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If you don't know their name, the music should ring a bell

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Early on Saturday morning in a back room of the Rosemount United Methodist Church, a group of dedicated musicians met to practice. Coffee cups in hand and wearing everyday clothes, the group of a dozen didn't much look like they'd create heavenly music, but when the Chancel Bell Choir started ringing their bells, it was sublime.

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Choir director Kathy Nelson might have a few more critiques, as it was a rehearsal and the group is perfecting pieces to be played for two concerts later this month. The group will perform at 7 p.m. April 20 and 3 p.m. April 21 at the church. A free will donation will be accepted.

The concerts will help the Chancel Bell Choir raise money to refurbish its bells. In the recent past the group has had some equipment issues and Nelson said the bells could use a good once over. The group hopes to raise $1,500. Any extra, Nelson said, will be used to purchase new equipment.

The bell choir has been a part of Rosemount UMC as long as anyone on the choir can remember. The group is for senior high youth and adults with ringing experience. The seasoned group performs in church once a month and does special performances throughout the year. Nelson said they have performed at weddings, senior living facilities and more.

Rosemount United Methodist Church believes in enhancing worship services in many ways as everyone experience worship differently. Nelson said the bell choir offers an alternative musical experience.

"Different things touch people.... The church offers music of all different kinds to reach different people. This fits into that," said Nelson.

A ringer for many years, Nelson said over time handbell music has gotten better and better.

"Since I first started ringing the quality and complexity of the music has changed," said Nelson.

The music is part of the reason Liz Nelsen enjoys being part of the group.

"It's a way to be musical without having a perfect singing voice," she said

Liz and her husband Seth both ring. She said in addition to the music the Rosemount bell choir is a fun group.

All of the musicians volunteer their time. A dedicated group, Nelson said they rehearse most Wednesday evenings and recently on Saturday mornings to prepare for the upcoming concerts.

The group belongs to the Handbell Ringers of America Area 7. The choir consists of Elizabeth Nelsen, Jill Burgeson, Corette Anderson, Dee Goetzke, Aaron Penn, Nita Hanson, Linda Straub, Merlin Simon, Kerri Green and Seth Nelson.

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Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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