Members of Tintabulations, a high-energy, Reno-based handbell ensemble, perform in a free concert at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 1, at Peace Lutheran Church, in Grass Valley.

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. June 20, 2018 – A spine-tingling experience awaits you with this concert of Tintabulations – a world-class hand-bell ensemble from Reno – at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 1, at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley.

That soul-soaring reverberation that flows through your body after a beautiful bell rings – that’s what the name “Tintabulations” refers to, and that’s what you’ll feel in this unique, high-energy presentation.

“I love the variety of this concert,” said Lake Wildwood resident Becky DeCourten, who travels to Reno each week to practice with the ensemble. Listeners will experience “the variations in sound that make handbells sound like bells in a campanile,” DeCourten added. “It’s like an organ of rich tones, and even like percussion instruments.”

The concert is free, and a reception will follow. Any donations received will benefit Tintabulations.

The ensemble’s surprisingly broad repertoire includes arrangements of Galt MacDermot’s “Aquarius”/”Let the Sunshine In,” George Handel’s “Passacaglia,” The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” and the 19th-century Shaker tune “A Simple Dance.”

Ringers put on a show beyond the music they create, DeCourten promised. “Watch for the different techniques used by the handbell ringers and how much each of the ringers enjoys performing,” she said. “It is a blast to play with musicians who thoroughly enjoy what they do!”

Tintabulations is a Reno-based choir whose members range from university students to retirees. All of them are passionate about hand-bells, traveling from as far as Chester, Bishop and Carnelian Bay to practice each week.

This season marks Tintabulations’ 21st year, and members call this jaunt across two states their “Coming of Age Tour.” Renown has spread, and the ensemble recently was invited to perform in Denmark, organizers said.

The ensemble’s name derives from the rarely heard noun “tintinnabulation.” It refers to the lingering sound of a bell that has rung and stems from the Latin noun “tintinnabulum,” or bell, according to Merriam-Webster. The related Latin verb “tinnire” means “to ring” and is related to the more common word “tinnitus,” the medical word for ringing in the ear, according to writer and Oxford English Dictionary contributor Michael Quinion (

Handbells themselves were invented in late 17th-century England as a tool for church-bell ringers to practice outside of the bell tower.

Peace Lutheran Church – which has its own bell choir that performs during Sunday worship – is at 828 W. Main St., near downtown Grass Valley. Learn more at or call (530) 273-9631.

Trina Kleist is outreach coordinator for Peace Lutheran Church.