By Katherine Taylor
By the time Randy Olson began to ring out the first notes of a Christmas carol at the First Presbyterian Church of Logan, it was his fifth performance in four days.
As a ringer in the Westminster Bell Choir, Olson is in the middle of the busiest season of the year.
“This is the only time of the year when we’ll have a dozen things booked over a three week period,” said Cathy Ferrand Bullock, a member of the choir who has been ringing since the early ‘80s.
The choir’s schedule is booked in advance and fills up quickly among performances at the Presbyterian church, the Logan Tabernacle, a live nativity and various other events around Cache Valley.
“We were booked solid from about last spring,” Bullock said. “It’s gotten earlier and earlier every year.”
Though the bell choir makes her Christmas season busier, it also helps Bullock remember what the holiday is all about.
“It gets so busy and hectic and you’re just trying to remember what the season is really about,” Bullock said. “So we hope that the music will help us and other people center around Christ’s birth.”
Sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church, the group of about 20 people is interfaith, with ringers from the Presbyterian church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and some members with no religious affiliation.
“We want to provide inspiration for our congregation and everybody in the community,” said Olson, a charter member of the bell choir who has been ringing since 1998. “Christmas music is some of the best music. It resonates so well through the bells. So Christmas is the time we try to do absolutely as much as we possibly can.”
For Olson and the other ringers, the Christmas season brings many events to attend; since each person rings two bells during most performances, an absent ringer means at least two missing notes.
“It’s definitely doable, but it’s day after day with no let-up,” Olson said. “You just focus on it and do it every day for a month.”
For Olson, the considerable time commitment is a small price to pay.
“It’s always worth it. It pays back as you go,” Olson said. “We know that bringing the right music, our best music, is what’s good for the people that hear it. So to us that’s worth it.”