Rining in the holiday spirit

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on December 14, 2011 with No Comments

It is a joyful noise, to be sure

Every year, the children of Hobart’s TrinityLutheranSchool, under the direction of Ruth Jelneck, celebrate the season with handbell choir concerts, 

The Children’s Handbell Choir: Alyssa Malik, Maddie Malik, Mikayla Siroky, Faith cox, Ally Clare, McKayla deLeon, Olivia Huling, Alexa Mitchell, Meagn Kiser. Adult helpers: Vickie Gruhlke, Patty Johnson.

The senior Handbell Choir: Valerie McBride, Patty Johnson, Katie Johnson, Stephanie Trama, Cathy Knox, Nancy Lashenik, Ruth Ann Krause, Hollye Blossom, Janet Herick, Cathy Poegel, Deb Wesley and Nick Wesley.

This year’s public shows are Saturday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m.

Accompanying them will be the Senior Vocal Choir. TrinityLutheranChurch is at 900 Luther Drive.

At a recent practice, Jelneck’s command of her young charges was evident. Interspersed with references to “brain freeze” and how “difficult” a just-completed song had been is the fact she absolutely runs the show.

All eyes are on her. All attention is given to the right tones at the right moments coming together in concert for the wonderful results.

Each participant wears white gloves and for more than effect.

Some of these bells can cost $800 (each),” Jelneck said.

“So, if you touch them, your natural skin oils can leave a dark spot. It can even happen if you breathe on them to hard. So we have a devoted team of many hands who come in and polish them with brass polish.”

As with her teaching at the school, Jelneck says this devotion to music is a “calling” she answered back in 1984. One year later, she started the bell choirs (there are adults who play as well) and has not stopped.

Along the way, she attended ValparaisoUniversity where she received her Master’s in Music Education. The congregation, grateful for her service, paid the tuition.

In her more than two decades’ of service, she had never failed to fill a full group for the children’s choir. There are first-, second- and third-year participants, with the older ones helping the younger ones in a natural progression.

“They are all dedicated,” Jelneck said. “They want to be here.”

As with her teaching, part of that dedication surely comes from the teacher. They see her in the hallways, have her for Social Studies and Music education and generally feel safe and secure around her.

So, when it comes time for music, There is no doubt they will follow her lead.

“Every week, I learn something from them,” Jelneck said. Together, we are always learning, always perfecting what we do.

“I teach with a passion and they respond. So, if I say ‘This is the way we’re gonna do it.’ There is no doubt.

“The see I am knowledgeable, They know my passion. God has blessed me with this gift of being able to teach.

“Sometimes, we just follow the music. Other times, the teacher has to direct. I expect them to listen and they expect to listen.”

She enjoys teaching in a Christian school, of applying Bible lessons to every day life, of making the children aware of the need for understanding all religions and incorporating such religious experiences into life.

“We even used the Koran,” she said. “We do not exclude ay thoughts.

“When I teach Social Studies, I will use Bible passages to show the connection to the students. We are here to praise God. .

She says, ever since she was called to this by God, she knew teaching was the right vocation for her.

“I have doing this so long it is now my life,” she said. “It is joyful.”

Trinity LutheranSchool is at 891 S. Linda St. For more information on the school and its offerings, call 219-942-3147.

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About Mike Siroky

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the chronicleNWI.com

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