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Publisher Profile: Dare Team Press

It’s early fall. Time to start bell practice again after the summer off. You’ve planned the services, ordered the music, set the practice schedule and you’re ready to hit the ground ringing. However...

Almost half of your bell choir is MIA, tied up with the demands of high school marching band. The remaining ringers don’t have the skills and/or aren’t interested in learning the techniques required to play solo/ensemble music, which, in most cases, assumes that the ringers can cover more than the standard two-bell assignments.

So what’s a director to do?

Carol Dare, a retired music teacher, challenged husband John, also a retired music teacher, to compose music that met the needs of her choir—pieces that were musically interesting and pleasing to listeners and could be played by small groups of ringers using only their standard two bell positions and the corresponding chromatic notes.

Dare Team Press was born.

When Carol was faced with a diminished number of ringers in the early fall every year, she realized that she had to think outside the box to find music that was accessible to the remaining choir members. Much of the music written for solo and ensemble ringing requires that the ringers be able to read and play more than the standard ‘two-bell position’ with its related chromatics but the ringers in Carol’s choir didn’t have or weren’t interested in learning the advanced skills needed for the solo/ensemble music in print at that time.

In stepped John to accept the challenge of writing music for a specific number of ringers using the standard bell positions. Creating music within those parameters ensured that the ringers didn’t need to struggle to play more bells than they were comfortable with, but instead were able to gain confidence and enjoy ringing. Around the same time, Carol saw several posts on Handbell-L from other directors looking for the same type of music. She sensed there was an unfilled need, so she and John started Dare Team Press.

The first publication from Dare Team Press was a collection for five ringers, released in 2003. Carol prepared the manuscripts, a local fast print company printed the copies and a local music store agreed to distribute the music. In 2013, Jeffers Handbell Supply became the distributor for Dare Team Press.

The Dare Team Press catalog features music for three, four, five or six ringers, with some titles that are flexible on the number of ringers needed. The pieces are either level 1 or level 2 in difficulty; the level 1 pieces allow beginning and less experienced ringers to sound good when they perform and the level 2 pieces are very handy on those occasions when a few ringers will be absent. In Carol’s words, “Easy music played accurately and musically sounds good and provides a satisfying experience for both the ringers and the congregation.”

Prior experience as a director had proved to Carol that the overall musicality of her bell choir improved when all ringers could distinguish the melody by sight. Knowing where the melody is and whether his/her notes are melody or harmony is important. By the time they actually hear it played, it is too late to ring their own notes appropriately. Therefore, she began using a green asterisk to mark the melodic notes in each ringer’s music, even if that ringer did not have any melodic notes. Since this was a laborious and time consuming task, she eventually realized that printing the melodic notes in red was an easier way to show the melodic notes in John’s compositions. Although printing the melody in red added extra work to her task of score preparation and raised the printing price, the end result was worth it; all ringers could clearly see the melodic line. Having complete editorial control over the finished product made this concept possible to execute. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the editor and the composer are married!

There are a lot of music writing duos out there (think Rogers & Hammerstein, George & Ira Gershwin, Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber to name a few), but how many of them are a husband and wife team? The name of the company - Dare Team Press - says it all. John and Carol are a family team. Each of them has a MIDI studio consisting of a Macintosh computer using Finale and a keyboard with a MIDI port. John composes for the fun of it. As editor, Carol prepares his files for publication and makes mp3 recordings for advertising. An added bonus is the ability to do all of this creative work from the comfort of their home.

To read in more detail about the variety of music available from Dare Team Press (including patriotic pieces, method books, Travelin’ Music, and the red note melody music mentioned above), please visit their website, http://www.dareteampress.com. All titles listed on their website are available through Jeffers Handbell Supply, Inc. The current new releases by Dare Team Press can be found on the Recent Promotions page of HandbellWorld.com


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