It isn’t often that we have the time to really polish the bells. We had that luxury last Friday, with the block schedule. I allowed some people to take pictures of the bells after Jamie did such a fantastic job of arranging them in order. Thanks to Megan, Katelan, and Alexa for sending me great pictures. It really was worth all the effort.
Archive for the “Handbells” Category
26 04 2013
I’m not sure why I have gone so long without blogging. It may have been because, with Ms. Morton teaching, we didn’t have some of the class discussions that tend to trigger blog posts. It may be that I’ve been a bit distracted, since a lot of my spare time has been taken up with the arrangements for my daughter’s wedding, which will take place before the end of school. Whatever the reason, it’s time to write again.
The last day of school for all of you is June 6th, which is six weeks from yesterday. That’s not that far off, is it? And the last day of school for me, forever, is June 7th. I am looking forward to retiring, but I will definitely miss all of you. But I know that it’s the right time for me to do this, and now that Ms. Bennett has hired Ms. Morton to be your teacher next year, I know that I am leaving you in good hands. And I will be around. I told Ms. Morton that I’m not going to be here looking over her shoulder, but if she has questions or needs help with anything, I will be glad to help.
Between now and the end of the year, however, we have a lot of work to do. Here is a list of upcoming performances:
National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony: May 8th. This is a handbell performance.
Fifth grade articulation (when next year’s sixth graders visit): May 16th. Handbells and Concert Chorus.
Spring Concert: May 23rd. Beginning and Concert Choruses and Handbells. This is the biggie! And, since it’s my last spring concert, it will be very special.
8th grade awards: June 3rd, at Wellington High School. Concert Chorus.
6th and 7th grade awards assemblies: June 5th, during the day at WLMS. Handbells.
Boy, that’s a lot to squeeze into the next five weeks. Are you ready?
27 02 2013
I love to play with Wordles. They are word clouds that you can create online. I made one today with the titles of some of our handbell songs. I haven’t figured out how to save it in a larger size, but you can see the full size one here.
29 01 2013
We had fun in General Music today, learning about handbells and playing them a bit as we learned more about rhythm, and a bit about pitch and melody, too. We’ll try to get to the handbell room again soon.
In the meantime, I thought you might like to watch some videos of handbells. I talked about the Raleigh Ringers, who are probably the best handbell group around. There are several videos of them on Youtube, but my favorite is Flight of the Bumblebee. This is a classical piece of music, but if you watch the video, you’ll see that they have a lot of fun with it. You can also hear them performing one of everybody’s favorites, Don’t Stop Believin’, although this isn’t the greatest video.
Wellington Landings Ringers are on YouTube, too. We had a couple dads who uploaded videos that you might like: Just Dance, the Lady Gaga song, that we performed last year at Seminole Ridge High School, and a piece called Celebration, which we did last year at our winter concert. The video is pretty shaky, but the sound is good.
I hope you all continue to enjoy handbells, and will think about signing up for the class next year. We want to keep our program going, but we can’t if people don’t sign up.
25 01 2013
Thank you to our Wellington Landings Ringers for a great performance yesterday at our Super STARR assembly. We have gotten so many compliments from other teachers. I think that this was the first time Mr. Wilbur heard us play, because he told me that we sounded a lot better than he had expected! Even this morning, teachers have come up to me, asking me to pass along their compliments to you for a job well done.
So, we’re moving on. We’ll put Pirates away for a while, and look at some new music. And, next week, Ms. Morton will begin teaching your class.
03 10 2012
This isn’t the Fantasia for Handbells that we have been ringing in third period. This is the music that most of you know as Fantasia, specifically the section known as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, with Mickey Mouse. If you follow this link, you will hear it played by a group called Bells of the Lake, from Minnesota. It’s about 11 minutes long, but it’s worth it to listen to the whole thing. I don’t know much about this group. I found out about this link from a handbell board that I follow on Pinterest. I hope you enjoy it.
I’ve told Handbells how the melody of “Sinfonia”, one of the pieces we are learning, has been used in a variety of other settings. Here is my favorite: a video clip from the 2005 movie, Pride and Prejudice. If you haven’t read the book, it is a classic, written by Jane Austen in the 19th century. It is one of my favorite stories; I read it for the first time when I was in high school. In this clip, the melody is played, for most of the scene, by a solo violin.
23 08 2012
Well, it’s finally happened! We are now allowed to use Youtube videos. I’m very excited about this, because there are so many examples on Youtube of other groups performing the songs we’re working on, instructional videos, etc. So I’m glad to be able to provide links here for you.
So, here are a couple that you might want to view. Here’s the performance of Art Thou Troubled? that I showed to Concert Chorus in class yesterday. This is a really nice performance. I watched a couple of others that were really bad!
For handbells, here’s the video of our performance of My Heart Will Go On at Seminole Ridge last spring. Antoinette’s dad filmed it. The video isn’t so great because of the lighting, but it’s always fun and informative to listen to ourselves.
General Music students, this link will take you to a performance of Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, by the English composer Benjamin Britten. Actually, this video is just the second half of the piece, which runs about 17 minutes total. I particularly like this performance, because the conductor doesn’t take it too slowly. It features the different sections and instruments of the orchestra. I like how the players for the different instrument families wear different colored shirts for this performance–strings in pink, percussion in white, woodwinds in light green, and brass in blue. And maybe I like it because Sir Simon Rattle, the conductor, has hair that’s kind of crazy like mine!
03 05 2012
You can probably tell from the fact that I haven’t put up a new post in a few weeks that it has been a very hectic time for Chorus and Handbells. Yesterday’s performances for next year’s sixth graders went very well, despite a few “blips” that we’ll discuss in class. And Wellington Ringers will perform this evening at Seminole Ridge High School, as part of their Spring Fling choral concert.
Now is the time to make sure that our spring concert is on your family’s calendar. The concert will take place on May 22nd, a Tuesday, at 7:00pm in the WLMS cafeteria. The performance will include both choruses and both handbell ensembles (no band). Handbell students need to be here at 6:30, and chorus students have a report time of 6:40. This performance serves as our nine-week exam, and attendance is mandatory. If you need to, you can check out the attendance policy in the Chorus Handbook or the Handbell Handbook.
Concert Chorus also needs to add Wednesday, June 6th, to their performance calendar. We will be singing for the eighth grade awards program, which will take place this year at Wellington High School. I will have more information for you soon as to the time, and what we will be singing. So pay attention in class!
Because the origin of handbell music was in the churches in England, traditionally most handbell music has been written or arranged for use in church. It is only within the last few years that more popular songs are being arranged for handbells.
We have one recent song that we’re working on in third period advanced handbells, Clocks, originally recorded by Coldplay, and we are going to be starting another new song soon, Just Dance, by Lady Gaga. Both of these links will take you to the appropriate page on the Handbell World website, where you can click on the “listen” icon.