Reception 5:30 p.m.
Dinner 6:30 p.m.
Meeting after Dinner
Meeting will be held at the
|The Westwood Ringers||First Baptist Church|
|Rev. Dr. Ian Mevorach||Pastor|
Common Street Spiritual Center
|Minister Annette Thomas||Messiah Baptist Church|
|Mr. Robert Rowe||Director|
Boston Baptist Social Union
|Mr. Jimmy Thomas||Vice President|
Boston Baptist Social Union
|Welcome||President James Steeves|
|Song||“Joyful,Joyful,We Adore Thee”|
Led by Richard Freeman
|Invocation||Rev. Dr. Ian Mevorach|
|Christian Work Moment||Fred Drauschke|
|Program||The Westwood Ringers|
Director Peter de Reyna
|Benediction||Minister Annette Thomas|
We welcome back The Westwood Ringers from the First Baptist Church of Westwood. The handbell choir has graced us with performances in December 2007 and December 2010.
The history of The Westwood Ringers started in 1965, when Marilyn Downes, the First Baptist Church of Westwood's organist and choir director, organized two handbell choirs for junior high school boys and girls, using two octaves of bells that were generously donated by a member of the congregation. The bell choirs played about once a month for Sunday morning worship services, and soon began receiving invitations to play for organizations, clubs, and nursing homes in the area.
By the late 1960's, the first junior high ringers were in high school and ready to do bigger and better things. At this point, the junior high boys and girls became a group called the Junior Bells, and the high school ringers were called the Senior Bell Choir. A third octave of bells was added, purchased with the proceeds of an art sale held by a local artist and church member.
The ringers became members of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, and in 1975, they attended their first national handbell festival, held at Jeckyll Island, Georgia. Over the years they have attended numerous festivals from Florida to Toronto. By the early 1990's, the word “senior” was being used to refer to the older generation, Senior Bell Choir did not reflect who they were; so, the group changed its name to The Westwood Ringers. the members of the Junior Bells gradually left the group or joined The Westwood Ringers. During that decade they purchased the fourth octave of bells. Today they have five complete octaves of bells and also play five octaves of hand chimes. Marilyn Downes took great pleasure in traveling and exploring the world, and she encouraged this love of travel in her choir members. In addition to festivals and concert tours in the Northeast, The Westwood Ringers have made three tours to Europe, giving concerts in England in 1999, Germany and Austria in 2002, and Ireland in 2005.
Marilyn passed away in 2015, after having directed The Westwood ringers for almost fifty years. After an extensive search, The Westwood ringers were delighted to find their new director very close to home. Peter de Reyna grew up in Westwood and graduated from Westwood High School in 2015. He was hired as director in 2016 during his first year at Berklee College of Music. Now a graduate, Peter is an international touring and session musician in addition to holding the director's position with The Westwood Ringers.
The Westwood Ringers are continually evolving. They are not necessarily members of First Baptist Church in Westwood or evn Baptists, and they come from several towns including Westwood, Dedham, Norwood, Walpole, Sharon, and Brockton. Currently they are all adults with a range of ages spanning several decades. Some members have been ringing since they joined the Junior Bells years ago, and one member was new to the group just this last year. The Westwood Ringers are periodically looking for a new full-time member anf frequently need a substitute when someone is unavailable for a concert. Anyone who has a experience ringing hand bells or would like to learn to ring is encouraged to attend a concert and speak with a member afterwards.