Standing Room Only
Colorado Suite is a set of four pieces, each representing an aspect of our beautiful home state. The recurring fanfare of 7 notes suggests a phrase that might be sung or played to produce echoes in a mountain canyon. Other thematic material appears in various forms in all movements of this concert work, which is lovingly dedicated to The Pikes Peak Ringers.
The Concerto Adventure - On Oct 2, 2004, the Pikes Peak Ringers premiered Ring Of Fire, Concerto For Handbell Choir and Orchestra with the Fort Collins Symphony, Wes Kenney, Director. It was the beginning of a year-long adventure that was challenging, exciting, and unforgettable.
10 concerts were played with 6 different orchestras in the 2004-05 season; that has to be some kind of record. Six of these conserts featured the Concerto - with the Fort Collins Symphony, the Lone Tree Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, and orchestra musicians of Nashville, TN.
The Concerto is traditional in form - three movements, featuring a virtuosos soloist. In this case, the soloist is the handbell choir, and 15 ringers are required - the world's largest soloist! The ringers use a 5 octave set, a 3 octave set, several 6th/7th octave bass bells, and other individual duplicate bells, representing bells from 6 different sets!
And it is virtuoso music. Handbell music doesn't get more intricate than what you are hearing here. Many long hours of hard work went into these performances and this recording; it took a tremendous amount of dedication, energy, and belief in the cause to make it all happen.
In addition to the complex musical considerations, PPR has a signature visual style which involves highly coordinated moves and music-pictures. It is in our work with the Concerto that we received the highest compliment we've ever gotten. After all Concerto performances, 100% of the comments we received concerned the piece itself. What that means is that all the choreography and diligent work on our visual presentation were transparent to the music. It may seem strange, but the highest compliment our work on visual style could have received is that it went unnoticed as an element in itself and truly served the music.
In our work with these fine orchestras, we had the privilege of working with many first-rate professionals; we also met some wonderful people and made some life-long friends. We feel tremendously grateful for the opportunities that we have been generously given.
And, of course, we hope it's only the beginning...