PraisRing 2010, a large hand bell festival sponsored by the Worship and Music Team of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, will be held April 16 and 17 at Hickory Grove North Baptist Church, 2350 Odell School Road in Charlotte. The festival, held every five years, is a chance for adult hand bell ringers to learn new music and techniques and experience fellowship with other choirs.
According to Jim Davidson, events coordinator for the music and worship team of the convention, hand bell festivals have been held among N.C. Baptists since the late 1960s or early 1970s. What first began as primarily a youth event soon included a growing number of adult groups.
In the 1980s, a separate adult festival was established and eventually split into two east and west festivals. The first PraisRing combining the east and west festivals took place in 1993. Since then, a festival has been held every five years.
Churches that have attended PraisRing in past years find the benefits to be numerous. "The event helps foster musical and spiritual growth within my hand bell choir," said Connie Hastings, hand bell director at Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro.
Chris Haire, minister of music at the First Baptist Church in Cary, said, "North Carolina Baptist hand bell festivals provide opportunities to take classes on hand bell technique and ministry; to share ideas and methods; to purchase music and merchandise; to experience the joy of mass hand bell ringing; to meet and mingle with hand bell enthusiasts from other churches; to learn from master hand bell directors; and ultimately to worship our God together through hand bell ringing."
Davidson said he finds it an honor and a privilege to be a part of an event such as PraisRing.
"It is always a joy to see sisters and brothers in Christ coming together to make music and worship the Lord Jesus Christ and to do it in such a creative manner," he said.
The public is invited to a concert at PraisRing, performed by the Raleigh Ringers, at 10:30 a.m. April 17. Space is limited, and a donation of $10 is requested. Donations go to the Haitian Relief Fund of the Baptist Men's organization. Details: www.worshipNC.org