Bells on Temple Square to welcome the holidays with annual concert

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The Bells on Temple Square may not be as well known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but it certainly has a lot of talent to offer music lovers this holiday season.

A shot of the famous Christmas lights at Temple Square. The bells on Temple Square help ring in the Christmas season. (Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom)
A shot of the famous Christmas lights at Temple Square. The bells on Temple Square help ring in the Christmas season. (Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom)

A November performance will offer concertgoers the unique opportunity to see the Bells in the spotlight. The Bells on Temple Square is a 28-piece (hand bell) choir formed in 2005 to accompany the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, both in concerts and appearing on “Music and the Spoken Word.” The Bells do, however, have a concert season of their own, performing yearly in the spring and the fall.

Scott Barrick, the general manager for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, said it is a unique experience to see the Bells perform.

“There are very few opportunities for the concert public to see an ensemble as large as the Bells on Temple Square and playing as many different bell instruments as they will see in this particular concert,” Barrick said.

This year’s fall program is titled “Holiday Reflections.” The bell choir will perform traditional hymns, classical arrangements and holiday pieces.

Some of the pieces to be performed include “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” “Come, Ye Children of the Lord” and “Finlandia.” Holiday offerings include well-known pieces like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Ding, Dong, Merrily on High.” However, this concert is particularly unique due to the challenging nature of some pieces. According to Barrick, the concert includes songs and arrangements that are more difficult than any performed by the Bells in the past. 

“This concert will feature a much higher level of virtuosity from the Bells, which we are really looking forward to seeing and hearing,” Barrick said.

The shows have consistently proven popular with the community. In fact, the tickets for last year’s fall performances were distributed in just one day. LeAnna Willmore, conductor of the Bells on Temple Square, explained there is good reason for that.

“It is unimaginable how such beautiful and intricate sounds can be made with 35 talented bell ringers playing 192 bells and 180 chimes of various sizes and pitches unless you see and hear it,” Willmore said. “It will most certainly provide a wonderful evening of entertainment.”

The Bells on Temple Square will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 and 16 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Children ages 8 and older are welcome to attend. Shows are expected to run 90 minutes.

“I think the hand bells have a really unique sound, and it’s something that you can’t really replicate,” said Christina Loken, a film major at BYU. “It’s something you have to see live to see how much skill and precision it really takes.”

Tickets are complimentary and may be obtained by calling (801) 570-0080 or by visiting lds.org/events.

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