Although the Spring season was slow in arriving in Pennsylvania our hearts are always warmed by the fun, touching and entertaining music our customers make using Malmark instruments. It is our pleasure to introduce and to share exceptional music with you in this newsletter from The emBellishment Handbells Ensemble, directed by Kevin Ko. Consider Becky Yoza's thoughts on preparing for the unexpected and test your group's knowledge of Choirchimes with our Quiz! Allow us to introduce Sales representative Thomas Simpson from California and read some thoughts on "Setting the Table." We hope you will find our newsletter to be engaging, informative, and from time to time, inspiring.
Please share with Malmark what inspires you, what you love about ringing and how we may better serve you. Reach us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 800-426-3235, M-F 8:00 am – 5 pm EST.
Give this quiz to your group and see how they do – then amaze them with your knowledge of Choirchime history, design and trivia with the Answer Key! Use the link to download the Chime Quiz PDF, then print off the answers for yourself in the Quiz Key PDF. Good luck and happy chiming!
As a handbell ringer, one must be ready for anything in performance.
This is especially true as a solo ringer! I had the blessing of performing a solo at a church that does not have a handbell choir. As a tradition here in Hawaii, I was presented with a fresh flower lei from the congregation at the beginning of the service. Fortunately, before playing I had time to contemplate about what to do with the lei. Removing it could be construed as disrespectful as one should not remove a lei after it has been bestowed. A lei is properly worn half in front of the shoulders and half in back and it could impinge on damping and movement. My inner dialogue was not only whether to remove the lei or not, but also whether to address the congregation regarding the practical decision to remove it before playing. I decided to wear the lei and handle any disruption in playing on the fly. Thankfully, everything went well. As a soloist playing at different churches on their bell set, with their foam, with their table covers, and with their pianists has been a challenge because many issues arose that I needed to figure out how to handle.
Thomas spent the first 20 years of his career teaching in schools and churches around the country before making the transition to professional work in TV production (shows on Nickelodeon, CBS and syndicated) and studio work. Most recently, he worked at Paramount Studios on children's programs such as "Marvin, Marvin" and "Figure It Out!" Prior to this, he taught music to elementary grade students at the United Nations International School in New York City, NY (while concurrently directing seven Handbell choirs in the New York-New Jersey area including choirs at Princeton University) and at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, CA. He received his Bachelor of Music from Westminster Choir College and is completing his Master of Education in Kodaly at Silver Lake College in Wisconsin. He has also done graduate work in both Kodaly and the Orff methodologies. He is an accomplished composer and conductor of youth and adult music and he continues to work as an orchestrator for various ensembles in the Los Angeles area. Thomas is also the founding Artistic Director of Crown City Ringers, a Community Handbell Choir in Los Angeles, and keeps in touch with his roots by teaching several days a week in the Beverly Hills public schools.
Thomas represents Malmark in California in the 90000-91340 zip code areas of Los Angeles. Anytime you need assistance with sales or service of your ringing instruments or information about Cajons or accessories, please contact Thomas at email@example.com or (626) 789-3390.
The Westminster Concert Bell Choir is composed of 16 undergraduate and graduate students of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ. Its director is Kathleen Ebling Shaw. This year celebrates the 40th year of the handbell curriculum at Westminster Choir College which was the first institution in the world to develop such a program. The program was founded by Donald E. Allured.
Hailed for its virtuosity, the Westminster Concert Bell Choir uses the largest range of handbells in the world – 8 octaves, from C1 to C9. Many of the bells are made of bronze and range in weight from four ounces to 11 pounds; the Choir also uses the large "Basso Profundo" aluminum-cast bells that are a phenomenon in handbell ringing. The Choir supplements their handbell set with a six-octave set of Malmark Choirchime® instruments from C2 to C8 – the widest range in existence.
Sharing Music and Life
The emBellishment Handbells Ensemble is the first handbell quartet founded in Hong Kong! There are only four members - Kevin Mazimas Ko, Michelle Yoyo Chan, Peggy Pang and Chak Hei Lam. Most of the time they ring as a quartet, although Kevin is also a soloist. They are all handbell teachers. Before forming the ensemble all the members were students of Kevin from different times in the past. So this is truly a handbell quartet with members that span different generations.
In 2010, the team was invited to perform in one of the biggest evangelical events in Hong Kong with a number of Christian artists and actors. The emBellishment Handbell Ensemble performed an arrangement of John Rutter's work. The group toured Germany, Paris and the UK in 2013- 2014 and performed a few of Kevin's arrangements and were very well received. The most memorable performance was in Sendai, Japan where they participated in the 40th Anniversary Festival of the Handbell Ringers of Japan in 2017. There they performed an exciting arrangement of Bach's "Fugue in C Major" which is the spotlight video in this newsletter.
Not only will you will be riveted to your screen watching and listening to the skill and grace exhibited by these fine musicians, but you will be sharing it with your own group! If you close your eyes the musical lines seem to be performed by one musician. Open your eyes and you'll see that this impression comes from the fantastic teamwork of emBellishment Handbells Ensemble, combined with the superior craftsmanship and voicing of Malmark instruments.
One of the best-known and well-loved collections in Western classical music is The Well-Tempered Clavier, which has preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys composed for solo keyboard. The first in the collection, Fugue in C Major, which is arranged by Charles Maggs for advanced handbell quartet, is performed masterfully by Kevin Mazimas Ko, Michelle Yoyo Chan, Peggy Pang and Chak Hei Lam, known as emBellishment Handbells Ensemble.