Amazing, Amazing Grace

Posted By Derek Nance on Jul 20, 2013 |


One of my favorite pieces from our performance with Virtuoso just posted, so I had to share it with all of you.  Here is “Amazing Grace” by Dean Wagner performed by the 2013 Virtuoso Ensemble.  But instead of writing my own introduction, I will let one of my fellow ringers Wayne Hicks introduce the piece.
“The piece was arranged in memory of John Harvey. He served in the military, both as a Brigadier General in the US Air Force and for many years later as a full time reservist. You can hear ‘Taps’ being rung in the middle section of the song along with the Amazing Grace melody.

Most of us got misty-eyed during this song because John’s daughter, Marcy Olhausen, is one of us 28 ringers! She is the very beautiful woman standing in the front row, all the way to the left of screen.

She and I had an instant connection. She is a children’s teaching leader for Bible Study Fellowship, the same bible study program I attend. I handed her a box of Kleenex just before she went on stage. She showed me a framed picture of her father in his military uniform. She carried the picture on stage with her.

This piece and its back story created a very heartfelt moment for us all, one we will never forget. Thank you, Marcy.”

My favorite place in the piece happened around 5:15.  In that section you have the bass playing triplet arpeggios while the treble is ringing the melody and accompaniment in eight notes, and I was stuck in the middle having to follow both lines simultaneously.  The experience was quite the  rush, especially during such a dramatic piece.  I will admit that during rehearsals the part where “Taps” and “Amazing Grace” played together seemed cheesy, but listening back to the recording that section worked perfectly and sounded beautiful.

Even though we only played together for three days, I miss this group already!  There is a YouTube page for Virtuoso now, so go check it out!

Thanks to Wayne for letting me use his introduction.  A fun fact: Wayne works for NASA on the new Orion spacecraft.  You never know who you are going to meet in the handbell world.