Oklahoma City, March 1, 2016 – Raising bronze handbells to a level of high art, Oklahoma City Handbell Ensemble takes center stage in six public concerts across Oklahoma. The concerts will mark the beginning of the Ensemble’s eighth year performing for regional audiences and the Ensemble’s first tour. Portions of this series are made possible in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council.
The Ensemble, which rings, swings, plucks, and marts more than 500 lbs. of bronze and aluminum during a concert, is ready to celebrate America’s love with the movies! Audiences will be taken under the sea, over the rainbow, and into galaxies far, far away during the one-hour concerts. The concerts will feature phenomenal transcriptions of well-known film scores and fun movie medleys all performed on handbells and handchimes.
OCHE will be presenting concerts all over Oklahoma with stops in Miami at the Coleman Theatre; the greater Tulsa metropolitan area (First United Methodist Church, Owasso); Piedmont at First United Methodist Church; and Oklahoma City at First Unitarian Church and Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. For details on concert times, ticket prices (select venues), and more, visit www.okcbells.com. Most concerts are free and open to the public.
Initially, tower bell foundries cast English handbells in tuned sets for change ringing to duplicate the heavy tower bells on a smaller scale. Tower ringers could practice change ringing on handbells in the warmth and comfort of a pub. In time, ringers began to play tunes on the bells, and it became a popular musical art in Britain. The two world wars of the 20th century devastated the mostly-male British teams; in the meantime, handbells had spread to America, where the art survived and grew from a circus curiosity to the expressive and uniquely musical instrument it is today. Who says 420 years is a bad thing?!
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The Council’s mission is to lead, cultivate and support a thriving arts environment, which is essential to the quality of life, education and economic vitality for all Oklahomans. The Council provides more than 500 grants to over 250 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state’s arts and cultural industry, and manages hundreds of works of art in the public spaces of the state Capitol. For more information, visit arts.ok.gov.