APRIL 10, 2010 — HINSDALE, ILL. — "Simple Gifts" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" will begin the 8:00 and 10:00 AM services tomorrow morning. Michael B. Surratt and Daniel M. Reck, members of the Shadows of Bronze, will play piano and handbells throughout each service.
"It's great to come home to Union Church," says Reck, who grew up in Hinsdale, a suburb of Chicago. "I've enjoyed making music with many different congregations, but it's never the same as the one you grew up in," he says. Reck first learned to play handbells at Union Church in 1993 and has been ringing ever since. At first he rang with the middle school-aged ensemble at the church, then with the Allegro Handbell Ensemble, and eventually becoming a soloist.
Surratt is the church's Director of Music Ministries and Organist, a position he has held since 1971. In that role, he also directs the handbell ensembles. Elsewhere in the handbell world, he has been an occasional contributor to Overtones, a journal centered on the instrument and those who play it, build it, and write music for it.
During the service, he and Reck will also play the "Evening Prayer" from the Englebert Humperdinck opera, Hänsel und Gretel. Also in the bulletin is "Amazing Grace" and "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow."
"We will play McChesney's 'Symphonia on Hyfrydol' during the postlude," says Reck. The work is a series of variations on the popular tune which forms the basis of several favorite worship hymns. "We want to leave the congregation with a truly joyful noise," Reck says.
After the services, Surratt and Reck will perform for the high school students of the Allegro Handbell Ensemble at their afternoon rehearsal. Reck will demonstrate solo techniques and encourage the youth to consider attempting solo and small ensemble repertoire.
Photo courtesy of Union Church of Hinsdale.