Chicago's West Suburbs To Host Shadows of Bronze

Catch the BNSF Metra to Hinsdale to hear the Shadows of Bronze. Photo by Daniel M. Reck.
The Highlands depot serves the Hinsdale stop alongside the BNSF railroad tracks between Chicago and Aurora, Illinois. Photo by Daniel M. Reck.

HINSDALE, ILL. — Have you heard The Who's "Pinball Wizard" played on handbells?  The Shadows of Bronze, featuring handbell ringer Daniel M. Reck and pianist Michael B. Surratt, will perform this work and about a dozen others at concerts in the Chicago suburbs next weekend.

Reck and Surratt, along with flautist Rebecca M. Johnson, form a trio which performs a wide repertoire of music ranging from the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries.  Recognizable pops pieces like "Pinball Wizard" and "Plink, Plank, Plunk!" will be performed alongside stirring arrangements of "Amazing Grace" and of the hymn tune "Hyfrydol." [Video of "Symphonia on Hyfrydol"]

"The goal of the Shadows of Bronze is to engage our audience with an exciting program showcasing the many different ways that handbells can be used to perform music," says Reck, one of the group's founders.  "Many think of handbells as an instrument limited to playing hymns on Sunday morning and carols during the Christmas season."

In addition to recognizable songs like "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot [Video]," the Shadows of Bronze will also perform two pieces written specifically for handbells.  One, "Canzona" was co-composed by Caroline Harnley, who is affiliated with another group which uses handbells in a unique way: The Marching Handbell Choir has paraded for the Tournament of Roses Parade and is comprised of members from California, Oregon, and Washington.

"We have everything from the sublime to the ridiculous," says Reck, "but that is part of our educational and musical mission.  Not only do we want to play beautiful music, but to play beautiful music no one expects to hear come from our particular instruments."  Reck has performed on handbells for over 15 years, and Surratt has been a pianist and organist over four decades.  Johnson will not be performing on this program.

The Shadows of Bronze is giving a free concert on Sunday, June 27, 2010, at 1:30 PM at the Union Church of Hinsdale, located at 137 South Garfield Avenue.  The trio will give an educational demonstration the day before in Burr Ridge.  Both appearances will accept free-will offerings, which will be contributed in part back to the hosts' cultural programming missions.

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