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Freeport bell ringers strike again, close to home

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Freeport bell ringers strike again, close to home

FREEPORT — The Pine Tree Academy Bell Ringers have traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Iceland, South America and Europe. Now local residents will have an opportunity to see them perform at the First Parish Congregational Church at 40 Main St. on Sunday, Dec. 13.

The group of 11 students play five octaves using 61 English handbells and 61 choir chimes. This group includes students in grades 7 through 12.

Doris Krueger, director of the Center of the Arts at Pine Tree Academy, said the bell ringers were established in 1976 and has grown in interest each year.

"The students involved range in age and ability, but they must have a background in music," she said. "It is really quite intricate."

The group meets once a week, and practices after school. She said the composition of the group is always changing as students graduate.

"The challenge for the student is to be a team player and an independent musician," Krueger said. "They work hard and work well with one another."

The group has played at the state Capitol and Blaine House, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and in the Capitol rotunda, Radio City Music Hall, on television and radio, in shopping malls, schools, churches, service clubs, prisons, nursing homes and hospitals.

Krueger said the group is hoping to travel to Mexico in the spring, and hopes to get to Europe next year. The way to raise funds, she said is to perform.

The concert in Freeport will feature traditional carols, Christmas music, and sacred, classical and original handbell music.

Christina White, executive director of the Freeport Historical Society, said the society will sponsor the concert, and share the proceeds with the Bell Ringers and the church.

"Handbell music invokes feelings associated with the winter holiday season," White said. "Having the concert in the downtown village area of Freeport will be a treat for those who attend."

After the concert the audience is invited to enjoy seasonal warm beverages and an opportunity to try handbell ringing.

A $5 donation is suggested and will support the Freeport Historical Society, The Pine Tree Academy Bell Ringers, and the First Parish Congregational Church.

For tickets or more information, call the Freeport Historical Society at 865-3170.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net