A couple months ago Bryce and I drove over the mountain to record Bell Appeal performing in San Francisco. Their entire concert was original arrangements of popular music. The whole experience blew us away, but one piece in particular stood out to me. This arrangement of Snow Patrol‘s “What If This Storm Ends” by Cliffard Reilly is absolutely stunning (Cliff is also the one conducting in this video). There are so many layers to the arrangement that you can feel the storm brewing and unleashing it’s power over the audience. I still get goose bumps every time I hear this performance like I did when I was sitting in the audience listening to it unfold live.
I also chose this arrangement to post last because I believe this is the future of handbells in popular music. When we originally posted the recording of this concert, we received quite a few complaints about how the handbells were not the primary instrument. Every piece had at least one singer and the arrangements included piano, bass guitar, drums, and organ, so I can see how some handbell enthusiasts would complain that the bells were not front and center. In my mind, however, the handbells were the core of the music. The bells add a flavor to these arrangements of popular songs that makes them unique and original. After listening to the performance above, listen to the original of the song below and you can immediately tell the difference. There is something primeval, something natural about hearing bells in music that musicians can’t create on drums and guitars alone. Yes, the bells are not playing the melody. But popular music’s appeal lies in the lyrics most of the time, and try as we might, our bells can not sing. So bring on the drums, bass, piano, and vocals and lets make bell rock bands. The future of bell ringing is coming.
Here is the original of recording of “What If This Storm Ends” by Snow Patrol.
And thus ends another pop music week. If you find any interesting arrangements of popular music on handbells, send them our way and we may spotlight them!