LSC-Tomball Artist in Residence, Houston Chamber Ringers create TISD handbell ensemble

The Houston Chamber Ringers

LSC-Tomball Artist-in-Residence Houston Chamber Ringers (HCR), a professional handbell ensemble, have been awarded the First Congregational Church-Houston Endowment Committee $3000 grant for creation of a handbell ensemble in the Tomball Independent School District (TISD).

“Handbells are a staple of early music education in countries like Japan and Singapore, in much the same way that recorders are used in the US,” said Stevie Berryman, HCR artistic director. “We’re passionately focusing more than ever on handbells as an integral part of music education, because we strongly believe in the connection between music education and academic success.”

With the support of TISD, HCR is launching DiscoveRing, a handbell program in local schools aimed at addressing the two primary barriers to integrating handbells into public education: teacher training and financial constraints.

In the program, HCR will acquaint teachers with proper handbell technique and teaching methods, offering guidance, training, and leadership for an eight-week long “handbell club.” Additionally, Berryman will provide instruction to interested students on how to ring, preparing them for a culminating concert performance that will signify the program's culmination.

Utilizing the LSC-Tomball Fine and Performing Arts facilities, HCR is enriching the community with two other handbell education programs. Ring 101, a four-week program for individuals interested in grasping the fundamentals of handbell ringing, will be offered this fall at the college, free of charge. The class is available to all ages and requires no previous experience. For those who wish to learn more advanced ringing techniques, HCR will offer an eight-week course Masterclass in October of 2024.

HCR is gearing up for Vs, a concert scheduled for May 17, centered around the theme of conflict and resolution, exploring battles from the trivial (video game Player 1 vs Player 2) to the profound (life vs death). The HCR ensemble will be joined by voice, flute, cello, percussion, and sign language artists from Houston and Austin. This one-time-only performance will also showcase a 1921 comedic silent short, Dodge Your Debts, with HCR performing the score and creating sound effects live.  MARS: God of War, a new original work commissioned for the concert by award-winning composer Michael J. Glasgow will have its premier.

"Handbells are a uniquely physical instrument, more so than other percussion instruments. Our "keyboard" is 48' long and requires at least 26 hands to play 61 notes, “said Berryman. “Our job is to create music out of motion, and it is enthralling to watch as well as listen to a skilled ensemble perform.  HCR ranks with the top professional bell choirs in the country, and Vs. is our most ambitious concert yet."

Who: Houston Chamber Ringers, LSC-Tomball Artist in Development
What: Vs. A Concert of Conflict and Resolution
When: May 17, 2024, 7 pm
Where: LSC-Tomball Preforming Arts Center, 30555 Tomball Pkwy, Tomball, TX 77375
Admittance: Purchase Tickets: $15 Adults, $10 Students/Seniors, Children 4 and younger are free.

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