As part of their inaugural U.S. tour, the Arsis Youth Handbell Ensemble of Tallinn, Estonia, will perform a free concert in Stillwater Aug. 11.

The 7:30 p.m. performance will be held in First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), located at 411 W. Mathews (the corner of Duck and Mathews Streets, just east of Oklahoma State University’s Gallagher-Iba Arena).

The concert is free and open to the public, and an offering will be taken to help defray travel expenses during the choir’s 17-state tour through Aug. 15.

“We’re thrilled to be able to host the Arsis ringers, and we hope everyone will come hear this marvelous group during their first American tour and their only Oklahoma performance,” says Nancy Crenshaw, director of First Christian’s JuBELLation ringers.

Formed in 2003 as a result of a competition at the Arsis Handbell School, the Arsis ringers were selected from more than 200 students. The handbell school trains students from the age of 11 in music theory, piano, music history and handbell technique. Many of the young ringers have been studying handbells and music for nearly a decade.

Their director, Aivar Mäe, is the founder of the school and leader of the successful Arsis Handbell Ensemble, formed in 1993, when the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers gave Arsis a three-octave set of Malmark Handbells.

Since then, the Arsis handbell schools and several ensembles have amassed several sets of the entire range of bells and chimes to ring. During their U.S. tour, the Arsis youth will perform with a full range of bells and chimes except for the lowest octave.

“We know they hope to see a lot of America and meet new friends along the way,” Crenshaw says. “Stillwater is an ideal venue. Many of our local churches are fortunate to have their own bell choirs and have a real appreciation for this special kind of music.”

For more information, contact nancy.crenshaw@okstate.edu or visit the Arsis web site at www.arsis.ee.

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