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The Bells Are Ringing For Free

November 27, 2012

Sonos bell ringers: free tour preview concert Sonos Handbell Ensemble is getting ready for its tour of Japan by giving a free preview concert at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 in Walnut Creek's Grace Presbyterian. Sonos director James Meredith says:

Sonos has taken a very traditional 400-year old instrument and moved it into the 21st century. We do this in two ways. First, we develop new ways of playing bells like the "singing bell" technique borrowed from the Buddhist "singing bowl" tradition. You will hear this in several of the pieces we play. Second, we commission new works by contemporary composers. These works, which often include a symphony orchestra, push handbells squarely into the 21st century. Last year we were guest artists with the San Francisco Symphony.

Meredith is the composer of Smirti, Sanskrit for "remembrance," honoring victims of Japan's tsunami last year, and of other catastrophic events. The group is returning to Sendai, the city it visited on previous tours, "knowing that the city we knew has been almost completely destroyed," says Meredith.

The guest artist, both at the preview concert and on the tour, is cellist Emil Miland, playing the solo in Smirti, Villa-Lobos' Bachianas No. 5, Aria (arranged by Meredith), and Three Medieval Carols.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].