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The National Bell Festival will host a New Year’s Day concert at St. John’s in celebration of our 1822 Revere bell. The concert will feature the 16-member ensemble Virginia Bronze, the premiere bell choir in our area. Admission is free. Registration and details available here:
Details from bells.org:
Ring in the New Year with the scintillating harmonies of Virginia Bronze – festival favorites and the region’s premier handbell ensemble. Across hundreds of bronze bells, expect rich acoustics and soul-stirring melodies as the 16-member ensemble performs new and beloved pieces.
Each performance by Virginia Bronze is characterized by thoughtful musical selections and fascinating insights into the world of handbells.
“The British are coming!”
What music will you hear this New Year’s Day? We’ve curated a wonderful program themed to our 2023 spotlight nation: the United Kingdom. You’ll be treated to familiar British favorites, as well as captivating new pieces selected especially for the occasion.
Suspended above it all is the 200-year-old bell within St. John’s steeple, cast by the son of one of America’s legendary founding fathers – Paul Revere – whose swift midnight ride gave advanced notice to patriots of the approaching British forces.
History and faith ring to life at St. John’s:
From its organization as a parish in 1815 until today, St. John’s Church has been a powerful symbol of faith in the heart of our nation’s capital. St. John’s was designed at a stately location directly in front of the White House by noted architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Perched above this ‘church of the presidents’ rings a bell of historical significance.
The bell in St. John’s steeple weighs nearly 1,000 lbs. It was cast by Paul Revere’s son, Joseph, at his Boston foundry in August 1822, and installed November 30, 1822. President James Monroe authorized a $100 contribution of public funds toward its purchase, as it also served as an alarm bell for the neighborhoods and public buildings in the vicinity of the church.
St. John’s bell is one of two Revere bells in Washington, both cast and installed in churches during 1822. However, of the two, St. John’s bell is the only one that has been in continuous service since its installation.
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