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Toledo First Church Hosts Ninth Annual Ring Fest

By Beth Michaels

More than 120 students from 13 Seventh-day Academies recently converged at the Toledo First church in Ohio for the ninth annual Ring Fest. Representing grades 4 through 12, the students came from Michigan, Illinois, and as far away as Georgia. Representing the Columbia Union were Blue Mountain Academy (BMA) in Hamburg, Pa.; C.F. Richards Junior Academy in Staunton, Va.; Mount Vernon Academy (MVA) in Mt. Vernon, Ohio; Shenandoah Valley Academy (SVA) in New Market, Va.; Spencerville Adventist Academy (SAA) in Silver Spring, Md.; and Toledo (Ohio) Junior Academy (TJA).

With the goal of erasing conference boundaries and providing a quality workshop for both student musicians and directors, Toledo First members William and Janell Ashley launched Ring Fest in 2000. Now the event is the only one of its kind in the world.

“It’s so amazing that they do this,” said attending parents John and Clydina Anbiah, whose son, Christopher, is an SAA junior, a Chesapeake Conference day academy. “The kids really learn a lot and take a lot of pride in it. It’s absolutely glorious when they play” added the members of Potomac Conference’s Burnt Mills church in Silver Spring, Md.

Emily Taylor, a senior at SVA and a sixth-year participant at Ring Fest, looks forward to attending each year. “Hearing so many bell choirs play together, and just the final product, is great!” she comments. “And I’ve gotten to know people from lots of other schools. It creates a lot of good memories.”

Also taking the opportunity to reach out to the community, the participating young musicians will spend the next two months fundraising for the local chapter of the National Kidney Foundation. Added to goodwill offering taken at the Ring Fest’s final concert, the donations will help the more than 3,500 people in Northwest Ohio living with kidney disease.

Read more in the December issue of Visitor magazine.