Start with success by adding the keys! As you choose music for your ringing choir, consider inviting your organist/pianist to collaborate. This partnership has many benefits for the ringers as they improve their musicianship and it will be an enhanced part of your worship service or concert performance.
Choosing a title that is written for handchimes or handbells and piano/organ/keyboard is a wonderful way to build your choir for several reasons:
It builds confidence – having your ringers collaborate with keyboard dissipates some of the focus off of the ringers while participating in worship. This is helpful to new ringers especially who may not be feel comfortable being in the eye of hundreds while they are learning a new skill. Having the keyboard reinforcement takes off some of the pressure as they learn a new instrument or get acclimated to being in front of a large group.
It is supportive – one of the things to accomplish for a new ringing ensemble is to work together as a team. They will be learning to keep a good sense of rhythm together as well as be ringing collectively precisely on the beat. Having an accomplished musician at the keyboard to provide a steady beat will be a strong foundation for the group in their early stages of ringing.
It will embellish easier music – while repertoire for a beginning ensembles will most likely be homophonic chords with simple rhythms, adding a keyboard part to accent the chords will allow for a more sophisticated performance without stretching the ringers’ comfort zone.
It will enhance the sound – even if you have seasoned members ringing more advanced music, joining forces with keyboard will be pleasing and resounding. The overall effect of adding a keyboard instrument with your octaves will be rich as the timbre of handbells/handchimes with keyboard are sonorous.
ChimeWorks recommends the resources below for your consideration. All available for immediate purchase and digital download by clicking the links in blue:
Bells and Keys… More or Less
Bells and Keys… More or Less, Vol. 2
For All The Saints 2 – 3 Octaves 4 – 6 Octaves Keyboard
Gloria by Mozart 3 Octaves Keyboard
Largo from Winter By Vivaldi 2 -3 Octaves 2 – 6 Octaves Full Score
In Bright Mansions Above 3 – 5 Octaves Full Score
Many and Great, O God, Are Thy Things 3 – 6 Octaves Full Score