Saturday, December 1, 2012

Flash mob at the Bean

The C2 is big, but not as big as the Bean.

Flash mob!

We just flash-mobbed Daley Plaza and the Kristkindle market with Joy to the World!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Member Profile: Kathe Cunningham

KATHE CUNNINGHAM began playing handbells in Northern Michigan in 1994. She studied piano performance at Western Michigan University and is currently in production of her third CD with 4-hand piano partner, Hyoun Joo Song. When not involved in music, Kathe is a total sports mom - you can find her watching her son play lacrosse or cheering on Auburn football. Kathe and her husband, Jeff, have three young adult sons.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Member Profile: Jayne Griese

JAYNE GRIESE learned to ring handbells in 1980 as a counselor at a music camp in Wisconsin.  Since then, the only time she hasn’t been an active ringer was while living in England. Because her whole family rings, they have occasionally done ensemble work together. Jayne currently lives in Barrington and rings with her church choir. With her four kids grown, and in or out of college, she enjoys spending time with her husband, three grandchildren and her horses.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Member Profile: Eileen Swanson

EILEEN SWANSON of Hoffman Estates was first introduced to handbells in 1981 while living in New Orleans.  She was hooked!  Since then, she has rung and/or directed bells in South Carolina, New York and now Illinois. A school music teacher, Eileen currently teaches choral/vocal music at Christian Heritage Academy.  She loves spending time with her family.  In her spare time she enjoys practicing piano, reading, nature photography and scrapbooking.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Concert in Belvidere

No, we will not be ringing this bell as part of our concert tonight at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Concert tonight!

All set up for the 7pm concert at Lutheran Church of the Cross - benefitting the NW Chicago Food Pantry!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sulzer library

The auditorium at Sulzer library. OK, the bells and tables haven't arrived yet, but they will soon. 3pm concert today.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bwana Asifiwe: Behind the Music

In our upcoming concert series, we are playing "Bwana Asifiwe! (Praise the Lord!)," by Cathy Moklebust.

Ms. Moklebust has published many handbell pieces and won awards for her composition work. You can learn more about her at the Cathy Moklebust web site.

Bwana Asifiwe stands out from most handbell music, by conveying a strong African sound, not to mention the percussion section in the middle of the piece. So we wanted to ask what inspired her to arrange the song for handbells. She graciously agreed to tell us the story:

Back in 2003 I was commissioned by the Community Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, to write a piece in honor of their music director Darcy Reich, and her 25 years of music ministry.  I recall that they wanted something with an African sound, as they had used my “African Alleluia” before, and liked that style.  Being a percussionist myself, I have all sorts of rhythms and motives going through my head, so it was easy to find inspiration.  What I envisioned was a procession of people heading to worship over the African landscape, singing, dancing, and playing instruments along the way.  At first we can barely hear them, but as they come closer, their music and drumming becomes louder and more involved.  The music is loudest and most rhythmic in the middle of the piece, as if the worshippers are directly in front of us. As they trail off, the music returns to the opening theme, and ends joyously. I did some internet searching on various “praise” phrases used in the Swahili language, and I learned that “Bwana Asifiwe” means “Praise the Lord,” and is often used as a greeting among African Christians. I did learn later on that the words “Bwana Asifiwe” are actually pronounced as one word: BWA-na-sa-FEE-way.

This original composition delights ringers and listeners alike with its upbeat and rhythmic African flavor in ¾ meter, and it is hard to stand still and ring, and equally difficult for the audience to sit still!  The African percussion instruments needed are 2 hand drums, and small and large shakers, but congas, maracas, and guiro may be substituted if necessary.  The percussionists are encouraged to improvise freely throughout the piece, and especially in their solo between measures 69-76.  During the percussion solo, ringers are encouraged to clap, dance in place, and invite audience participation.  The handbell techniques included are pluck, mallets, martellato, and martellato-lift.  There are 3 easy key changes, but no bell changes within each section.  Over the years, Bwana Asifiwe has become a favorite piece for massed ringing at handbell festivals, and I’ve watched and listened with glee as other conductors masterfully interpret my piece and add creative movement.  Such fun!

Cathy A. Moklebust
Eagle Grove, IA
Thank you for Cathy Moklebust for sharing! We've enjoyed playing Bwana Asifiwe, both bells and percussion. Special thanks from the ringers who get to do a little dancing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring 2012 Members

We've got our official group photo for the season!