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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — 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 1996, the Ringers have visited many towns in the Northeast and even across the country to Denver and Portland, Ore.
"The concerts are always enthusiastically received, particularly because parents and family members rally to publicize the event," said William Payn, director of choral studies. "Most often there is a reception following the concert to meet those who attend, including Bucknell alumni and prospective students."
Concerts have been set for:
· Thursday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. at The First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, in Caldwell, N.J., hometown of member Christian Mercado;
· Sunday, Jan. 10, at 3 p.m. at The First Congregational Church of West Boylston, in West Boylston, Mass., hometown of member Anne Barnard;
· Saturday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m. at Music at St. Paul's in St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University in New York City;
· Sunday, Jan. 31, at 4 p.m. in The Presbyterian Church on the Green in Morristown, N.J., hometown of members Stephen Norton and Ben Ramseyer.
The Ringers will perform a selection of traditional, classic and original works, including several by Payn as well as arrangements by Kevin McChesney and Arnold Sherman.
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 and 2004; the service was taped in December 2009 for airing in 2010 by WVIA-TV, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre PBS affiliate. A Christmas compact disc, which also includes the Rooke Chapel Choir, was released by Albany Records in 1995.
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, with Payn as massed ensemble conductor.
In addition to touring through New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the Ringers have performed in New England, Canada, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest. The Ringers were honored to have been 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; they will return to Syracuse for the 2010 holiday performances.
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