Volume I (Allegro Bronze Edition)

by Allegro Handbell EnsembleAllegro Handbell Ensemble
Allegro Handbell Ensemble: Volume I (Bronze Edition)
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The crisp performance of the 1977 Allegro Handbell Ensemble has been digitally remastered and presented as the first in the Allegro Bronze Edition series.

In celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of its recording, the crisp performance of the 1977 Allegro Handbell Ensemble has been digitally remastered from the original Dolby A reels are presented here as part of the Allegro Bronze Edition series.

The works represent some of the earliest original music written for handbells, and most have never been released on campact disc.

From the Record Jacket

Handbell ringing has become increasingly popular with a notable upswing in composition of original works and adaptations of music written for other instruments. more music is being published for these instruments today than ever before, and handbell choirs are enjoying ever more popularity. In spite of this, a program of handbell music presents a unique and exciting musical experience.

The Allegro Handbell Ensemble was formed about ten years ago and has been a strong part of the music program at Union Church since then. There are currently fourteen members of high school age who have been ringing from one to six years. All of them display strong interest in music and some or potential music majors. Many are honor students. Their outside interests are as varied as they. in addition to participating in the music program at Union Church, the group has performed for a variety of civic, charitable, educational and professional organizations in the area, and has toured the Eastern and Great Lakes States and the Western and Midwestern States. They plan a European tour in June, 1978.

The preparation and choosing of music for this album has been a labor of love for us.

The first ten tracks are all music which is suitable for the Christmas season, so that perhaps this volume could be called our 'Christmas Album.' The selections included represent highlights of our Christmas program, which is played many times in December.

The remaining selections are representative of the variety of music which is performed by the Allegro Handbell Ensemble during the rest of the year.

The bell ringers perform with five octaves of Schulmerich bells.

Just as most piano music does not use all the notes on the piano, so most bell music does not require the use of all 61 bells. Exceptions are the "Suite for Cello and Bells" and "The Stars and Stripes Forever," both of which use all bells available.

'Handbell Choir Rings With Artistic Precision'
From the Colorado Springs Sun, June 1976

"A successful handbell performance demands the most uncommon attention to counting and cadence. It is essential that very note be in its place, since each is played by a snap of a different wrist. That means anticipating exactly where your note falls in an irregular and changing pattern. The Allegro ringers exhibited this precision but still retained the freshness this medium so uniquely can convey with expressive swells and diminuendos."

"The pure, euphonious tones of English handbells can sometimes make you believe you are listening to a harp, guitar or organ. The blend of bell tones is extremely rich, from the robust 12-pound low 'C' to a typewriter bell of a note five octaves up."

"The Allegro Handbell Choir's performance is a positive statement about the artistic possibilities of this medium."

This review was published after the 1976 tour. The Colorado Springs Sun is out of print and was last issued in 1986.

About the Director

The handbell choir is directed by Dwight K. Menard, a native of Wheeling, West Virginia. Mr. Menard received a BA from West Virginia Wesleyan College, an MM from Northwestern University, and did extensive post-graduate work in organ with Grigg Fountain at Northwestern University. He is presently Organist and Director of Music at the Union Church.

Mr. Menard has received many awards, among them the Presser Award of Philadelphia and the Performance Award from the American Guild of Musical Artists of New York. He was selected to appear in the 1969 issue of Outstanding Young Men of America. He has directed the handbell choirs of Union Church for six years.

Additional Information from the Allegro Bronze Edition: Menard left Union Church in 1978 after transitioning directorship to his successor, Michael Surratt, and moved to New Jersey, where he lost his life to cancer in 1984. Menard was highly regarded by his vocal and instrumental pupils, and members of the 1971-1979 Allegro Handbell Ensembles commissioned William A. Payn of Bucknell University, Pennsylvania, to write a handbell composition in his memory. Payn wrote a beautiful score describing his friend in music. Originally titled Tombeau, but published as Elegy, the recording by the 1998 Allegro Handbell Ensemble is featured as a special track on this Allegro Bronze Edition album.

Track List

Track Title Time Composer, Arranger
1. Ukranian Carol of The Bells
1:13 arr. G.S. Daun
2. Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
Polish Carol,
arr. D.K. Menard
3. Variations on a French Carol
Donald E. Allured
4. O Come, All Ye Faithful
arr. R. Ivey
5. O Little Town of Bethlehem 2:18
arr. R. Ivey
6. Fum, Fum, Fum
1:00 arr. R. Ivey
7. Away In A Manger
arr. R. Ivey
8. Silent Night, Holy Night
arr. R. Ivey
9. Jingle Bells
arr. R. Ivey
10. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
1:10 arr. N. Tufts,
[ed.] D.K. Menard
11. Carillons
4:30 Jean Langlias,
arr. G.S. Daun
(an original work
for handbells)
12. Suite for Cello and Bells
I. Bravura
II. Capriccio
III. Finale
"Commissioned in loving memory of
Dee. P. Patterson for the Allegro Handbell Choir."
Donald E. Allured
15. Dawn
Albert Ream
16. Genesis
William A. Payn
17. Prisms
William A. Payn
18. Stars and Stripes Forever
John Phillip Sousa,
arr. O. Mumaw,
[ed.] D.K. Menard


(recorded by the 1998 Allegro Handbell Ensemble)
"Commissioned in memory of Dwight K. Menard by members of the 1971-1979 Allegro Handbell Choirs."

William A. Payn

Recording Credits

The Ringers: Betty Bogg, Gordon Coates, Karen Deng, Jim Holt, Trey Holt, Ellen King, Ellen McLaughlin, Robin McLaughlin, Roberta Otto, John Patterson, Lolly Patterson, Katie Price, Elizabeth Trask, Nancy Trask

Recorded May 28, 1977

Photography by: Bruce Chlevin
Engineers: Mark Rubenstein, Cynthia Cash Rowe
Recorded at: Streeterville Stuidos, Chicago, Illinois
Directed and Produced by: Dwight K. Menard

"...and a special thanks to everyone involved"

This recording is copyright 1977 by the Allegro Handbell Choir and the Union Church of Hinsdale, Illinois.

Allegro Bronze Edition Recording Credits

Digital Remastering and Post Production: Gerald G. LeCompte

2007 Instrument Photography and Graphic Design: Daniel M. Reck, forzandoArts

This recording is copyright 1977, 1998, 2007 by the Allegro Handbell Ensemble and the Union Church of Hinsdale, Illinois.