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Good News Bells


Good News Bells

Article title

Musical ensemble of chimes from Kateřinice and Ratibor


From the Southminster Bell Ringers to the Zelowskie Dzwonki to the Good News Bells

The Southminster Ringers music ensemble was founded 50 years ago in 1969 by Thomas C. Flynn at Southminster Presbyterian Church located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon. The first team consisted of 8 young people who were interested in playing bells. Over the years, the number of bell ringers has increased. Currently the team consists of 14 high school students who rehearse 2 hours each week and give many performances in the local area. In addition to this, they serve regularly at worship services. The Southminster Handbell Ringers have a varied repertoire including classical and popular tunes, folk songs, seasonal tunes and pieces written specifically for high school handbells. The Southminster Ringers travel abroad every two years and their mission extends beyond the church. The theme of their tour is "Ringing in Christ." Their playing reaches people of many different cultures, countries and social backgrounds. They have toured the United States, Canada, and many European countries, including the Czech Republic. Mr. Richard Pinkerton is now the conductor (director) of the Southminster Ringers. He is Minister of Music and Fine Arts at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, where he is in charge of the vocal and instrumental program, handbells, tower bells, and is the organist.

Zelowskie Dzwonki - Zelowskie Dzwonki

In 1992, the Southminster Ringers came to Zelów, Poland, where they gave several concerts. Because they liked the town and the people who lived there, they decided to come again. A second visit took place in 1998. The bell ringers stayed for 4 days, gave concerts in various places and offered to help form an ensemble in Zelów. For this reason, the pastor, J. Wiera Jelinek, and her daughter Ewa went to Pittsburgh to learn to play the bells and to conduct. In 1999, 20 years ago, a new handbell ensemble was founded - Zelowskie Dzwonki, the first of its kind in Central Europe, which still thrives today, even though Mrs. Jelinek no longer lives in Zelów.

Good News Bells

In 2010, Mrs. J. Wiera Jelinek and her husband Mr. Miroslaw Jelinek moved to the Czech Republic, where they work as ministers of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in the congregations in Ratibor and Kateřinice. Because they did not want to forget their work with handbells, which was so successful in Zelów, they found enthusiastic people not only from both congregations and villages, but also from other places in the Czech Republic, raised the necessary money to buy the bells and founded a society under the name Zvonky Dobré zprávy. They also found young people who were willing to learn to play the bells. Thus was born the musical ensemble Zvonky Dobré zprávy, the only one of its kind in the Czech Republic.

The ensemble was founded on July 6, 2011 at the International Handbell Camp in Kateřinice with the help of the Southminster Ringers and Mr. Pinkerton, who brought bells from the United States and began teaching our children. After their departure, Pastor Jelinek took over the duties of leader and conductor of the ensemble. Since the beginning of the ensemble, during the 8 years of its existence, the ZDZ has had a large number of concerts and performances in various parts of our country. Among the most important concerts are those held in the Senate of the Czech Republic, the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, the Ministry of Regional Development, the Ministry of Culture, the Bethlehem Chapel and other places. They have also performed in a cave in the Moravian Karst, visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg and toured Germany, Poland, Hungary and Vienna. The last major event was the 2019 summer tour of the USA. The ensemble has been very successful. Wherever the ringers go, they bring not only beautiful music but also a spiritual word to accompany the concerts, which are given by Pastor Jelinek.

The registered association Bells of Good News

In the spring of 2011, a civic association (subsequently: registered association) was founded, which set itself the programme objectives defined in its statutes. (The founding of the civic association took place on 26 March 2011, the date of the founding of the musical ensemble Zvonky Dobré zprávy is 6 July 2011.)

In the preamble, the association claims to the educational, pedagogical and spiritual legacy of Jan Amos Comenius and further defines the association's efforts to lead youth, regardless of denomination, to cooperation, mutual respect, study and the ability to realize humanitarian ideals also in an international forum. The musical ensemble of handbells has proved to be an ideal form for a completely informal education. The youth have learned to listen to each other, to synchronize their solos with others, and are learning to apply these "musical" habits in their personal performances.

ZDZ's registered society awards an annual "Messenger of Good News" prize, the first recipients being Richard Pinkerton for 2012 and the ensemble's chief conductor, J. Wiera Jelinek, for 2013. The artwork for the award was given by the renowned glass master Valér Kováč. ZDZ, z.s. also awards the "Patron of the Year of the Bells of Good News". This award was given to two municipalities, Kateřinice and Ratiboř for 2017 and Richard Pinkerton for 2018.

We are very pleased to introduce the founding members of ZDZ, z.s., they are. Mirosław Jelinek (Vice President), Mgr. J. Wiera Jelinek (Conductor 2011-2018), Mgr. Růžena Hříbková (recorder and interpreter), Mgr. Pavel Čáp (recorder), Emilie Kamasová (cashier), RNDr. Dušan Zápalka (accountant), Michaela Zelenková (designer of the emblem and reviser), Ing. Vojtěch Zubíček, Ph.D. (auditor), Mgr. Šárka Muchová, Mgr. Ewa Jelinek, Mgr. Pavel Smetana and Mgr. Jan Bistranin (members).

FIO-Bank account number: 2400874232/2010

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