Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
The Big Ring

The Big Ring kicks off red kettle season

Added on Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Written by Julie Borgen, Twin Cities media relations director for The Salvation Army Northern Division. Contact: 612-201-6163

Roseville, Minn.- Just imagine the sound of 700 handbells ringing in the Christmas season together. On Sat. Nov. 19, you can experience it as The Salvation Army and Mall of America® team up to break a Guinness World Record for the largest handbell choir, and kick off the red kettle season. The event has been dubbed “The Big Ring.”

Musicians from 24 states–and a few from Canada–will gather in the Rotunda at MOA® at 11 a.m. to perform an original five-minute piece, while Guinness judges watch.

“It was a labor of love to recruit all these musicians,” said Jennifer Cauhorn, with the Handbell Musicians of America. “Our members jumped at the chance to participate, with people flying in from as far away as Alaska and Florida.”

Following the event, local handbell ensemble Bells of the Lakes will perform a free, hour-long concert in the rotunda (related story).

The previous record of 560 handbell musicians was set in Japan in 2013.

“It will be a thrill to shatter that world record,” said Lt. Col. Lonneal Richardson, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “We hope that this event also reminds people to sign up as volunteer bell ringers, who are a key part of our success at Christmastime.”

Salvation Army red kettles will be out at all Cub stores in the metro area and at Mall of America on Nov. 19. Cub  will match all kettle donations – up to $15,000 – on Saturday.

You can also round up your grocery bill at any Cub store in the metro area Nov. 19-20 and the proceeds will go to The Salvation Army.

Beginning Nov. 25 and ending Dec. 24, Salvation Army kettles will be out at more than 300 locations around the Twin Cities, Monday through Saturday.

The Salvation Army hopes to raise $11.6 million during the 2016 Christmas campaign, with about $3 million of that coming from kettles.

Volunteer bell ringers are critical to their success, with each kettle bringing in an average of $30 an hour. You can sign up to volunteer as a bell ringer quickly and easily online at, or by calling 651-746-3519.

About The Salvation Army

Since 1886 the Twin Cities Salvation Army has been a safety net for thousands of people, providing food, housing, financial assistance and more, without discrimination. Each year we serve 187,000 people in the metro area, providing 3,800 meals daily and sheltering nearly 900 every night. The Salvation Army relies on 20,500 volunteers who give 160,000 hours of service annually. Please join The Salvation Army by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community.


Mall of America (MOA) is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America. At 5.6 million square feet, MOA boasts more than 520 world-class retail stores and restaurants; Nickelodeon Universe, the nation’s largest indoor family theme park featuring 27 rides; SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, home to sharks, sting rays and an amazing underwater tunnel; FlyOver America a 4D immersive flight adventure; Crayola Experience; Rainforest Café; Hard Rock Café; the nation’s longest indoor zip line and an 18-hole mini golf course.

About the Handbell Musicians of America

Handbell Musicians of America is the national organization devoted to uniting people through the musical art of handbell and handchime ringing and to create a diverse community in which handbell musicians of every skill level realize their full potential through a musically-respected art form.

Established in 1954, the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers grew out of the previously established New England Guild of English Handbell Ringers. In 2010, AGEHR became Handbell Musicians of America. Its primary objectives are to promote the exchange of ideas related to handbell and handchime ringing, sponsor educational activities and events for handbell musicians around the world, and inform others about our art. The Guild’s membership of approximately 5,000 includes directors, musicians, composers and arrangers, music publishers, instrument manufacturers and others in the handbell industry.

For more information about Handbell Musicians of America and its mission, please visit