Columbia Handbell Ensemble selected to play at national seminar

Monday, July 11, 2011 | 4:51 p.m. CDT; updated 6:22 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 11, 2011

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Handbell Ensemble will have a free concert on Tuesday evening in preparation for performing this weekend at the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar in Minneapolis.

This is the third national seminar to which the ensemble has been invited, but the last one was in 1995.

Send-off concert

What: Columbia Handbell Ensemble concert

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: First Baptist Church, 1112 E. Broadway

Admission: Free, but donations are accepted.

"If you're at all a serious ringer, this is the one you want to go to," said Ed Rollins, who conducts the ensemble.

For the group, Rollins said, it's an "acknowledgement that we have one of the finest groups in America."

Rollins sent in an audition tape, and the ensemble was one of two selected from groups all over the country. In addition to Rollins and a business manager, the Columbia ensemble has 12 ringers. 

Rollins is an active member in the Handbell Musicians of America, which, starting Oct. 1, will be the name used by the current American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. Rollins chairs the five-state area, including Missouri, and was just voted president-elect of the entire organization.

"I never thought I'd be in handbells like I am," said Rollins, who is associate pastor for music and administration of First Baptist Church. "Some people play band, some people play bells."

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