Pam has lived her entire life in the Puget Sound Area and grew up attending both the Renton and Kent United Methodist Churches until coming to Aldersgate UMC in 2010 where she currently feels at home with her church family.
She was introduced to a new world of music in 1986, when a wonderful lady, who later became her mentor introduced her to handbells. She started off in the children’s choir, graduated to the youth choir and became the 1st youth to be a part of the adult bell choir at Kent UMC. Her mentor watered the love of Handbells she had planted in Pam, by asking if she considered going to college to be a Handbell director at her high school graduation.
She attended Green River Community College and earned her AA degree in Performing Arts. She directed the Children’s, Youth, and Adult Bell Choirs at Kent UMC for 7 years before coming to Aldersgate UMC where she became the bell choir director in 2017.
A Brief History Of English Handbells
In medieval times Christians travelled throughout Europe ringing bells while spreading the news of the risen Christ, and summoning people to congregate. Eventually, large bronze bells were cast and towers were constructed to house them. At first these towers were built apart from the church; then belfries were added above the church structures. When several bells are hung in a belfry, they can be rung together, or one after another. This group of bells is known as a peal and consists of up to twelve bells tuned to different notes of the scale.
By the 1700s tower bell ringing had become a very popular pastime throughout the British Isles. In order to practice bell ringing away from the exposed bell tower, hand-held bells were made. These handbells were used to practice the musical changes for the tower bells, but ringers soon became interested in using the bells to ring melodies. Simple arrangements of hymns and folk songs began to appear, written for newly formed bell choirs. By the end of the eighteenth century, nearly every village in England had its own handbell choir.
Today, there are 4 manufacturers of Handbells still in existence: in England, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in the area of London (1700 to today), In the Netherlands, the royal bell foundry of Petit & Fritsen (1660 – 2010) and in the US Schulmerich (1962 to today) and Malmark (1973 to today).