The Resonance is created to offer something for musicians of all kinds and we hope you'll enjoy this issue and share it with someone. We've put together a variety of topics: introducing Janet Van Valey a longtime member of the Malmark crew, highlighting the incredible musicality of Mary Liao, tips for turning those pesky pages, and a concept for using Cajons in handbell rehearsals. Also, a look back at Malmark's introduction of our newest instrument, the Bell Plate, at the 6th International Handbell Symposium, is our highlighted product. For more information or to contact us, visit www.malmark.com
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SOUNDINGS: Symposium & New Bell Plates
Although we were thrilled to share Malmark's new Pedal Cajon, Burma Bells and other products with our international customers the biggest excitement for us was introducing Malmark's newest innovative product: The Bell Plate. Not only is this a new product line for Malmark which will enhance music range and sound for ensembles, but it was inspiration for Tim Schuback to present a unique item for the HIS auction. Offered for the auction benefitting the First Nations People was a C2 Bell Plate with a one-of-a-kind sublimated image.
Page turning is sometimes overlooked by directors and ringers as a skill to be learned. To accomplish a page turn a ringer will draw upon both musical skills and physical skills. There is also an emotional element to page turning because if ringers don't feel prepared anxiety can interfere with the performance of the music. So, if a musician feels prepared she will approach page turning with confidence and can focus on the musical aspects of the performance rather than the physical act of page turning.
Plan the Turn
Make a Plan which includes playing all notes, dynamics, etc. ... and avoids the "turn" becoming part of the music. (Turn silently and discretely.) This skill needs to be rehearsed not just suggested prior to the performance.
Janet L. Van Valey holds both a Bachelors and Masters degree in music and has taught choral music at the middle school and high school levels. In addition she has served as the Music Director for numerous denominations over the past 40 years.
Jan is the founding director of the Kalamazoo Ringers, starting the group in 1981. She has worked with handbells since 1978 when she began her studies with Donald Allured. She is an active member of Handbell Musicians of America, having served on both the National and Area boards, and she received the Distinguished Service Award from Area 5 in 2003.
As many directors have experienced, ringers often find it difficult to maintain a consistent, steady beat. Add to that the demands of shaping a phrase, observing tempo changes, meter changes, and dynamics. Over the years I have used a variety of metronomes amplified for all to hear, drum sticks, counting out loud, and when they are playing a hymn tune, singing the hymn. Singing a line is a great way for the ringers to experience the desired sound, but it still falls short of developing a common sense of musicality throughout the entire ensemble.
Then Malmark introduced their line of Cajons. This was a new instrument to me and I had no idea how it could fit into my rehearsals. I did learn some basics about the Cajon but it was desperation that finally taught me the real utility of this instrument.
Mary Liao is a bit of handbell star. With over 35 years of soloing experience and the invention of the Perpendicular 6-in-hand technique to her name her CV is as grand as any in the field. But accolades on paper only go so far. Take a look at this video of her performing "Symphonia on Hyfrydol" (Handbell Solo), arr. Kevin McChesney, and you will see her amazing talent come to life.
Mary Liao is a renowned handbell soloist with 35 years of advanced solo & ensemble experience. She received her Math degree from UCLA, and applied 3-Dimensional (XYZ) concept to invent the "Perpendicular 6-in-hand" technique. Mary is a current & founding member of Pacific Bells Handbell Ensemble, and also a current member of Timbre Ensemble. Mary currently serves as the Handbell Director for East Valley Handbell Ensemble (Walnut, CA), and handbell instructor at Arcadia Community Church (Arcadia, CA).
Mary has taught Ensemble & Technique Classes at Handbell Musicians of America National Conference, Area 12 Conference, and Southern California workshops. She also performs at various venues throughout U.S., Canada, and Taiwan.