Ruth Brewster’s passion and excitement about music is contagious. She began singing at the age of two or three and has been part of the Ensemble and Sanctuary Choirs since joining BelPres almost 13 years ago. Ruth officially joined BelPres as Director of Handbells in Spring of 2014 and previously volunteered as the director from 2003- 2007 and 2010 until she was brought on staff last spring. In honor of the dedication and zest she brings to the program, we recognize her as February’s Secret Servant!
“Ruth has been the ‘light keeper’ for the handbell program, continually engaging people, recruiting new and younger members so that it is truly intergenerational, choosing the music to challenge and delight the players, and generally being at once drill sergeant and cheerleader to them all. Ruth is a small dynamo who has been able to keep the BelPres Handbells ringing along for many, many years!” says Music Associate Karen Nelson.
While hand bells were not Ruth’s first instrument, they have held a special place in her heart since she began ringing in the mid-1980s.
When asked, “Why handbells?”, Ruct explains: “[Handbells] are something people can do. I’ve had many people come to me and say, I’ve always wanted to do something with music, but I’m not musical. Can I do this?’ Sure!”
Ruth emphasizes the importance of sharing handbells with all ages. The Handbell Choir has performed at Jubilee Reach and Ruth taught the Bellevue Youth Symphony Camp how to play handbells during the summer months. Several of the children enjoyed ringing so much they not only joined the Bel Pres Handbells, but for many it was the first time they had stepped into a church.
“I plant seeds. You leave it up to the Holy Spirit to increase the seed. But that’s how l plant the seed. We are always looking for new ringers to join us,” says Ruth. “Ruth has an innate ability to make room for all levels of players while still pushing the group for their best. She has a kind heart, a firm hand, and a nice strong downbeat. She packs a lot of energy into her small frame and brings her best every single time she is on the podium,” explains Karen.
Ruth, thank you for continuing to share your passion and love for music with the BelPres community!