December 09, 2014, BY Kathryn Kopchik

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Members of Bucknell University's Rooke Chapel Ringers will perform concerts in the hometowns of the group's senior members in January. Since the tradition began in 1983, the Ringers have visited many towns in the Northeast and across the country to Denver and Portland.

"These concerts have received enthusiastic attention since parents and family members rally to publicize the event," said Rachel Samet, visiting director of choral activities at Bucknell. "We look forward to meeting those who attend, including Bucknell alumni and prospective students, at a reception following each of the concerts."

Concerts have been set for:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. at Messiah United Methodist Church in Shippensburg, Pa., hometown of Audrey Tolbert;

  • Thursday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. at The Presbyterian Church at Shrewsbury in Shrewsbury, N.J., near Middletown, hometown of Kristen Palframan;

  • Friday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Rockaway, N.J., hometown of Sam Robinson;

  • Saturday, Jan. 10, at 1 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Long Valley, N.J., hometown of Christian Humcke.

The Ringers will perform a selection of traditional, classic and original works, including arrangements by Kevin McChesney and Fred Gramann.

The Rooke Chapel Ringers play 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, 2004 and 2010. Most recently, the service was taped in December 2009 for airing in 2010 by WVIA-TV, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre PBS affiliate. It airs frequently during the Christmas holiday season on local PBS stations.

Since its founding, the choir has participated in two festivals at the Riverside Church in New York City, was chosen to play for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Conference in spring 1985, and, in 1986, toured for two weeks in Switzerland and Austria. Twelve concerts included performances in Lucerne, Montreux, Salzburg and Goetzens. The choir has participated in three festivals at the Riverside Church in New York City. In addition to touring through New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the Ringers have performed in New England, Canada, Colorado, California and the Pacific Northwest. The Ringers were invited to perform for Handbell Exploration '95 in Arizona, and the Hershey Handbell Exploration at the Hershey Hotel in 2000 and 2004. In December 2004 and 2006, the choir was invited to perform with the Syracuse Symphony for three holiday concerts each year.