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Shall We Gather? A Collaborative Handbell Concert
Two of Minnesota’s top handbell ensembles are joining together to present a concert focusing on a “water” theme. Duluth’s own Strikepoint, one of the world’s premier handbell ensembles, will be joined by Bells of the Lakes from Minneapolis in this collaborative concert. Admission is free but freewill offerings will be taken to defray expenses. The concerts are a preview of the groups’ performance at the National Handbell Directors Seminar in St. Louis in July.
The “water” theme of this concert reflects the ensembles’ pride in living in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and near the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The program selections include familiar tunes, such as “Wade in the Water,” Disney’s “Under the Sea” and Handel’s Water Music Suite, as well as original music for handbells and even some pieces created just for this program.
Strikepoint is unique among touring handbell groups as a combination community professional/church group and an adult/youth ensemble. Led by Bill Alexander, this eleven-member group usually performs in a directorless ensemble setting. Since their beginning in 1984, Strikepoint has toured throughout the United States and seven other countries, and has been featured at numerous regional and national handbell events.
Bells of the Lakes is directed by Bill Mathis. The group plays a variety of music, from short and flashy to extended classical works. It annually records demos for Choristers Guild music publishers and have performed at many regional and national events. Known for creativity and artistry, Bells of the Lakes shares its work with the handbell world through its annual seminar and a one-day festival.
While these two ensembles are different in style, they both strive to show audiences how much music and enjoyment can be found though handbells well played and interestingly programmed.