Spencer Handbell Ensemble helps set world record
By Harry Toufar
SPENCER — Throughout the holiday season, the Spencer Senior High School Handbell Ensemble entertains around the area. For these small excursions, a normal load consists of tables, padding, music stands, table covers, mallet bags, nine cases of instruments, and music binders.
The group traveled out of state on Nov. 19 and needed only to bring its handbells. The music — a nine-page, five-minute holiday arrangement — was memorized.
The occasion was The Big Ring, taking place at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Big Ring was an attempt to break the world record for the largest handbell ensemble. The previous record was 560 people in Japan in 2013. The Spencer ensemble was invited to be part of the historic attempt, which helped kick off the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign. There would be a total of 664 performers from 23 states and three countries.
The arrangement was called “Silver Carol,” a combination of “Silver Bells” and “Carol of the Bells,” that was written by Minnesota handbell director Hart Morris, who also conducted the performance. Under the scrutiny of Guinness judges, the 664-piece ensemble performed its way to a world record.