The Bucknell University Rooke Chapel Ringers were organized in 1983 under the direction of William A. Payn. The choir consists of 14 members who are selected by audition and who represent diverse major fields of study at Bucknell University, including the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business administration, education, and engineering. The choir plays regularly for Protestant worship services on campus and participates in the traditional ringing-in-of-Christmas at Candlelight services in Rooke Chapel each December. This popular performance, taped and repeatedly televised by PBS for national distribution, was nominated for an Emmy in 1996 and 2004. A Christmas compact disc, which also includes the Rooke Chapel Choir, was released by Albany Records in November 1995.
Since its founding, the choir has participated in two festivals at the Riverside Church in New York City and was chosen to play for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Conference in the spring of 1985. In January, 1986, the choir embarked on its first two-week European concert tour of Switzerland and Austria. Twelve concerts included performances in Lucerne, Montreux, Salzburg, and Goetzens. The Rooke Chapel Ringers were honored to have been invited to perform at the Tenth-anniversary celebration of Handbell Exploration in Tempe, Arizona, in 1995, and the Hershey Handbell Exploration at the Hershey Hotel Syracuse Symphony for three holiday concerts. They returned to Syracuse for the 2006 holiday concerts, and were featured again with the symphony in December 2009.
The ringers participated in Bronzefest 2008 in Ohio, and completed the annual Senior Winter Tour, visiting Rochester, NY, Syracuse, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, and Stroudsburg, PA. Following the tour, the ringers played for a four-day masterclass in conducting at Bucknell, with Dr. Payn serving as clinician. The group performed with the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble in February, 2009
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