PITTSBURG — Four local bell choir groups will come together next week to host an annual mass bell festival.

Bells of the Balkans, Pitt Press, Donna Lyerla Group, St. John Ringers, and soloist Terry Cox will perform at 7:30 p.m. June 2 at the Bicknell Center. Admission is $5.

“We wanted an opportunity to do a massed festival because bigger cities do it all the time, so we thought ‘why not Pittsburg,’” Bells of the Balkans Press Secretary Phillis Scorse said. “We knew these other churches had bell choirs, so why not bring them all together?”

Each choir will perform one or two pieces individually, followed by three pieces in which every group occupies the stage at once.

“When you put everyone together en masse, Pittsburg gets to hear that, and a lot of people didn’t even know we had any bell choirs, let alone four of them that all come together,” Scorse said.

Bells of the Balkans Director Janis Saket emphasized the diversity among the various groups.

“One group is doing one with narration, while another is doing easy listening-style pop music,” Saket said. “Bells of the Balkans is doing a little bit of everything.”

The concert will feature classic tunes such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Simple Gifts,” “Wade in the Water,” and “The Old Rugged Cross.”

“It’ll be an experience where, if you haven’t heard it before, it will open your eyes to a new dimension,” Saket said. “I think people like it after they’ve heard a little bit of it — we don’t say we know what we like, but rather we like what we know.”

Scorse discussed the niche these bell choirs fill within the community.

“For Pittsburg to have a quality bell choir like we have is a unique thing for the size of this town,” she said. “The people who do this bring a new life and a new level, so it’s important for people to just support the fact that they’re willing to put their time and effort into this.”

 — Brandon Schmitz is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be reached at bschmitz@morningsun.net.