The On-Line Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Peal” as a noun meaning the loud ringing of bells; a loud sound or series of sounds. Thus we found it appropriate to call ourselves “The Portland Pealers,” although we’re more commonly referred to as the “Portland United Church Hand Bell Choir.”
Years ago, our summer organist and choir director, Fred Sneyd had the foresight to “borrow” the bells, a practice encouraged by the Schmuerich Company. It was their belief that, once we had the opportunity to explore playing hand bells, we would fall in love with them and purchase them for our own church. With the support of Council, that is exactly what happened.
Regardless of our title, we are an enthusiastic group of adults with various musical abilities ringing a beautiful 3-octave set of Schmulerich hand bells. We practise every Thursday evening. We’ve learned all kinds of music, from the very simple to the complicated. We’ve accompanied the choir in selected anthems, and we’ve “taken the bells on the road” to share our music in the community.
This is a group whose aim is to learn to play hand bells, share what we learn and have fun doing it.
If you are at all curious, come out and see what we’re about. The ability to read music is an asset, but we are quite willing to teach interested and dedicated people! We are community based: not all members of the Pealers are members of the church or charge. You would be most welcome.