By Mattie Banzhaf, Director of Music
Our Handbell Ringers have added a new member, and she’s coming up to speed fast! Lynn Jaeger is a teacher at Granby High School. She was enlisted by Gary Gotberg who enthusiastically encouraged her to give bells a try. All the ringers around Lynn have been tremendously friendly and helpful, explaining techniques and sharing tips. Bell-ringing looks deceptively simple, but there are subtleties of holding and manipulating the bell that creates the resonant sound. Even the rhythm of ringing involves peripheral vision and careful listening so each ringer is in sync with the others. By now our previous “newest member,” Steve Miltimore, feels like an old hand.
How does it feel to be a member of the Handbell Ringers or the Choir? After getting over the uncertainty as a “newbie,” gradually the group-feeling takes over. Warmups build group awareness, using peripheral vision to keep the same beat in handbells, and focused listening to stay on pitch in choir. You learn to sense how your part fits in with the others, not being invisible or sticking out too much but blending into the harmony. Watching the conductor is another key skill, and the mood and dynamics of each phrase are directed and encouraged so that all ringers or singers are truly part of the whole. Our choir and ringers are part of our congregation. The intensity and jubilation are shared with listeners. In fact, as often as possible, the text of the choir’s anthem, even the title and tunes of the ringers’ pieces, are echoed in the scripture and sermon. We’re all in this together! The handbells next play in church on March 10!
There will be special music at each service on March 17 for Celtic Sunday. At 8:30 Viv Hunter will play the uillean pipes, a smaller, quieter Celtic form of bagpipes. Then fiddler Julie Senter joins us at the 10:00 service with traditional Irish fiddle tunes.
Calendar Note: There are two more concerts on this year’s Bruce Porter Memorial Music Series. Mark your calendar for: March 10, The Hartt School of Music Chorale and Chamber Choir; and April 28, a Baroque Ensemble, both at 4:00 PM. Come support our series!
Please contact Mattie if you would like more information on any of the above: [email protected]