Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chicago Bronze Home Alone

Tonight's concert on Wilmette is at the church used in the movie "Home Alone," at least the exterior.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

West Indies Carol, via Pittsburgh

When you come to our upcoming concert, you'll hear Hart Morris' fun arrangement of "West Indies Carol." Its upbeat rhythm with staccato sounds will make you ready to start celebrating the holiday immediately.

However, the tune was brought into wide distribution by an American composer who grew up in Pittsburgh, the imcomparable Jester Hairston.

Amongst many other musical and artistic accomplishments, Jester Hairston arranged negro spirituals and gave them new exposure. One such song was probably the inspiration for "Mary's Boy Child" in 1956. Recorded by Harry Belafonte, it reached #1 on the UK charts in 1957.

To demonstrate the diversity of style that the song has enjoyed through the years, it's worth watching the 1978 version by disco artists Boney M., which brought the song to the #1 spot a second time in the UK.

The song appeared in 1983 on a sheet of postage stamps issued by the Carribean island of St. Kits, recognizing the origin of, or at least the inspiration for, this truly North American Christmas carol.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Concert: December 11 in Wheaton

Chicago Bronze cordially invites you to our holiday concert, on the campus of Wheaton College.

Saturday, December 11, at 7pm
Barrows Auditorium
501 College Av.
Wheaton, IL 60187

An evening of handbell music celebrating the Christmas season and other favorites.
Tickets available at the door.
For legal purposes we must note: This is not a function of Wheaton College.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Group Photo!

With our concert season coming up soon, it's time to get everyone to sit for the latest group photo. Learn more about all the members of Chicago Bronze on our website!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Betty Garee

This December our concert will include Stille Nacht (Silent Night) by Betty Garee.

Betty Garee was one of the first modern handbell composers, and her works are still considered some of the finest examples of handbell music at its best.

According to the Chorister's Guild, her music "demonstrates Betty Garee's understanding of the handbell idiom and the writing genius which made her one of our foremost handbell composers"

Born in 1927, she first encountered handbells in 1971 in Wappingers Falls, New York.

"In the fifteen years that followed, she brought handbell performance to new levels at local and national festivals. As a clinician, her warmth inspired new directors and ringers alike. Her original compositions and creative transcriptions for handbells showed a style that was far ahead of her time. She travelled widely, sharing her music and passion for handbells, touching many lives both in and out of handbell circles. Betty Garee passed away in 1986. "

-- AGEHR Area II, describing the Betty Garee Scholarship Program

We are pleased to present Mrs. Garee's Stille Nacht this year, and we hope you will have the chance to come appreciate it for yourself.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Member Profile: Catherine Ciway

Catherine Ciway from Roselle IL, has been playing handbells since 5th grade. She is a recent graduate from Concordia University Wisconsin with a degree in both Public Relations and Business Communications. Catherine rang previously with the Alleluia Ringers, Concordia's touring handbell choir, under the direction of Dr. John Behnke. In her spare time she enjoys singing, reading and being with her family.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Christmas in September

Rehearsals for December concerts are underway! Here's a typical scene from Monday night's rehearsal.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Member Profile: Amy Calderone

Amy Calderone was introduced to Handbells when she was a senior in high school. She has been playing in bell choirs off and on ever since, playing across the country and in Europe. She has a BS in Psychology from Judson University and is now an admin for The Nielsen Company. Amy also enjoys reading, watching TV and hanging out with friends.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Musical Director!

Chicago Bronze is pleased to introduce our new Musical Director: Andrea Handley.

Andrea Handley lives in Evanston, and has been directing handbells since 1983. She holds an undergraduate degree in piano from the Indiana University School of Music, and a graduate degree in organ from the American Conservatory of Music. As Director of Music and Worship at the First Presbyterian Church of Evanston, IL, she directed a graded handbell choir program which grew to six choirs over a span of a few years, playing two sets of handbells (one seven octaves) and two sets of handchimes. More recently, she directed the handbell program at Marvin United Methodist Church in Tyler, TX. She is a published handbell composer and has written several articles for Overtones magazine.

Andrea’s husband, David, is a Presbyterian pastor, and she has three grown children – a recent seminary graduate, a professional cellist, and a daycare worker. She’s thrilled to be back “home” in the Chicago area, and more thrilled to have the opportunity to direct the Chicago Bronze!

Thanks to all of the applications who applied to the position. We were honored by your presence and interest.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Handbell Musicians of America

Chicago Bronze is a proud member of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers.

