25 August 2022

School bells ring

Another of my Wesley Wednesday recordings but when I arrived I was stunned.  There was an orchestra filing into the Music Centre in uniform.  It was the Canberra Girls Grammar School Music Academy, or at least some of it, and not an orchestra but several performance groups: two string quartets, flute, sax, guitar and clarinet ensembles and a Hand Bells group.  Now that was something different.  This is a group playing 52 hand bells, tuned chromatically, so it all makes like a piano performance, but gloriously resonant, sonorous, chiming.  I'd never heard one before.  I'm told there are two hand bell sets like this in Canberra and they cost.  Not surprised; I assume they are individually  tuned.  Each bell has an internal ringer and they can be played with mallets and damped against the body or otherwise.  The Selections from Mamma Mia that they played was one of my faves of the day, but then it's ABBA and so attractive.  There were a few Mozart pieces, which I admired in my more serious frame, and a very apt and touching guitar trio rendition of Paul Simon Sound of silence.  And several latin pieces, mariachi, Tico tico, tango, and even some early jazz, a rag and Rocking roses.  So a varied presentation, but I have to give it to the hand bells for the unique tone and rarity.

Various ensembles from Canberra Girls Grammar School performed at Wesley.

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