On July 14, the Handbell Choir from St. Augustine Lutheran Church, Gotha, Germany performed for Bethany Village residents and other guests. The students performed from a selection of more than seventeen songs. The audience was so big for the Bethany performance, it was standing room only! While in the United States, the choir will perform in front of 12 different Lutheran congregations in Ohio.
The choir was founded in 1987 through the efforts of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Dayton. Pastor Larry Hoffsis, Epiphany’s Senior Pastor at the time, his wife and a member of the congregation presented the handbells to St. Augustine Church and provided a week-long instruction on hand bell ringing. Pastor Hoffsis now serves as the mission integration consultant for Graceworks Lutheran Services. Bethany Village is sponsored by Graceworks Lutheran Services.
In the ensuing years, the choir developed a wonderful reputation for musical excellence. They were chosen by the State of Thuringia where the students reside to be its representative at the World’s Fair – Hanover 2000.
The Deputy Mayor of Centerville, Brooks Compton and City Council member, John Beals, attended the concert. They presented each guest from Gotha a lapel pin and an official certificate making them an honorary citizen of Centerville, Ohio.