Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 328

We have an interesting handbell piece on the docket for this weekend. It’s not easy, so it will be interesting to see if we hit it. Here’s a recording.

Our church purchased a new organ. A side note is that the organ is the first produced by a local (Cincinnati) company. In order to promote their product, the company sponsored a concert featuring a distinguished organist – Christoph Bull from UCLA. Wow … he impressed us – so for those who enjoy organ music, here is one of his videos.

Christians are early in the season of Lent. Interestingly, here’s an article about using digital technology for Lenten reflections.

Here’s a look at the lighter side. Enjoy this almost 2 minute trip with a skier going around town.

This is fun. The Atlantic creates a timeline based on a birthday. Here’s the link so you can try it.

Cincinnati and Xavier are two college basketball programs that are competitive, respectful, and regularly in the tournament. These two schools are separated by 3.5 miles (5.6 k). Interestingly, Northern Kentucky University is only 11 miles (18 km) from the most northern (XU), and they will definitely will have a spot on the brackets to be announced on Sunday. So will Cincinnati, and maybe Xavier.

When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2009, I saw it as a start with hopes that Congress would work out the problems that would arise. Both parties have greatly failed doing that. Now it appears the same thing will happen, just with the other side of the aisle – meaning Congress remains selfish and clueless.

Comparing the ACA with the proposed replacement is a prime example of how Democrats have a tendency to over-regulate while Republicans under-regulate.

Although many have grumbled at the replacement plan, I haven’t heard the insurance industry issuing angst – which means a reason to question the plan.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is enjoying a ratings boost due to his relentless anti-Trump rants during his monologue. We watch (live or recorded) because he’s good for a laugh.

People who regularly watch the nightly opinion-oriented shows on cable news networks are not only feeding their bias, but are also driving themselves into a frenzy – and neither is good for America.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Above normal temperature this past winter
Not placing a phone tap on Trump Tower phones
North Korea continuing to bomb the sea
My alma mater approaching 50 years without making the NCAA basketball tournament
Wikileaks, WikiPooPoo ,PeePeeLeaks, leaks and leeks

 

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers the pros and cons for a two-party political system.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
God getting strong urges to bring dinosaurs back
Study finds exposure to violent children causes increased aggression in video game characters
Pope Francis spotted sunbathing nude in St. Peter’s Square
Carhartt introduces rugged work throng (A pic doe those who dare to look)
Lemur fantasizes about ripping face off of next dumbshit who calls it a monkey

Interesting Reads
How smoothies delay hunger
How to eat like a Viking
Fall of the Romanovs
Giving up sugar: Lent and the brain
5 future technologies that got real in 2016
Norba and the Romans
(Gallery) A celebration of photography

Here’s another oldie from Huey Lewis and the News to send you into the weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 326

It’s been an interesting week for me as I’ve been in bachelorhood as my wife is one her annual cruise with her lady friends. The answer is simple when people ask me what I will do – “I will do whatever I want, whenever I want.”

I spent a lot of time our on the ballroom circuit. It’s been a good time dancing with friends … and it is a good chance to work on leading. For those getting the wrong impression, I’ve been in a crowd where at least a third of the people know me … and would be the worst place to do something stupid.

One afternoon I went to downtown Cincinnati searching for murals that I haven’t posted here.

Here’s an entertaining musical interlude. Very creative, but does this guy have too much time on his hands?

A big wow to the recent news about NASA discovering a new set of earth-sized planets with the potential of having liquid water. Here’s the news release from NASA, and the first video is worth the two minutes.

It seems salted black licorice is common in northern Europe. I found it in a store here. Interesting combination of flavors. Have you ever had salted black licorice?

My wife returns soon … and the house will be clean … including the bathrooms.

Our handbell choir is playing an interesting piece soon at our Ash Wednesday service. To me, it’s a fitting sound for the start of Lent. For those who want to listen, look for the Listen button near the sheet music image. Click here.

There will be a light post ready for your Saturday morning.

President Donald Trump continual attacks on the press continues to be a sign that he is afraid of the truth.

Question: Why does President Trump spend so much time watching Fake News?

I hate to inform people, but like him or not, Donald Trump was dutifully elected and is our president.

A local congressman had an editorial for proposing dismantling the U.S. Dept. of Education. I say why stop there – re-organize the whole damn government structure!

