Boston Handbell Festival 2018

2018 Guest Conductor

Eileen Laurence received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the Juilliard School of Music with a major in voice and Opera Theater and a minor in organ and church music.

Eileen retired August 2014 from her position as Director of Music at the First Presbyterian Church in Katonah, NY after having served there for 38 years.  Her handbell experience spans 37 years, with her initial training coming from Robert Ivey at the Westminster Choir School in Princeton, NJ.

With the Katonah Celebration Ringers Eileen has concertized internationally in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, China and Japan. She most recently took the Katonah Celebration Ringers to the 16th International Handbell Symposium in Jeju, South Korea summer 2014.

Ms. Laurence has frequently served as a clinician and conductor at Area, National, and International festivals.  She is a published composer of multicultural handbell music.  Her Contrasts was the winner of the composition contest sponsored by Handbell Ringers of Japan at the 8th International Symposium in Makuhari, Japan.  She was given the honor of conducting the premiere performance at that Symposium in 2000.  In June 2015, she conducted the 40th Anniversary Festival of the Hudson Valley Handbell Conference in Nyack, NY.  Ms. Laurence will share the podium with William Griffin this year at The Riverside Church in NYC for their 40th Anniversary celebration.

Eileen presently lives at the Willow Valley Community in Lancaster, PA where she conducts The Willow Bells and the Handbell Choir at the First Presbyterian Church.

What is the Boston Handbell Festival?

The Back Bay Ringers (Boston, MA), in co-sponsorship with the Old South Ringers, are pleased to present this festival each year on the third Tuesday in May. It is a celebration of four local community handbell ensembles, with an invited guest choir and guest conductor each year. The concert is free and open to the public. Many audience members at the BHF are seeing handbells for the first time! In the past, they’ve been treated to an enormous variety of performances, including pieces that included choreography, singing, baseball hats, or pirate costumes, as well as a memorable massed piece involving five choirs and Old South’s stunning Skinner pipe organ.

In keeping with Back Bay Ringers’ (BBR’s) commitment to the education of handbell artistry, a central piece of the evening is the award of a 2-octave set of Malrmark Choirchimes to a greater-Boston-area school. The selected music teacher also receives a packet of music appropriate for use with young musician and a one-year mentorship with BBR Artistic Director Griff Gall, an elementary music specialist who successfully incorporates chimes into his music curriculum. We’re very proud to think of how many young musicians are being introduced to ringing instruments through the success of the BHF and the chime donation program! A free will offering will be collected during the event in support of this Chime Donation program. The Festival committee invites applications from all local area schools who wish to integrate chimes into their music program.

Please visit the BBR website to learn more about the Boston Handbell Festival and the Chime donation program.

Where is it held?

Old South Church
645 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116

When will it be?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 8pm

Who is Ringing?

Back Bay Ringers
Old South Ringers
New England Ringers
Merrimack Valley Ringers
Special Guest Choir: Bedminster Bells of Bedminster, NJ

This year featuring a special appearance by the Perkins School for the Blind Handbell Ensemble