In Concert: Virginia Bronze

New Year's Day
Jan. 1, 2023  |  3:30-4:15pm (Eastern)

St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square

1525 H St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

Ring in the New Year with the scintillating harmonies of Virginia Bronze – festival favorites and the region’s premier handbell ensemble. Across hundreds of bronze bells, expect rich acoustics and soul-stirring melodies as the 16-member ensemble performs new and beloved pieces.

Each performance by Virginia Bronze is characterized by thoughtful musical selections and fascinating insights into the world of handbells.

"The British are coming!"

What music will you hear this New Year's Day? We've curated a wonderful program themed to our 2023 spotlight nation: the United Kingdom. You'll be treated to familiar British favorites, as well as captivating new pieces selected especially for the occasion. 

Suspended above it all is the 200-year-old bell within St. John's steeple, cast by the son of one of America's legendary founding fathers – Paul Revere – whose swift midnight ride gave advanced notice to patriots of the approaching British forces.

History and faith ring to life at St. John's.

From its organization as a parish in 1815 until today, St. John’s Church has been a powerful symbol of faith in the heart of our nation’s capital. St. John’s was designed at a stately location directly in front of the White House by noted architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Perched above this 'church of the presidents' rings a bell of historical significance.

The bell in St. John’s steeple weighs nearly 1,000 lbs. It was cast by Paul Revere’s son, Joseph, at his Boston foundry in August 1822, and installed November 30, 1822. President James Monroe authorized a $100 contribution of public funds toward its purchase, as it also served as an alarm bell for the neighborhoods and public buildings in the vicinity of the church.

St. John’s bell is one of two Revere bells in Washington, both cast and installed in churches during 1822. However, of the two, St. John’s bell is the only one that has been in continuous service since its installation.

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Meet the Artists: Virginia Bronze

As a premier handbell ensemble just across the river from our nation’s capital, Virginia Bronze has performed with the Washington Chorus, the Cathedral Choral Society, Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., and the Alexandria Symphony. The ringers have been presented at the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Music Center at Strathmore, and are artists-in-residence at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.

Virginia Bronze performs on 7 octaves of Schulmerich handbells (85 bells: C2-C9); 5 octaves of Malmark Choirchimes® (61 chimes: C3-C8); 2 octaves of Schulmerich Silver Melody Bells® (25 bells: C5-C7) and 3 octaves of Petit & Fritsen handbells. The choir is under the direction of Brian Seemann.