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Forte Handbell Quartet
Rethink Possible. That is what Forté hopes to do on their upcoming tour between Colorado Springs and Rochester, NY. Inspired by the exciting advances and ideas of performers and musicians both within and beyond the handbell world, and staying true to their own mission of exploration, Forté is testing boundaries, questioning conceptions, and challenging themselves and the whole handbell world to Rethink Possible. As they tour to and from the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar, they will be presenting performances of a broad range of musical styles, including many not often heard on the instrument.
Forté was formed in 2007 from members of the Pikes Peak Ringers, with whom they have collaborated on several tours and concerts. Luke Nabeta is the Forté’s leader and longest-standing member, with Megan Reishus, Dillon Ekle, and Tory Marting forming the rest of the quartet.
They practice together twice a week, usually for at least 3 hours at a time, and each member puts in additional time on their own as necessary. Forté plays on 5 octaves of Schulmerich bells plus an F2, a C#8, a D8, and 3 octaves of Schulmerich handchimes. Some of that range, along with duplicate bells, are typically borrowed from their friends at First Lutheran Church (the church who graciously hosts Forté’s rehearsals) and from the Pikes Peak Ringers. At last count, Forté’s most equipment-heavy piece involves 98 bells and chimes, though they have another with 102 instruments total when including other percussion.
With the last couple of personnel changes, Forté has taken the opportunity to refocus their goals and mission, and they have become increasingly active in the past few years. Forté now plays about 2-3 concert sets of their own each year in addition to appearing in concert with other community groups in the area. They also occasionally play for church services, weddings, and private workshops.
In addition to live performances, Forté also dedicates a large portion of their energy to creating music videos for some of their repertoire. In the name of handbells, Forté has climbed mountains, crossed fields, rivers, and train tracks, endured severe sunburn and bug bites, gone clubbing and bar-hopping, and has plans to visit castles, churches, and other scenic locales, all with bells in hand. It’s a sacrifice, but someone has to do it.
One of Forté’s fan favorite concert pieces is always “Sabre Dance” (Khachaturian, arr. Cheryl (Sutton) Baker), to which they have added a lot of original choreography. Another favorite is “All of Me,” a piano piece by Jon Schmidt (The Piano Guys). The most overwhelming response to a music video so far has been for “Carillon” by Kevin McChesney, which they filmed on top of a mountain in Colorado. They also have a several new pieces that they are particularly excited about, which they will reveal on their upcoming tour.
More information can be found on Forté’s website, and be sure to “Like” their Facebook page and subscribe to their YouTube Channel to keep up with their endeavors and concert schedule! Questions or comments can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.