The seven women stood behind a long table. Their shiny brass handbells were arranged in front of them, smallest to largest in size, highest to deepest in notes. Cathy Miles stepped to the music stand, raised her arms and the concert began.
They performed in the auditorium, not the sanctuary. They wore regular street clothes, not clerical robes. Instead of hymns, they rang "Over the Rainbow" and "Amazing Grace." But on a brisk Saturday last month, at Loch Raven United Methodist Church's annual arts festival, its Memorial Handbell Choir showed that the music is enchanting whatever the setting, a distinctive sound like none other.