Practice nights are electric with anticipation this year, because we're preparing for our first cd. It's a major project that we're sharing with The Inn Ringers, another Staffordshire handbell team. Choosing the 8 pieces to be recorded, (finding the right balance of variety, pace and dynamics, perfecting techniques to show the full range of music we can make with our three and a half octaves ) is a new challenge for us and our director, Wendy.
Shall we use Chimes? Mallets? Thumb damp? Brush damp? Martellato? Echo? Singing bells? Vibrato? Gyro? Tower swing? Pluck? Shake? Ring touch? Each makes a different beautiful sound. Our bells become an orchestra, with depth, surprises, delicate harmonies, rousing rhythms, swiftly changing moods and sounds that make the heart sing.
Audiences watching us sometimes think we're too serious - not smiley enough. Yes, we are, but it's because we're fiercely concentrating. This is like no other music-making, because, in effect we, the team, meld 44 bells into one instrument.
Shall we be able to do justice to this unique instrument, so that people listening will feel the same delight that we feel as we play?
Sue Fraser 1.2.17