By Mark Ambrogi
The Carmel United Methodist Church handbells choir is becoming a fixture at the City of Carmel’s Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony.
For the third consecutive year, the handbells choir will appear at the noon ceremony on April 22 at the Monon Community Center. The hand bells choir is directed by Patricia Bigham and her daughter Veronica.
Veronica, 22, wrote a bell piece when she was 15 with Derek Hakes, who was then the director of handbells at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.
“(Holocaust ceremony) organizers have requested that every year,” Bigham said. “That’s become our signature piece. We play it every year.”
The handbells choir was asked to play two other pieces at the Holocaust ceremony. One is called “On Eagle’s Wings” and the other was written by Hakes.
Bigham said the group has been rehearsing the three pieces since January. The handbells choir usually performs on the third Sunday of each month at all three services.
To make it easier for the group’s preparation, the handbells choir will perform “On Eagle’s Wings” on April 19. They’ve also been rehearsing the piece written by Veronica and Hakes since it has become a traditional Mother’s Day performance at the church. They performed Hakes’ other piece earlier in March.
Veronica started playing the handbells in the second grade. Her mother had started playing in adult group at St. Luke’s.
“It’s become a job, passion, everything pretty much,” Veronica said. “I really enjoy doing it and like to make it more challenging for myself.”
Since the group is short on ringers this year, Bigham said Veronica has to direct and ring at the same time.
“I know I’m her mother, but it’s awesome to watch her,” Bigham said.
Cheri Shockney, a Fishers resident, has been playing the handbells for three years.
“It’s really a privilege to participate in this,” Shockney said. “It’s one of the outings we look forward to.”
Shockney serves as the church organist.
“This is something totally different and it’s a challenge sometimes,” Shockney said. “You are switching from bells to chimes. It keeps you on your toes. You have to react quickly.”
The Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony’s special guest speaker will be Steven Frankovitz, a second-generation survivor