– by Connor D, senior –
At the beginning of this 2018-19 school year, Mr. Probus, FBTA alumni, was asked to help revive the academy handbell choir. After a semester of practicing only twice a week, the handbell choir outdid themselves, placing 1st at both the regional and state competitions and advancing further on to the national competition at Bob Jones University, where they placed 2nd out of eleven schools.
“The goal was to be competitive at regionals, but … I knew that I would always want to push everybody to maximize what they’re capable of,” said Mr. Probus, director.
Handbell practices started very early in the school year, with practices on Tuesdays and Fridays an hour before first period.
Despite the early time, the choir members were faithful to arrive to practices. Shortly after learning proper techniques for ringing the bells, the choir delved into more complicated techniques as practices continued. As the competition season came closer, the choir also met for many practices after school and church, as well.
“[The handbell choir] far exceeded my expectations,” said a pleased Mr. Probus following the final results.
The handbell choir continues to meet twice a week, practicing and learning new pieces for upcoming events and the spring concert.
“I have a passion for handbells and I want to see other people share that passion,” said Mr. Probus. “Not only is it a fun instrument that we can play, it’s something that we can use in church, so it’s more than about just playing bells and playing songs. It’s also about serving the Lord.”