I spend far more time than any normal person should watching videos of handbell performances online, so I get excited when groups post entire concerts on YouTube. Andente Handbells from Japan recently uploaded most of the pieces from their 20th anniversary concert. Not only is bell ringing great, but the camera work is interesting.
As demonstrated by that performance of “Bugler’s Holiday” by Leroy Anderson and arranged by Hart Morris, this group has some impressive skills. However, who ever did the videography decided to have some fun with it. I’m a big fan of the conductor cam. No longer will the faces conductors make at their groups be secret. Now everyone will know when the conductor shoots you an evil glare at measure 68 when you forget your bell change again…
Here’s another fabulous performance. This is J. Strauss’s “New Pizzicato Ploka”, arranged by M.L. Thompson. Plucking is admittedly not my favorite technique; I’ll usually try everything possible to avoid using it. But they make it looks so effortless.
In fact everything they do looks effortless. I can’t tell if their faces are content, stoic, or bored. But either way, the music they make is stunning. This last piece from their concert, “Nocturne No.3 Liebesträume” by F. Liszt and arranged by J. Muschick is gorgeous. It shows off all the best aspects of modern bell ringing: big chords, killer arpeggios, and chimes blended with the bells.
Watching this got me thinking, if you were given the opportunity to film a group as good as this, what unique camera angles would you use? I know for my group at home I’d love to put a camera under the table some time so that everyone can see how much our feet move during performances. Or maybe a helmet camera for the bass ringer so that the audience can watch them hunt for bells continuously during a piece. Let us know in the comments what aspect of ringing you would film.
Also, don’t forget that submissions for the first ever Worlds Greatest Handbell Festival are still open! Send us your videos today!