christ Episcopal Church's Bell Choir and Thermopolis Federated Community Church's (UMC and PCUSA) Bell's Angels Choir.
At times living in the Basin can feel very isolated from connectional opportunities, both at the conference level and even within Wyoming due to the geographical make up and vast expanse of this state; gathering these bell choirs together allows musicians from many backgrounds and musical abilities come together not only around music but also simply as fellow Christians in Wyoming. Each choir brings something truly unique and special to this event as they come with prepared pieces to share in the concert, but they also are working one show stopping combined choir rendition of "Lead On, O King Eternal" (Processional on Lancashire arranged by Lloyd Larson)!
All six choirs will be presenting a community concert at 3pm on Saturday, October 28, 2023 in the sanctuary of First UMC Powell, featuring each choir with their choice of musical offering culminating with a combined ring piece. The finale is comprised of a double bell choir arrangement (with all six choirs playing) and organ accompaniment by local organist, Judy Showalter. This will be something to behold as Presbyterian Church USA, Episcopalians and United Methodists all join in playing soli Deo gloria (for God alone)!
If you are in the Basin or surrounding areas and would like to come to this free concert, please join us Saturday, Oct 28 at 3:00pm at FUMC which is located at 137 W. Second Street in Powell, Wyoming!