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Top handbell ensemble performs in Duluth

Members of Strikepoint pose in the Three Brothers Chapel of First United Methodist Church. Front row: Jeff Finlon, Ramona Radosevich, Parker Hinnenkamp. Middle: Libby Gaalaas, Bret Pedersen, Abe Diaz, Erin Martens. Back row: Jen Hinnenkamp, Nancy Eaton, Cindy Alexander, Bill Alexander. (Photo submitted)

First United Methodist Church (Coppertop) is holding a concert with all the bells and whistles — or at least all the bells.

Strikepoint, FUMC’s handbell ensemble, will perform 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 31 at the church, 230 E. Skyline Pkwy. in Duluth. This is the final performance of their 2014 summer concert tour.

The group was established in 1984 and has been touring annually since 1986. Their travels have taken them to England, Scotland, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Hawaii and throughout the mainland U.S., with performances in four national capitals, three National Handbell directors’ seminars, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Crystal Cathedral and Disneyland.

Strikepoint rings 76 bronze Schulmerich handbells, 25 Silver Melody Bells, 36 Schulmerich Melody Chimes, as well as a wide variety of percussion and other instruments. The 11-member, directorless ensemble is unique among touring handbell groups as a combination church/community and youth/adult group. Bill Alexander, a nationally known handbell clinician and conductor, is the ensemble’s leader.

Strikepoint is noted for capturing the enthusiasm of audiences with its dynamic style and accessible music. Program selections can range from flowing Bach to a rocking Beach Boys tune, and include both familiar and new music. Reviews of Strikepoint concerts have praised their “athleticism and showmanship, not to mention musicality” with an “exceptionally creative bent!”

Strikepoint’s recordings have been featured on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Morning Show,” American Public Radio’s “Schickele Mix” and other nationally broadcast programs. Their newest recording, “Reflections,” was released in December 2012.

Admission is free, but a $10 donation is suggested.