Wednesday, August 06, 2008

News from Florida

Briana got to play with Ring of Fire and Jason Wells tonight!!!

See Briana and Ring of Fire!

The slideshow music is from the Rejoice Ringers' brand-spankin' new CD!!! (Does anybody here remember the recording session a year and a half ago???)

Here is the trailer for the Ring of Fire DVD that Jason gave to all the Distinctly Teen participants: (the music is Carmina Burana, which I need to get dressed to go play for Debbie RIGHT NOW!!! It's the opening number of the Symposium final concert.)

Here is a review of the entire concert by the Handbell Podcast guys, Paul Weller and Dean Jensen:

Review of the Ring of Fire Concert
By Dean | August 6, 2008
Dean: The concert is about to begin. The room is quieting down as the lights dim. Introduction by Jenny Cauhorn.
Dean: Tempest by Kevin McChesney. Jason’s command of the group is amazing. They watch and respond to every motion. WOW they went from pp to ff in a single measure. You hear EVERY dynamic change. The energy flowing through this room is intense. As the dynamics change the motion of the ringers change. With softer moments they are close to the table and moving slowly. When the crescendos happen, their movements get bigger and more wild.

Paul: I am attempting to photograph them as they play this song without any real success because they are moving way too fast. What energy!

Dean: Carillon by Dean Wagner. The synchronized movements really add to this piece. You can really see the moving eight notes. You can follow the melody. WOW, a crescendo with marts. The way they build this piece up is amazing. The last chord was played identically from every ringer.

Paul: sense the wind flowing through the bells. This is a slower tempo then I’m used to hearing Carillon played at. Jason is directing it in 2 which makes it flow better, but the tempo is about quarter note=120. I am really enjoying Jason’s artistic choices with this piece. The middle section with the martellatos was done very softly and gently whereas I usually hear it very bombastic and loud. Usually when I hear this piece it is an exercise in Forte and how loud a group can play. ROF made this song a lesson in how to play softly and with delicate precision.

Dean: Jason just called for 13 volunteers from the audience. (Briana was one of the volunteers) He is having the kids play through Carillon. Counting out and commenting on the different musical lines. He stopped after about two pages of music. He started working with the bass, then moved up to the battery and treble singing the different lines. This is the third time through the piece and it will be the last time with the music. He is already working with dynamics. The group has moved past reading the notes into making music. Now the music has been removed from the tables. Here they go. A little shaky but very well done. The kids are a little scared but relaxing as the realize they know this piece already. In just 8 short minutes they went from just seeing a piece to playing it memorized. As the kids returned to their chairs, Jason handed them a copy of the Ring of Fire DVD.

Paul: At this point Jason asks for 13 volunteers from the Distinctly Teen kids to come up on stage. The unwitting volunteers stand at the tables with the members of ROF behind them. Jason says the challenge will be to memorize a chunk of Carillon in 8 minutes. They begin by just sight-reading the piece 3 times…and then the music went away.

Dean: Capriccio by Kevin McChesney. This piece opens with a very loud series of chords. Then the music backs off into a very soft melodic part. They transition many times between the loud and the soft parts, never slowing down or losing energy. The middle of the piece is a very open lyrical section. What amazes me about this part is the crescendos with off the table malleted bells. WOW, they just moved from ringing to marting to mallets so fluidly I almost missed it. Once you give a group permission to move, they take the music and add a whole different dimension.

Paul: The song that helped give ROF its name because at the top of the music it says “with fire” and this has become one of ROF’s signature songs. The second section of this piece has a beautiful suspended mallet part in which the group plays each note as part of a crescendo and lifts their arms up. The overtones on the C5 (I think) that is malleted over and over during this section are a bit funky. Not sure if it’s because it’s malleted or if because the casting itself is a bit “off”.

Dean: They are taking a few minutes to introduce all the different members of the group.

Paul: Now the ringers come in front of the tables and sit on the edge of the stage and introduce each other. I’m amazed to hear that this is someone’s first year in ROF. The two new ringers are from a group in Vermont that Jason knows and has been in contact with. They fit seamlessly into ROF.

Dean: Siyahamba – this is a piece with a conga drum. The malleted bass is a great foundation for the melody. The bass ringers are changing places. Again, their dynamic control is amazing.

Paul: They start this song VERY softly, as if from far away. It crescendos to about a Mezzo Forte and begins to sound very stately. Then it jumps up to a fortissimo and the energy increases. The song ends the way it began, soft from far away. The entire song was a big crescendo then decrescendo.

Dean: The group just went into the audience and picked 13 ringers to play a piece. They have the volunteers holding the mallets while the member of the group move their hands to Pick A Winner. What a fun piece to watch.

Paul: Again Jason asks for another 13 brave souls to come up to the tables to ring a piece from memory. One of the people picked is Jason’s 3 year old daughter. This time they are not given any music, the members of ROF are standing behind them using the volunteers hands to play the mallets for “pick a winner”

Dean: Jason is highlighting the new Ring of Fire DVD. He just announced that everyone who is participating in the Distinctly Teen event will get their very own copy of the DVD.

Paul: The big announcement was that every Teen in Distinctly Teen is going to receive not only a free copy of the new ROF DVD but also a copy of Tim Waugh’s newly published piece that he wrote for ROF.

Dean: Fire Dance – Kevin McChesney. This piece includes a guitar. I am just sitting here in awe listening to this amazing performance. I cannot emphasize enough the dynamic control of this group. AMAZING! The members of Ring of Fire own the music in every sense. They are a part of the music. The music is inside them and they are sharing it with us. With some groups, its the director that makes the group, but with these ringers, they are the complete package. I really get the feeling they are there to support each other an share their gifts and talents with us.

Paul: Adapted from the show Riverdance. This is a piece with handbells and guitar. I am disappointed in the audio settings for the guitar, it is much too bass heavy and it gives the guitar a sluggish feel. After the a-section of the song, the guitarist puts down the guitar and they move into a fast a furious b-section

Dean: If there was a mistake in this concert, I could not find it. This was a flawless concert. It had everything that I would want in a concert. It was fun, entertaining and the music was exceptional.

Paul: As I watched this concert I noticed the similarities between ROF and many of the Japanese choirs that I have seen here at the symposium. It is clear to me that this is the way handbells will achieve success in the music mainstream…ringers without barriers between themselves and the audience. It’s the only true way to use this instrument as others use their instrument. Since we have broken apart the melodic lines, we need to move as one instrument and connect as one instrument and not 13 individuals.

No comments: