By Jill Jeffers, Jeffer’s Handbell Supply
Love Rock and Roll? Love Pop Music? Well, this music is not just for drums and guitars anymore! I happen to know another instrument that is not usually seen on stage with the rock stars, but can still be just as fun and amazing! What instrument am I talking about? Handbells. Yes, I said Handbells.
You would be amazed at the different sounds and effects that can be achieved with these instruments. There actually have been quite a few pop and movie titles published for handbells going back to the 1980’s or so, but in the last ten years, this genre has exploded with new music from classics, jazz, blues, rock, country, and the billboard hits keep coming. There are quite a variety of original works too that fit into a category all their own with their own special flare.
Community groups have been the main target of this music, but in the last ten years there has been a growth among church groups performing this music outside the church. You can hear such performances in senior centers, concert halls, community centers, music festivals, and more. Youth groups have also been a big growth area for this music since, you know, everyone wants to play the cool music!
Let’s see if I can list a few of the all-time best sellers for you. Disney classic tunes include: When You Wish Upon a Star, Kiss the Girl, Bells of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Mousterpieces (Mickey Mouse), Pirates of the Carribean, etc. Other movie titles: Theme from Titanic, Singin’ In the Rain. Old classics include: Chattanooga Choo Choo, Take Five, Ashokan Farewell, Best of John Williams, Gershwin, Aquarius.
Most recent titles include: Stairway to Heaven, Dancing Queen, Let It Be, Here Comes the Sun, All I Want for Christmas is You, Don’t Stop Believing. Performers such as Katy Perry, Cold Play, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, to name just a few.
Those of us that have been around hand bells for most of our lives know the well-kept secrets about the great fun and education that come with playing this instrument. Check out performances on YouTube and you will see an endless world of great music open up before your eyes.