Last week, the AGEHR announced that they would change their name to the Handbell Musicians of America, "to recognize ourselves as musicians to be taken seriously by the music world at large."

Please join us in welcoming the new HMA.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Syncopated Clock

One of our newest pieces which you can hear in our concert series next week is Leroy Anderson's Syncopated Clock.

Leroy Anderson is probably most famous as the composer of the Winter favorite Sleigh Ride, but many people are familiar with Syncopated Clock even if they don't know the name of the song. In the 1950's CBS introduced the "Late Show," thinking maybe Americans would stay up a little later to watch more television - crazy, right? The producers chose Syncopated Clock as the theme music of the show, and continued to use it for the next 25 years of late-night television, leaving us with a generation of Americans who can probably hum the tune, but few who could name its title or author.

For more information about Leroy Anderson, visit his web site, Oh, and it's /le-ROY/, not /LEE-roy/.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Member Profile: Denise Kinsey

Denise Kinsey has been a handbell ringer for 17 years. She also plays piano and clarinet. She is a music teacher in Schaumburg District 54 where she teaches junior high students General Music and Chorus. Denise has directed musicals, vocal choirs, and handbell/handchime choirs for various groups from 1st grade through adult in schools and in churches. Denise loves spending time with her two children, Chris and Cate, where they are always in baseball, basketball, football, cheerleading, and soccer!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


We're excited about our upcoming workshop for ringers and directors! On May 1st, at Barrington United Methodist Church, Chicago Bronze will lead a hands-on workshop for handbell enthusiasts who want to learn more about ringing.

There will be classes, like score study, stopped sound techniques, techniques for bass bell as well as high bells. Each participant will get a chance to take 3 40-minute classes. Then there will be a reading session, sponsored by J.W.Pepper Music. Everyone will get a chance to play some new music, and maybe you will be able to apply some of what you've learned.

After dinner, catered by Jeff Can Cook?, there will be a Chicago Bronze concert at 7pm. It's open to the public, but tickets are included in the workshop registration.

If you'd like to learn more about ringing handbells, no matter what your current level of expeience is, we look forward to talking with you at the workshop.

To register, you will need to get the registration form and send it to BUMC.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lamento Borincano

One of the new songs we're working on this season is a Puerto Rican classic, "Lamento Borincano" by Rafaél Hernández (1892-1965), arranged by Francisco Reneir Abad. Hernández was a prolific Puerto Rican composer, with over 3,000 songs, but the Lamento is the most famous.

"It depicts the struggles of a Puerto Rican jibaro [peasant] to survive; an archetypical hero that the Puerto Rican people immediately and always identified with closely. The identification with this poor jibaro, despondent from his inability to sell his goods in the town’s marketplace can be seen as a representation of Puerto Rico’s own struggle for national identity and self-reliance in the face of a colonial history."
--from Music of Puerto Rico

Chicago Bronze is excited to present this work, with its percussive rhythms as well as its history and significance to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has a relatively large handbell community; we should be so lucky to visit the island some day and share their musical heritage.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Member Profile: Cathe Morse

CATHE MORSE's formal music training includes tenures at Boston Conservatory of Music, University of Denver and Eastern Illinois University. She directed youth handbells in Oregon for 6 years before moving to Illinois to be closer to her children and grandchildren. Cathe teaches several subjects to 5th through 8th grades and is excited to be ringing with Chicago Bronze. She lives in Gurnee.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Introducing: Interim Director Scott Laudick

After 5 years as the Chicago Bronze Music Director, Phil Roberts stepped down at the start of 2010. Phil helped Chicago Bronze enormously during his tenure, and we would like to thank him for his dedication to the art of handbell ringing.

Chicago Bronze will be holding auditions for the Music Director position in August 2010. If you or someone you know would be interested in this musically challenging and rewarding position, please contact us.

Chicago Bronze is pleased to announce that Scott Laudick has joined us as Interim Director.
Scott lives in Lake in the Hills, Illinois with his wife and two sons. He has a music education degree with a vocal emphasis and taught general music to grades 1-5 for four years. He has directed children’s choirs and music theater productions as well as church choirs. Additionally, he has played keyboard in rock bands and has learned how to play guitar.
Scott is excited to be the interim director for the Chicago Bronze. This is Scott’s first experience with a bell choir and he is excited to be involved with such a high caliber ensemble.
In his spare time, Scott enjoys the outdoors, spending time with his wife, and playing with his kids.