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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

Pitt’s handbell ensemble rings in the holiday cheer with winter concert

Pitt%E2%80%99s+Handbell+Ensemble+performs+this+Saturday+in+the+William+Pitt+Union.+
Nada Abdulaziz | Senior Staff Writer
Pitt’s Handbell Ensemble performs this Saturday in the William Pitt Union.

Enchanting melodies echoed through the halls of the William Pitt Union, beckoning guests to the lower lounge where the spirit of the season lingered in the air. On the cold evening of Dec. 2, Pitt’s handbell ensemble hosted their annual winter concert, serenading an audience with a symphony of holiday tunes. 

Attendees heard timeless holiday classics like “Carol of the Bells,” “Let it Snow” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” filling the space with familiar melodies and festive cheer. The concert also offered glimpses into the artistry of handbell ringing, showcasing various ringing motions in between each song, adding an immersive dimension to the musical experience.

Fashioned from brass or bronze, handbells consist of a handle and bell that produce precise pitches when struck. The ensemble stood around a long table adorned with differently shaped bells. Under the guidance of a conductor, they followed musical scores, striking their designated bells at precise moments to create melodies –– smaller bells chimed higher tones while larger ones reverberated deeper sounds. This meticulously coordinated arrangement allowed the ensemble to craft harmonies, transforming the surroundings into an immersive symphony of resonating tones.

Sarah Lindley, junior molecular biology major and assistant director of the handbell ensemble, said the club hosts a minimum of two events a year. Lindley said although handbells historically held religious significance, the club itself isn’t affiliated with any religion, focusing instead on fostering the essence of the music.

“For our winter concert, we try to keep things relatively secular. The handbells started as a Christian church tradition, so we do have a lot of traditional Christmas music,” Lindley said. “But we also put things in there from holiday movies like the song ‘Believe’ from ‘The Polar Express’ because the club doesn’t affiliate with any one specific religion.”

Lydia Freethy, junior music composition and ecology and evolution major and co-conductor in the handbell ensemble, said the handbell is an uncommon instrument. Freethy said listening to a handbell ensemble is a great opportunity to learn something new. 

“Not a lot of people know about handbells or what a handbell even is, and that shows you the uniqueness of it,” Freethy said. “Not every college has a handbell ensemble, so having an opportunity like this is really great for the school because it introduces people to something culturally cool.” 

Freethy said her favorite part of the concert is being a part of a tight group. Freethy said ringing bells is a stress reliving moment she shares with her friends. 

“The best part about this concert is being able to create really fun music with fun people,” Freethy said. “It’s overall very stress relieving, especially knowing that I made a lot of my good friends in the club.” 

Benjamin Adams, junior computer science major and business manager of the handbell ensemble, said many would assume the club is made up of mostly music majors, but the club has a notable number of engineering majors. 

“It’s actually funny, but we tend to get an odd amount of engineers in the handbell ensemble,” Adams said. “We theorize that bells are very exact and precise, and that kind of precision appeals to a lot of engineers, but I would still say that our club is very inclusive of all majors.” 

Lindley said prior to joining the club, she never held a handbell and was able to try something new. Lindley said the handbell is now one of her favorite things to do despite how little she knew starting out. 

“The club is a really small and tight knit community where you can just try something new and really fun,” Lindley said. “As someone who never rung a handbell before joining the club, I think it’s a classic college experience to do something out of the blue that ends up being your favorite thing.”

About the Contributor
Nada Abdulaziz, Senior Staff Writer
Nada Abdulaziz is a senior majoring in Philosophy and Biological Sciences. She loves spending her free time reading, hiking, and watching Studio Ghibli films.