Sounds of Christmas at First United Church

The Alleluia Ringers handbell choir and the Merrie Pipers to stage Christmas Bells & Whistles concert Sunday in Kelowna.

  • Dec. 18, 2016 1:00 p.m.

Recorders and handbells are featured at the ninth annual Christmas Bells and Whistles Sunday at Kelowna First United.

Christmas concerts in Kelowna are plentiful and there is no shortage of events to choose from, whatever your musical taste.

But Christmas Bells & Whistles is a sure-fire way to light the Christmas spirit in your heart.

Handbells make music all year around, but are particularly loved and appreciated when they peal out the sounds of Christmas.

The Alleluia Ringers handbell choir and the Merrie Pipers recorder orchestra invite you to this popular collaboration today beginning at 2 p.m. at First United Church in Kelowna

Now in its ninth year, the event is designed to allow you to relax, enjoy seasonal music, join in carol singing, and savour our traditional hot apple cider and shortbread following the concert.

Admission is by donation at the door (suggested amount $12). As he has been since the concert’s inception, Ralph Milton, a well-known United Church speaker and writer, will be the MC.

Guest artists on this year’s program are pianist Graham Vink and organist Eloise Kneller, playing seasonal duets that will fill the hall, and your hearts, with glorious music. Graham Vink was born and raised in Kelowna.

He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in piano performance from the Universities of Calgary and Toronto. He is the Artistic Director of the Kelowna Community Music School, as well as a busy pianist, accompanist and piano teacher in Kelowna.

Also Kelowna-based, Eloise Kneller is an accomplished musician, teacher and organist and was formerly the organist at First United.

The Alleluia Ringers marked their tenth anniversary as an ensemble in 2016. A highlight of this year, and a major musical milestone for them, was attending the 2016 International Handbell Symposium in Vancouver in July.

The Symposium brought together approximately 750 handbell musicians from around the world. The Alleluia Ringers’ director, Nikki Attwell, was co-chair of the Symposium planning committee.

The Merrie Pipers recorder orchestra formed in 2001 as a small music class within Kelowna’s Society for Learning in Retirement. Although all retirees, these dedicated players take their continuing musical growth seriously.

Always active in the community, this November the Merrie Pipers appeared on the Kelowna Community Chorus’ Christmas concert.

In recent years they have also performed in Peachland and Lake Country, and at the Rotary Centre for the Arts and at Kelowna General Hospital. Sue MacDonald directs the Merrie Pipers.

Patrons attending the concert are advised to arrive early to find street parking (as parking in the church’s lot will be limited), and to be assured of a seat.



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