The New River Bell Ensemble, a community English handbell group is always looking for new ringers!  Although experience ringing handbells is not required, ability to read music is essential.  Interested persons should contact Tina Cunningham, 276-579-2123, or  Rehearsals are Monday evenings, 7:00-8:30 pm in the Historic 1908 Courthouse Auditorium in Independence.

The New River Bell Ensemble is a community Handbell group under the musical direction by Larissa Venzie.  The NRBE was formed in 2013 through the efforts of Tina Cunningham & Susan Francis Kandies and has performed in Sparta, Independence and Galax.  The NRBE is administered by The Arts & Cultural Council of the Twin Counties.


The Board of Directors of the Arts & Cultural Council of the Twin Counties proudly announces the formation of an exciting new community handbell choir, the New River Bell Ensemble, which will operate under the auspices of The Arts Council.

The Arts Council Board of Directors voted to serve as an incubator and producer for the New River Bell Ensemble which is spearheaded by Tina Cunningham and Susan Kandies.  Executive Director Laura Romanowski believes “the New River Bell Ensemble represents a unique opportunity to broaden the musical landscape of our community.”  The New River Bell Ensemble will be hosting an organizational meeting for anyone interested in the art and unique sound of handbell ringing on Monday, September 30th at 7:00pm.  The meeting will take place upstairs at the Historic 1908 Courthouse in Independence, VA.  If you are interested in playing handbells, whether you are an experienced bell ringer or a novices who wants to learn to ring and can read music, you should plan to attend.

“Our plan for this group is to give public concerts and perform at community events around the region,” said Susan Kandies, co-founder. “We want to promote the art of handbell ringing and share the unique and beautiful sound of bell music.”

Co-founder Tina Cunningham said, “We want to express our appreciation to the Historic 1908 Courthouse Foundation which has graciously provided us with meeting and rehearsal space and the former Grayson Community Theater board who have encouraged and supported our efforts.   “We are very excited about bringing community-based bell ringing to our area and we hope many people will respond to our call for ringers.”

For information on joining the New River Bell Ensemble, please call (276) 579-9856 or contact the Arts Council at 276-238-1217.


The New River Bell Ensemble has launched its first fundraising campaign to purchase additional handbell octave sets. Their current set of bells was purchased through generous donations from the Grayson County Community Theatre and individuals throughout the Twin Counties. In order to expand their repertoire and accommodate the growing roster of ringers, the Ensemble needs to add octave sets of handbells. The goal is to raise $20,000.  Donors at the $250 level and above may dedicate a bell with an engraved sentiment on the bell handle.

To make a donation on-line, please visit fill out the form to the right, if you would like to make a donation by check, please download the form below.

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