Monday, March 8, 2010

Go the Distance - Kinjo Gakuin University Handbell Choir

This week is Unconventional Instrument Week at Covering the Mouse and we will be listening to Disney covers that are done on instruments that aren't normally heard in popular music. Today's cover is Go the Distance by the KINJO GAKUIN UNIVERSITY HANDBELL CHOIR from Nagoya, Japan.

In a handbell choir, every musician is responsible for one or two English Handbells. Each handbell is a different size which allows it to carry a different note of the chromatic scale. The musician's job is to carefully pay attention to the music and ring the bell every time it is time to play their note. Sound simple? Not quite. Timing is everything and the entire choir has to be perfectly in synch otherwise it may throw off their fellow ringers. Two or more handbells can be rung at the same time to make a chord, and tapping it on the table or clapping it with your hand can produce other sounds for percussive effect.

If you are in the right circles, handbell choirs are quite popular. There are scores of them throughout the world and many competitions and seminars revolving around them.

If you have never seen a handbell choir in action, this version of Go the Distance may not seem like a big deal. So I have included the following youtube video for you to see. The song being performed is the classic jazz standard Sing, Sing, Sing.

If you want to hear more Disney songs rung by a handbell choir, check out DISNEY HANDBELL FANTASY or if you would like to try being a part of a handbell choir, check out Wii Music. There are some great mini-games in which you play a role as a musician in a handbell choir, using the remote and nunchuck as handbells. It isn't as easy as you think!


Anonymous said...

Is this album available in the States? I need it, I must have it, the precious!

Kurtis said...

I'm afraid not. You can try ordering it off Amazon Japan (which I linked in the post).

I ordered my copy from my sister who conveniently lives in Japan.

Anonymous said...

I looked at the amazon Japan site, and my Japanese is not so good. Could you please provide a track listing for this album?


Kurtis said...

1) Disney Fantasy Bells on Parade (medley of various Disney songs)
2) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Medley
3) When You Wish Upon a Star
4) Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
5) Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo
6) Once Upon a Dream
7) Mickey Mouse March
8) Winnie the Pooh
9) Under the Sea
10) Part of Your World
11) Beauty and the Beast Medley
12) Aladdin Medley
13) The Lion King Medley
14) Hakuna Matata
15) Colors of the Wind
16) Go the Distance

DisneyFlamingo said...

This is so fabulous! I play in a handbell choir at my church and it can be hard but very fun at the same time. As always, thanx for the super cool and very unique post!

Anonymous said...

I've been a member of a handbell choir for almost 15 years now and I am in awe that I actually recognize a few of the pieces on this album.
I'm from Germany and sadly, amazon japan doesn't work for me :( But thank you so much for posting this! They sound amazing.