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Bow River Bells

BRB takes handbell musicianship outside the box with memorized pieces, playing away from the tables, choreography, and more.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES: CLICK HERE

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Current Members

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Annie Hergott

Director / ringer

I knew ringing handbells was challenging and fun for my elementary music students, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy ringing as an adult. I started ringing to understand how to teach bells, but now I ring and conduct because I enjoy every aspect of this musical moving artform.
In my decade-plus development, I’ve attended and organized bell events across the city, province and country. I’m currently the Past President of ALGEHR (the Alberta Guild of English Handbell Ringers), and a Board Member with the Handbell Guilds of Canada. My highlight was working on the organizing committee for the International Handbell Symposium in Vancouver. I’m currently conducting six amazing adult groups in Calgary.
The creation of the Bow River Handbell Musicians Society is a dream come true, and a passionate new adventure where I can spend my time encouraging others to learn about and experience this great art. Ringing high quality music with a great team fills me with joy. The musical, mental and physical challenges are many, but the reward so great!

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Daniel Chan

My journey with handbells started with my interest in finding a new hobby. Having played the violin for a number of years prior and a brief stint with the Mt. Royal Youth Orchestra, I felt that it was time to try something new. Having no idea what to type in the google search bar, I put in 'bell ringing.' That led me to something completely different! (think hunchback of Notre Dame) Having refined my search to 'handbell ringing', it brought me to a beginner hand bell group -- the one known today as Bell Époque. While ringing in this group for almost a year, I was challenged to go further with my bell ringing -- and that led me to where I am today! I am very glad to be ringing and learning with many experienced ringers in the group and I look forward to what comes next!

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David Miller

bio to come

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Debbie Opinko-Brown

bio to come

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Fiona Miller

I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland.
I began ringing after immigrating to Lethbridge and being entranced by the variety of sounds that the bells could make. I also found it very gratifying to be able to instantly make “a nice sound” even with no experience. I particularly enjoy working with beginning ringers for that reason.
Since 1981, I have been ringing or directing choirs at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.
I was the Director of handbells at Gilbert Paterson Middle School in Lethbridge, Alberta for ten years, until my retirement when I stepped into the co-director’s position. I have been a guest clinician at several handbell workshops throughout North America and love sharing my joy in the making of music.
I have two adult children and a husband who also play handbells, keeping it all in the family. They have occasionally been seen playing quartets amid raucous laughter as they try to avoid each other.
My main passion in life is Scottish Country Dancing and I travel throughout North America as a guest clinician. This also helps to indulge my other passion of travel.
I have been a member of the ALGEHR Board since 2006 and on the HGC Board for the last 9 years.

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Jim Winslett

My family background led me to appreciate music. My parents had a country band, my aunt and cousins had a gospel group, and I played trumpet and flügelhorn in school bands and a jazz band in Texas.
I attended an “introduction to handbells” workshop at a church conference in the early 90s, which led to a congregant donating a set of bells to our church and the music director telling me that I’d need to form and direct the new choir because of my “experience.” That group was HeavenSound in Houston, which I directed for 17 years. Since then, I’ve played in several handbell teams, ensembles, and have done solo work.
I’ve written dozens of handbell arrangements and composed a commissioned work for HeavenSound’s 20th anniversary concert.
In my spare time, I travel the world riding rollercoasters and writing for ElloCoaster, a travel blog.
I moved to Calgary after marrying a Canadian in 2014 and I love my new hometown and playing in both Bow River Bells and Bell Époque!

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Kim Dale

I first tried handbells in my gap year after high school in Nova Scotia. I played trumpet all through junior and senior high and was even in a Canadian Stage Band Championship-winning band (I think it’s called Musicfest now). I had so many wonderful experiences in music that when my high school music teacher, who was also the handbell director, asked me to play handbells, I jumped at the chance to try something new. I played for a couple years, went to university and got engaged. When I asked the music director to play at my wedding, she said she would- if I returned to play handbells. So I did. That was in 1988 and I've been playing ever since. I played in Nova Scotia until I moved back to my hometown, Calgary, in 2017. I joined Belle Époque in January 2018 and I am so glad I did. I later joined Bow River Bells and was very honoured to be asked. I have always said that the only bad thing about playing handbells is that you can't be in the audience watching at the same time.

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Nate Costinak

I started ringing when I was 11 years old at my church's beginner handbell choir in Toronto. Over the course of nine years (that's nearly half of my whole life!), I've played with five different choirs, rung every single bell position from C2 to C8 at least once, and performed with ensembles in a number of eclectic venues. Seeing a handbell choir perform for the first time was such a magical experience for 11-year-old me, and I love being able to make that kind of music every week. There is so much a group of musicians pushing the limits of their own two hands can do, and I'm always learning new things.

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Ritu Hilkewich

bio to come

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Wanda Costinak

I first discovered handbells in Toronto almost a decade ago. We began attending a church that had a handbell choir and the director was welcoming to new ringers starting mid-year. I was hooked from the first swing! I played in the church choir off and on until we moved to Calgary four years later. I played in two different choirs before joining Anne in growing the choirs we have now. I play in both Bow River Bells and Bell Époque and love being part of such a dynamic instrument.
My greatest bell moment was playing at the International Handbell Symposium in Vancouver in 2016. To play with 800 other ringers from around the world and challenge myself musically with international and difficult music was an experience I will never forget.
I am a K-5 music teacher with the CBE and am privileged to share my passion for ringing with my students every year. Ringing teaches teamwork, listening, co-operation, and musicianship – skills that change lives while enjoying beautiful music – simply divine!