I belong to two bell choirs, and this year I am even playing the same bells in both, and yet I have found each choir to be totally different. (It's like children--you can raise them the same, and yet each one is going to have their own personality.)
On Mondays I ring with Voices in Bronze. This is a serious handbell choir. We're ringing five octaves, with matching chimes, on a level 4-5. We have a lot of fun, but our purpose is to make music. Our director is amazing. She has invested hours (years!) into the choir, and it shows in how easily she manages to move us along to produce wonderfully polished pieces of music. (Okay, maybe it's not always easy. Some of us present a bit of a challenge, but she handles it with grace.) I've made wonderful friends, and I love Monday nights enough to get there early and stay late. I have learned so much from this choir, and I'm very thankful that they made a place for me.
On Wednesdays I ring with the Boca Bells. This handbell choir is my "fun" choir. Forget making music; we're happy to manage a joyful noise unto the Lord! This group rings only three octaves, and we're on a 1-2 level. The church's choir director was thrust into the position of directing the handbells, despite having no previous handbell experience or even that much of a desire to be the handbell director. Despite her reluctance to take us on, she's gotten us into our third season as a group and we're really starting to see amazing progress. Rehearsals are loud, laughter-filled, rambunctious events. It gets even wilder on the days I get to take over as director! (This has happened a couple of times now, due to scheduling issues.)
It's getting close to the end of the bell season. Boca Bells will perform on Easter morning, then again for a final performance this year on Mother's Day. Voice in Bronze has already played our Lenten service, so we have one more service on May 18th. Prior to that we will also be playing a farewell to one of our long-time members, Carol, who recently (unexpectedly) passed away. In It's a Wonderful Life, it's said that "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." We're going to make sure that Carol has her wings.
Until the end of May, for a few more weeks, I'll continue to ring my bells, sound my chimes, and join my laughter with my friends'. It really is a joyful noise.