SIOUX CITY | The 37th annual Twelfth Night Handbell Festival (so named because it's 12 days after Christmas) returns to Central Baptist Church at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Eleanor Tasker, an organizer of the Twelfth Night since she started it all those years ago, said the concert had to be held at a different locale last year because of a plumbing catastrophe.

"A year ago, last year, we had to do it at Eppley (Auditorium) at Morningside," Tasker said. "Because, we usually perform at Central Baptist Church, and last year Central Baptist had a big flood in their church. A pipe broke under the stage, and it flooded out the whole first floor."

This year, things are back to normal and the show is back at Central Baptist, 4001 Indian Hills Drive. Tasker said last month people were already excited about the show.

"People in town know it, I mean they know this is coming up," Tasker said. "They're already calling and asking, 'Are you going to have it this year?'"

Except for this annual performance, it's a rare thing to see a large bell choir concert in Sioux City.

"Handbells are really not all that prevalent around here," she said.

Veronica Walker, the director of the First United Methodist Church handbell choir, said even though Christmas is over, holiday music will be alive and well at Twelfth Night.

"We're doing a couple of Christmas numbers, and then we're doing some traditional hymns," Walker said.

Five churches will be represented, with roughly 80 ringers in all. The performing choirs include Grace United Methodist of Sioux City, St. John's Lutheran of Sioux City, First United Methodist of Sioux City, First Presbyterian of Sioux City and Associated Church of Hawarden.

Attendance is free, but because there are some expenses associated with putting on the concert, donations are accepted.

"Never charged a dime," Tasker said. "Once in a while we'll pass the plate."

Most years, quite a few people show up to watch the concert. Tasker said there are normally several hundred people in attendance.

And the performers try not to disappoint.

"These are professionals," Tasker said.


Lifestyles reporter

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