The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Handbell Choir will take the stage Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. Their UW Oshkosh Composition Studio Recital will be held in the Music Hall of the Arts and Communication Center on campus.
This year’s performance is a collaboration between Leigh-Ann Lethco’s handbell choir and Ed Martin and David Dies’ composition theory classes. Martin and Dies’ students created the works for Lethco’s students. The April 17 concert will feature these works.
“I believe that while the students are attending UWO they should have many opportunities to practice their skills in a supportive and lab-like setting,” Lethco said. “None of the composers had handbell playing or composition experience. After a seminar on handbell playing, the varying techniques, and composing for handbells, they were inspired.”
Like the composers that had no previous experience developing music for a handbell choir, in general the handbell choir students also have no previous experience with the instruments. Students from many different majors participate in the handbell choir, Lethco said. The only criteria to be a part of the choir is the ability to read music. From there, handbell students learn as they go.
“There has been so much excitement within the handbell choir to make the music come to life as the composers envisioned. The composers wrote creative and difficult music,” Lethco said. “They have challenged us technically and musically.”
The University Handbell Choir began with four students in 2004. The choir is open to all students of any major who have an interest in learning to ring with precision and expression. Each semester the choir develops a repertoire of traditional works with advanced ringing techniques and performs both on and off campus.