Go See The Raleigh Ringers At Chautauqua

CHAUTAUQUA – Chautauqua Institution’s nine-week summer season is under way.

As usual, the season features many programs, including evening programs, that are worth seeing.

One that is particularly good may not catch your attention if you glance quickly through the Chautauqua calendar.

You may not recognize the name or know what the performance entails.

Regardless of how often you visit the institution during summer seasons – once a week, once a season, once a decade – you’d do well to go on Wednesday evening, July 13, for the Raleigh Ringers.


The Raleigh Ringers.

Who are they?

The Raleigh Ringers are a handbell choir from North Carolina’s capital city.

They’re not only very good at what they do but also very entertaining.

Even if you’re the type who might nod off at an evening concert, you likely won’t nod off at this one. It won’t soothe you to sleep.

If you’ve seen a handbell choir perform – maybe at your local house of worship – you know what handbell choirs do.

The main instruments are, obviously, handbells. Chimes are also common. Other instruments can be part of a handbell choir as well.

Many other instruments can play multiple notes. Think, for example, of a piano keyboard, with each octave having eight – that’s why it’s called an “octave” – white keys and five black keys.

Yet with handbells and chimes, each instrument plays one note.

Each choir member plays multiple bells and – when the music calls for them – chimes.

As a music professor once explained, these are percussion instruments, and the trick is not to pound the sound into the instrument but to pull it out.

The Raleigh Ringers pull the sound out extraordinarily well. If you haven’t seen them, and even if you have, you’ll be glad you went on Wednesday evening, July 13.

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There are many more events sponsored by the institution itself, and some by Section 501(c)(3) organizations, legally separate from the institution.

One such organization is the Chautauqua Women’s Club, which has many programs, including many different kinds of programs too numerous to catalog in a column including other topics. The schedule is on the club’s website: https://www.chautauquawomensclub.org.

Another such organization is Advocates for Balance at Chautauqua or ABC.

ABC was formed in 2018. Its mission is “to achieve a balance of speakers in a mutually civil and respectful environment consistent with the historic mission of Chautauqua” Institution.

ABC has seven speakers scheduled for the 2022 season.

On June 27, syndicated columnist, writer, and national-radio-talk-show host Hugh Hewitt kicked off the season with a talk on current issues.

Other 2022 ABC speakers are Paul Kengor on July 11, John Rosemond on July 18, Molly Hemmingway on July 19, Dr. Carol Miller Swain on July 25, Jason Riley on Aug. 8, and Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson on Aug. 15. Further information on the speakers is at https://www.abcatchq.com.

ABC events begin at 3 p.m. in the Athenaeum Hotel parlor.

Hewitt, who said his radio-talk show has 7.5 million audience members each week, looked ahead to the 2022 congressional elections, called inflation the number-one issue, and – as for the results – said “the cake is already baked” in the elections for the U.S. House of Representatives.

As for the U.S. Senate, Hewitt said Republicans need to hold seats in North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and should primarily aim to pick up seats in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, and perhaps even Washington.

Looking ahead to 2024, Hewitt has talked with Donald Trump and doesn’t know whether he’ll run for president again. However, Hewitt predicts Joe Biden won’t run again.

Asked about his support for Trump, Hewitt said a presidential election is “a binary choice” and “it’s all about the Supreme Court.”

At First Lutheran Church in Jamestown, Randy Elf is a member of the handbell choir, which played at his and his wife’s wedding and, as he said at the reception, “knocked it out of the park.” He could have said that was probably because the handbell choir gave him the day off.



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