Churches

The Bell Choir at Trinity Church in Menlo Park is celebrating its 21st anniversary with a concert on Sunday, June 9, at 7:00 pm featuring a selection of classical, popular and sacred music — a range to please most everyone according to founding — and longest tenured members — Shirley Hagey (left in photo) and Mary Pless (right).

It was Mary who took the lead in getting the music group started. “I had played in a bell choir with my sister during grade school,” she said. “It was fun, but unlike my sister, I didn’t keep it up. She was a lifetime ringer. She died from breast cancer in 1997, and I approached Trinity’s music director at the time, Trudy Minkler, about starting a bell choir at Trinity in her honor.”

Shirley was a natural early recruit, given her friendship with Trudy. “It seemed like a fun idea,” she recalled. “Trudy didn’t know how to play but she went to some workshops and learned.

“What I like about it to this day is that it occupies my entire brain when playing. It’s all I can think about at the time. And it’s also great being part of a team.”

Today, Trinity Ringers is made up of 19 members, most of whom, but not all, are Trinity members, and not all are of the Christian faith.  Over the years, 26 other people have played with the choir at one time or another. Children have played along with their parents. Adult children of members have met — and married!

Through donations to the Bell Fund, the choir now owns five octaves of Malmark bells and four octaves of Malmark chimes. They will be augmented at the anniversary concert by piano, harp, alto saxophone, violin, viola and percussion. “We’re playing some challenging music but rising to the occasion, with thanks to our director, Rick Hoffmeister.” said Shirley.

Lest you mistake the concert for all solemn and serious, we can tell you that Shirley is teaming with bell choir member Marty Arscott on a rendition of the Copper Clapper Caper, made famous by Johnny Carson and Jack Webb. You can refresh your memory (or see what it was all about for the first time) online here.

“The one thing about bells is that you don’t need a lot of musical experience, although you need to be able to count,” said Mary. Added Shirley: “Having natural rhythm is a big help!”

So, evidently is an affinity for chocolate, which Shirley described as the choir’s “glue.” “Our rehearsals last for two hours, all standing,” she explained. “So after an hour, we take a little break and eat chocolate. Our stash features a variety from around the world that choir members contribute.”

There is no charge to attend the 21st anniversary concert, although there will be a free will offering that will go to the Trinity Ringers Fund for equipment and musical scores. A reception will follow. Trinity Church is located at 330 Ravenswood Ave. in Menlo Park.

Photo by Robb Most (c) 2019

{ Be the first to comment }

St. Bede’s Von Beckerath organ celebrated on May 19

The final concert – open to all – of St. Bede’s 2018-19 season is on Sunday, May 19, at 4:00 pm. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of the installation of St. Bede’s Von Beckerath organ. Grammy-nominated, internationally renowned organist Gail Archer will perform works by Dieterich Buxtehude, J. S. Bach, Robert Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, […]

Click to read more →

Music Festival followed by a talk about carbon offsets

Who says science and religion can’t mix? They’ll do so nicely at Trinity Church in Menlo Park on May 19 when a Festival of Music is followed by a talk on carbon offsets. “We offer the Festival of Music to celebrate our many musicians and singers at Trinity, and the wide variety of sacred music […]

Click to read more →

Earth Day celebrated with bicycle blessing and electric vehicle showcase

Parishioners at Trinity Church in Menlo Ppark were encouraged to cycle to church today in observance of Earth Day. Following the 10:00 am service, the bicycles — and one tricycle! — were blessed by the Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett. In addition, the church parking lot was filled with a selection of electric vehicles), all owned by […]

Click to read more →

Spotted: Easter bunny minister

Aaron Klinefelter, who is the associate for children and family ministries at Trinity Church in Menlo Park, donned rabbit ears to get the attention of kids who were waiting patiently for the post-service Easter egg hunt to begin. Photo by Frances Freyberg (c) 2019

Click to read more →

Reflection on the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Menlo Park resident Julia Appleby emailed this photo of Notre Dame from her “personal archive” with a note that said…”You may not be covering the story as it is not local enough but if you do feel like this photo would make a relevant tribute to the French community in our neighborhood, I would be […]

Click to read more →

Hidden delights of Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park

One of the more enjoyable aspects of publishing InMenlo, is getting to dive deep into some of Menlo Park’s more hidden treasures. Such was the case when we toured Vallombrosa Center with Public Events and Marketing Coordinator David Leech accompanied by contributing photographer Scott Kline. Tucked behind a wall on Oak Grove Avenue between the […]

Click to read more →

Trinity Church in Menlo Park launches climate change initiative, “Reclaiming Eden”

“Reclaiming Eden: Stopping climate change one household at a time” is a new initiative by Trinity Church in Menlo Park. “All around us, the ramifications of climate change are becoming more real,” said the Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett, rector at Trinity. “The earth is under pressure, and she is not doing well. And when the Earth, […]

Click to read more →

Special musical performances at St. Bede’s on March 17

St. Bede’s choir, with organist Rani Fischer and officiant Colby Roberts, will offer a service of Evensong featuring music by Canadian composer Stephanie Martin (The Selwyn Service) and American composer Richard Webster (Preces & Responses, Phos Hilaron, & Abide With Me.) on Sunday, March 17, at 4;00 pm. Immediately following the service, distinguished Bay Area […]

Click to read more →

MUSA in concert at St. Bede’s on Feb. 24

MUSA, one of the Bay Area’s most innovative and sought-after early music ensembles, will be in concert at St. Bede’s Church on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 4:00 pm with a program titled Chinese Baroque, exploring the dynamic and complex cultural exchanges between Western Europe and China in the 17th and 18th centuries through the lens […]

Click to read more →

Spotted: St. Nicholas bearing gold coins for children at Trinity Church in Menlo Park

How do you get the attention of young children when there’s a bishop in church? No problem when you’re the Bishop of Myra aka St. Nicholas. For over 30 years, St. Nicholas – as played by Woodside resident Dick Livermore – has been visiting Trinity Church on the Sunday closest to his feast day (Dec. […]

Click to read more →