On Saturday afternoon I attended the Honolulu Handbell Ensemble concert at LCH which featured all four members of the Stark Family in combination with handbells. Director Young Pak put together a most enjoyable program on the theme “Peace;” nearly all of the pieces had the word “peace” in the title.
We heard handbell music in a solo role, and handbells as accompaniment to solo violin, flute, voice, and percussion.
Here’s the program:
Peace (from the Royal Fireworks Music) — G. F. Handel/K. McChesney
Sheep may safely graze —Bach/Young Pak
Du bist die ruh [“You are peace”] — Schubert; Georgine Stark, soprano solo
Peace in our time —Cathy Moklebust; Darel Stark, violin solo
Creation will be at peace —Anna L. Page; Sophia Stark, soprano solo
I Got Peace Like a River — Spiritual/Michael Mazzatenta
Rock-a My Soul — Spiritual/Linda Lamb; Raphael Stark, percussion
Prayer for Peace — Mendelssohn/Kirk Aamot; The Stark Family
Make me a channel of your peace — Sebastian Temple/Douglas Wagner;
Georgine and Sophia Stark, duet
This is my father’s world — F. Sheppard/B. Harlan; Anne Lum, flute
Let there be peace on earth — J. Jackson & Sy Miller; The Stark Family
This all-volunteer handbell ensemble certainly is hardworking — the concert lasted almost an hour-and-a-half and the handbells played in nearly every piece. The major work of the program was the violin concerto, “Peace in our time,” with three movements. I had never heard the name Cathy Moklebust, and found out that she is an internationally-known handbell composer and percussionist who in 2005, was awarded Composer of the Year by Jeffers Handbell Supply. Her music has been broadcast on Today, Good Morning, America, public television, public radio, and Sirius satellite radio.
I do believe that this is the first time there has been a solo handbell ensemble concert in LCH, and as such, the audience was exposed to the many unusual techniques of playing the bells, such as being played with mallets, struck on the table (martellato), tower bell swings, and the like. It did bring me back to my handbell choir days of the mid-80s, and what I marveled at most was how easily the players turned pages with gloves on.
It was a lovely afternoon!