Our "Nauset Ringers" history
The Federated Church of Orleans has a long history of bell ringing. Ours was one of the first bell choirs formed on Cape Cod. In 1976, the church acquired a small, two-octave set of bells in August, which was dedicated in October. A third octave of bells was purchased five years later. By that time, director Nancy Hart Solit's name had become synonymous with bell ringing on Cape Cod. After taking the Federated Church's bell choir to a handbell festival in Keene, NH in 1985, she began organizing educational workshops for ringers here on the Cape, drawing clinicians from around New England. In 1987, she launched Spring Ring, an event uniting all Cape Cod ringers for a mass ringing experience. To date, there have been seven Spring Rings, the most recent in April 2016. Nancy also hosted handbell concerts by off-Cape bell choirs, while continuing to take Cape ringers to AGEHR festivals across New England. She did more to promote handbell ringing on Cape Cod than anyone else. A 1987 photograph documents the group having adopted the name Nauset Ringers.
In January 2017, Thom Dutton became the sixth director of the church's bell choir. His years of directing experience and bell ringing expertise had an immediate positive influence on the group. Within months, he had expanded the group from enough people to ring three octaves to enough to ring four, with the goal of restoring the group to a full five-octave choir. He also brought back the name Nauset Ringers, which had been abandoned somewhere along the line.
In June 2018, our entire 5-octave set of Schulmerich handbells were returned to the factory for a long-overdue refurbishing. We’re grateful to the FCO Finance Committee for providing the funds for this needed maintenance. The handbells arrived back on Cape Cod in August and this morning is their first use in worship.
Having had an active bell choir for forty years, the current goal is to perpetuate that tradition by once again having a full five-octave bell choir. This will require 13-14 ringers. Anyone interested in joining the bell choir, please contact Thom via email to CapeSideMusic@comcast.net or telephoning 508-255-3060.