Gem State Students Ring Message of God's Love
Hands flashed and bells sounded as an eight-person team of Gem State Adventist Academy (GSAA) students regaled their audience with another fine performance. “Playing five octaves of bells and three octaves of chimes is usually a 12- to 13-person job," said Ben Purvis, GSAA music director, "but this group took up the challenge and plays better than many full groups.”
The major focus and goal of the group is to ring the message of God’s love. This year the Gem State handbell ensemble has performed by special invitation for the local Lions Club, Pacific Press, Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church and the ASI convention in Sun Valley. The group has also toured extensively in Utah, Eastern Oregon and much of Idaho and next year will tour through Montana and Alberta, Canada.
“Most of the group has been together for three years, and this has given us the opportunity to meld and grow close. This makes tours together a ton of fun,” said Emily Kurlinkski, Gem State junior and bell ringer.
Gem State handbell ringers have also been a big part of the Cool Ringings handbell and chimes festival held for fifth through eighth graders each January. “We couldn’t put on the festival without our talented handbell team,” said Purvis.
The festival has created a lot of interest and training among kids coming into their freshman year at Gem State. “Because of the huge amount of interest, we may have a beginners and advanced group next year," says Purvis. “Helping our kids share their talents for Christ is a very rewarding way to spend my day.”