PITTSBURG, Kan. — Traditionally, the ringing of bells has announced the arrival of the holiday season — those soft, cheerful tones blending and enhancing the sounds of Christmas.
Particularly when it comes to music, including time-honored classics such as “Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Bells” and “Carol of the Bells.”
For the eighth consecutive year, the Bells of the Balkans will host the annual Ring in the Season concert at 3 p.m. Sunday inside the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, 1711 S. Homer Street on the Pittsburg State University campus.
The Bells of the Balkans is a community hand bell choir composed of 15 ringers from the Pittsburg area, said group leader Janis Saket.
“Each year, the event grows bigger and so does our following,” she said.
The group recently won the coveted Ruth Morris Award from the National Federation of Music Clubs.
Joining the award-winning group onstage will be:
• The Belles of the Bells, under the direction of Donna Lyerla;
• The PittPres Ringers, directed by Terry Cox;
• The St. John’s Lutheran Ringers, directed by Phillis Scorse; and,
• Bell soloist Terry Cox.
“Each group will present two or three or more beautiful seasonal offerings that will, quite literally, ring in the season,” Saket said.
Over the years, she continued, “we have noticed that each group has become more skillful in their musicianship and choice of beautiful music. They have elevated their individual offerings by learning and growing from other participating groups.”
For the third consecutive year, the Bells of the Balkans will perform with PSU’s SEK Symphony during the “Holiday Extravaganza on at the Dec. 3 “Holiday Extravaganza” concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Bicknell. Overall, it’s the fifth year for the holiday extravaganza.
Both Sunday’s concert and Tuesday’s concert are free and open to the public.
Directed by music professor Raul Munguia, Tuesday’s concert will include performances by many local musicians, students and faculty. The play list includes songs performed in Broadway musicals at the Bicknell Center in recent years, including “Mama Mia Medley” by the Southeast Kansas Symphony and “Rent’s” “Seasons of Love” by the Pittsburg High School Choir.
The symphony will perform several holiday tunes, including “A Christmas Festival” and “Christmas Eve Sarajevo,” as will The J3 Band, including John Lennon’s “War Is Over” and “Santa Is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen, and the PHS Choir, including “Variations on Jingle Bells” and “White Winter Hymnal.” Also featured will be PSU faculty baritone Patrick Howle, who will sing “All I Care About is Love” from “Chicago,” mezzo-soprano Lisa Gerstenkorn, who will sing “The Hills Are Alive With Music” from “The Sound of Music,” and soprano Rebecca Ensor, who will sing “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked,” as well as the Belles of the Balkans.
“Music is always such an important part of the holiday season,” said Susan Marchant, chair of the PSU Music Department, in a release. “It brings a special enhancement to everything that we experience at this time of year.
“We are fortunate to have an abundance of holiday offerings available to both the campus and the community, and I hope that our audiences will enjoy attending them as much as we always enjoy preparing them.”
Details: 620-235-4536 or 620-235-4472.