Our artists get all the credit for the beautiful music that is heard at our concerts. We know the real secret is in the instruments we use. Now you can learn all about the instruments and equipment we use every week in rehearsal and in our concerts.
The next most-played instrument by the Ensemble is a five-octave set of Choirchimes® manufactured by Malmark, Inc. of Plumsteadville, PA. There are several differences between Choirchimes® (also called handchimes) and handbells, but the main difference is the metal. Handchimes are made of aluminium which produces a very mellow, soothing sound.
The five-octaves set was graciously donated by OCHE Founding Member Cheryl Scott.
Unlike the handbells, handchimes do not need polishing and do not require any special hand protection. The ringers just have to watch that their fingers do not get caught in the ringing mechanism since it is on the outside instead of the inside.
The primary five-octaves of English handbells played by the Oklahoma City Handbell Ensemble are manufacured by Schulmerich Carillons, LLC of Carillon Hill, Sellersville, PA. While the bells look like they are gold or brass, they are actually made of bronze - a mixture of copper and tin. Since each pitch requires different amounts of the copper/tin mixture, the handbells weigh anywhere from just ounces in the treble to a few pounds in the bass.
This primary set is owned by Oklahoma City Handbell Ensemble. On occasion, we do borrow notes from the 6th and 7th octave from churches in central Oklahoma.
You will notice that our ringers wear gloves while they rehearse and perform. While those gloves serve many purposes, the main purpose is so oils and sweat from their hands do not get on the bells causing them to tarnish. Yes, the handbells do tarnish just like brass or silver.
THE OTHER STUFF
You've read about our handbells and handchimes (10 total octaves!), but it takes much more equipment so we can make our beautiful music.
We use Wenger Gig Stands®, Manhasset® Music Stands (for auxilary instruments), Mighty Bright Ultimate Orchestra Lights, Greig Ashurst Artist Series percussion mallets, TruTimbre percussion mallets (for auxiliary instruments), thirty-six feet of Lifetime® ABS Folding Tables, enough four-inch thick muslin covered medium-density foam to cover the tables, custom covers for the tables with foam, and whatever percussion instruments our music needs.
Sometimes you'll also see our twenty KidsPlay® Deskbells and twenty-five Boomwackers®.
So the next time you are at a handbell concert or enjoy handbells in your worship experience, just think about everything else that it takes for handbell ensembles to perform.