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Princeton, NJ, March 24, 2011–Princeton Theological Seminary will present a handbell concert “Flashback to the ’80s! A Concert of Handbell Hits from the Past” for the Seminary and Princeton communities on Sunday, April 17, 2011, at 5:00 p.m. in Miller Chapel on the Seminary’s main campus. It will honor the life and memory of handbell founding father Donald Allured (1922–2011) with pieces from his own pen and others he promoted from obscurity and fame. The concert, under the direction of F. Thomas Simpson, features the Princeton Ringers, made up of Princeton Seminary and Princeton University students, and will feature six octaves of handbells and six-and-one-half octaves of chimes, one of the largest sets in existence.

Brothers Robert and William Cor of Aldbourne, Wiltshire, England, developed the first tuned handbells between 1696 and 1724. Originally used by change ringers (who rang a set of tuned bells in a series of mathematical patterns called “changes”) to rehearse outside their towers, the handbell sets had the same number of bells as did the towers (usually six to twelve handbells tuned to a diatonic scale).   

Margaret Shurcliff brought the first handbells from England to the United States in 1902. She was presented a set of ten handbells in London by Arthur Hughes, the general manager of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, after completing two separate two-and-one-half-hour change ringing peals in one day. 

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact F. Thomas Simpson at ftsimpson@aol.com  or call 609.529.3979. For directions to the Seminary, visit www.ptsem.edu.

Princeton Theological Seminary was founded in 1812, the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. It is the largest Presbyterian Seminary in the country, with more than 500 students in six graduate degree programs.

 
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