Los Altos Ministry News
Handbell Ministry at Los Altos UMC
Los Altos UMC has a great reputation for its wonderful music program. This music program includes nearly 40 years of ringing English Handbells in worship. The handbell program has grown from 2 octaves of bells in 1978 to the current 5 octaves of bells. The church added the 3rd octave in 1981 with memorials in the name of Sybil Royer, and the 4th octave in 1994 in memorium of Pearl Sager. The 5th octave was a gift in 1999 from Margaret Wadleigh. During this time Los Altos UMC also received a gift of 2 octaves of hand chimes from Mary Bush. Over time we have purchased the 3rd, 4th, and 5th octaves of chimes by playing programs off campus and through donations received hosting coffee on the porch. The combined set of English Handbells and Handchimes is among the largest in Southern California!
Throughout the years Los Altos UMC has had several bell choirs ranging from adults to children. We currently have the Carillon Ringers as the primary bell choir with adults and experienced youth ringers. Jubilation! is our beginning bell choir for children. Our young ringers learn to praise God with musical instruments, develop worship leadership skills by providing music in worship, learn how to read music, and enjoy the fellowship of being part of a team of ringers. Los Altos UMC is also blessed to have the talented youth & young adult advanced level small ensemble, Exultation! The members of Exultation! have all been nurtured by the music programs here at Los Altos UMC and share musical offerings occasionally. Exultation! and the Carillon Ringers provide outreach ministry by bringing music to outside groups and congregations. The handbell choirs are looking for volunteers of all ages to take up bells and keep this legacy alive. It is time to revitalize our children’s bell choir and prepare our next generation of ringers.
Director of Handbell Ensembles, Debbie Shaw, is a 3rd generation church musician and brings 39 years of handbell ringing and directing experience to Los Altos UMC. Debbie is also a 25 year member of the Handbell Musicians of America, and has served on the Board of Directors of Area 12 as both Regional Coordinator and Events Director.
The handbell choirs give thanks to the congregation for their continuing support, both spiritually and financially. Your gifts and coffee donations provide vital supplementation to a small budget by funding the replacement of worn out equipment, music, and instrument maintenance. In August the bells received over $2,000.00 in desperately needed repairs and maintenance, plus an additional $1700.00 in warranty work, which was paid for with these supplemental funds. Are you able to financially support our equipment needs? We are in need of rolling cases for the large bells to facilitate moving between the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall for worship services which will cost about $2,000.00. We also would like to replace our worn and broken mallets with new, superior mallets at a cost of $600.00. Please consider how you might support the long tradition of handbells at Los Altos UMC and feel free to reach out to Debbie Shaw anytime to discuss our handbell ministry at DShaw@LosAltosUMC.org.