WR General Information Sheet

The Westminster Ringers, Inc., a Maryland Handbell Ensemble
Founded and incorporated as a 501(c) 3 organization in September 1997
attract, organize, educate and rehearse handbell ringers in all aspects of handbell music;
promote the art of handbell ringing;
encourage the public appreciation of and interest in handbell music;
educate others in the community through performances of handbell music and educational workshops;
function as a non-profit organization with charitable and civic endeavors.
Activities of the group are directed toward one of two interrelated areas: Handbell Performance and/or Handbell Education.
Handbell Performance: The ensemble offers gifted area musicians the opportunity to play advanced handbell repertoire at the
highest possible level. It seeks to advance the knowledge, awareness and viability of the art of handbell ringing beyond that normally
available to members of volunteer church and school groups. The current membership, residents of York (PA), Fairfax (VA),
Baltimore (MD), Carroll (MD), and Frederick (MD) counties, consists of 17 advanced, auditioned ringers whose cumulative
handbell experience is in excess of 150 years. The group has at its disposal a 6+-octave set of Malmark Handbells, a 7-octave set of
Malmark Choirchimes, and a plethora of percussion instruments – over 175 instruments in all. Recent additions include several bells
from the 7th octave – making for one of the largest collections of bell and chime instruments in the Mid-Atlantic area. In 2010,
the ensemble was honored to be selected to perform a Showcase Concert at the Handbell Musicians of America's Pinnacle event
in Nashville, TN.
Handbell Education: A major characteristic that distinguishes the Westminster Ringers from a number of other high level
performance ensembles is the importance placed on Handbell Education. A workshop for children is held every spring, during which
a well-known conductor from the bell world and Westminster Ringers spend a day teaching ringing techniques and movement
activities, as well as rehearsing participants for a public mass concert in the afternoon. In the fall, Westminster Ringers transform
themselves from performers to educators and conduct a comprehensive Ringer’s Workshop. To date, cumulative registrations for
these events have exceeded 1,600.
Community/Professional Groups: The Westminster Ringers are designated a Community/Professional Group by the Handbell
Musicians of America – a classification held by less than 1% of the member choirs/ensembles on the Guild’s current roster.
Musical Director: Larry Henning, a native of North Wales, PA, earned his BA (Ed) from West Chester University and completed
Master’s coursework at Western Maryland (now McDaniel) College. Currently, Larry is a 7th grade math teacher in Mt. Airy, MD.
He has been involved with handbells for nearly 30 years. Before beginning his tenure as the Music Director of the Westminster
Ringers, Larry was the founder/director of the Carrolltowne (Elementary School) Ringers and director of the Wesley Carillon
(Westminster UMC) and the Agape Ringers (Westminster Church of the Brethren).
Affiliations and/or Funding:
Handbell Musicians of America
Carroll County Arts Alliance (CCAA)
Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC)
Managing Director
Web Page
Debbie Henning
737 Holland Lane
Westminster, MD 21158
(410) 848-5482
[email protected]
Current /Former Members: Amy (Butler) Archibald, Kyler Brengle, Peggy Brengle, Chris Butler, Kirsten Chalk, Linda Franklin, Debbie
Henning*, Adam Herbstsomer, Sheena Hunter*, Betty Kerwin*, Madge Luoto, Christine Martin, Meghan Micheals, Laura Swafford, Sarah White,
Lin (Blair) Wolfe, Nancy Wortman
* Charter Members