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bellisimo! bell choir rings in the season in Billings

The choir performed a show called "An Eclectic Christmas"
Posted at 6:42 PM, Dec 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-22 21:11:38-05

BILLINGS — The bellissimo! bell choir rung in the season with "An Eclectic Christmas" concert at the First Congregational Church in Billings Sunday afternoon.

About 100 people filled the pews of the church to listen to the music.

“We believe that this is our 34th annual concert," bellissimo! director Wendy Goodheart told the crowd.

The song selection ranged from modern Christmas hits like 'Winter Wonderland' to movements from Handel's 'Messiah.'

The musicians in the bell choir are called ringers. Goodheart said some of the ringers have been with the group for 20 years or more.

“For about four or five of us it’s 20 years plus," said Goodheart. "We have one person who has been ringing for about eight weeks. We have all different skill and experience levels in here. The one who started eight weeks ago, you wouldn’t even know it. She just stepped right in.”

The bell choir can play notes that span six musical octaves. Most of the bells the ringers play are made from brass, except for the larger ones that ring the bass notes. The larger bells are made from aluminum, a lighter metal that makes the bell easier to swing.

“We use a lot of different techniques. we hit on the table, we use mallets, we even use an instrument called a chime to give a difference in tone," Goodheart said.

Bellissimo! performed two shows on Sunday, one at 3 p.m. and one at 5 p.m.