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Fake news
Certain media outlets being the enemy of the people
Hostile town hall meetings
Fig tree issues in Italy
My wife going on a cruise causing me to celebrate my birthday on my own

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for personal cybersecurity.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Humiliated Man Discovers Embroidery On His Jean Pockets
Open-Minded Man Tries To Get News From Variety Of Facebook Friends
Man Thinking About Just Packing Up And Making Exact Same Mistakes Someplace Far Away
Goose finally realizes it doesn’t have to honk like an idiot entire time it’s flapping its wings
30-million-year-old species worried it doesn’t have another evolution in it

Interesting Reads
Women and governance in India
Why sleeping bats don’t fall
Thoughts about laundry chutes
Evolution of technology
(Photo Gallery) Australian farmland

Many seemed to enjoy the Traveling Wilburys last week, so here’s another one from them to send you into the weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Mid-Week Holiday 2016 Briefs

Given the mid-week status of this post due to the approaching holiday, this is a variation of the weekly Opinion in the Shorts, which probably won’t reappear until after ringing in 2017.

The next post will be my holiday greeting, which I hope goes live in time for Christmas Eve in Australia/New Zealand. Hope everyone has a time to stop by as there will be quite the selection of goodies.

For the last week of December, I will have a few Explore posts, followed by a post to lead us into 2017.

The Electoral College has voted, so Election 2016 is over. In the aftermath since Election Day, hopefully Americans have learned more about the Electoral College. I know I have – but I’ll save that post for another day.

The fact that I’m not listing a “Obama’s Fault” list is Obama’s fault. However, columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote that President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is Obama’s fault.

For those needing some handbell music for the holidays, here’s a recording of the version we will be playing of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

For readers who enjoy a feel-good story, CBS News had this touching report about the origin of Secret Santa.

I was saddened to receive the news of the passing of a blogger – especially one who was kind and smart – let alone talented in her own craft. Blogging makes the world smaller. Even though most of us will never meet, we impact each other through our interactions. To Cynthia Jobin, aka Littleoldladywho, thank you for sharing yourself through your poems and in your interactions with me and others. Here is her last poem (and for those who don’t know, there is also an audio). To me, I heard her talking about herself – but I may be wrong.

The recent announcement of the latest inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ceiling is starting to crack. Although no Moody Blues (which were not consider this year), the wait is over for three worthy bands: Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, and Yes.

On a Monday

Warm weather was upon Cincinnati this weekend. What was the weather like in your part of the world? Tell us about your weekend.

As with most weekends, ours was filled with a variety. From ballroom dance to attending our first Reds baseball game of the season … from organizing our recent mess to planting new plants … from attending a birthday party to playing handbells. Yep .. we stayed busy.

Knowing that some of my readers enjoying hearing the handbell pieces we play, click here for Fantasy on Terra Beata, which is interesting and we received kind words from numerous attendees.

Celebrations for your week

  • (Week) American Craft Beer Week, Police Week, Food Allergy Awareness Week, Nursing Home Week, Hospital Week, Return to Work Week, Transportation Week, Women’s Health Week, Reading is Fun Week, Children Book Week, Salute to Moms Over 35 Week, Bike to Work Week, Dog Bite Prevention Week, Neuropathy Awareness Week, Stuttering Awareness Week, Pet Week, Music Week, Etiquette Week, Historic Preservation Week
  • (Mon) Limerick Day, Nutty Fudge Day, Odometer Day, Women’s Check-up Day
  • (Tues) Frog Jumping Day, Hug Your Cat Day, Cough Drop Day, Leprechaun Day, Blame Someone Else Day, Apple Pie Day, Fruit Cocktail Day
  • (Wed) Donate a Day’s Wages to Charity Day, Chicken Dance Day, Night-shirt/Third-Shift Workers Day, Crazy Day, Stars and Stripes Forever Day, Marshmallow Fluff Day, Buttermilk Biscuit Day
  • (Thurs) Brown Bag Thursday, Over the Rainbow Day, Straw Hat Day, Dinosaur Day, Nylon Stockings Day, Tuberous Sclerosis Day, Chocolate Chip Day, MPS Awareness Day, Day of Families, Hyperemisis Gravidarum Awareness Day

With this weekend includes Hug Your Cat Day, that reminds me of  this funny video that I’ve used before. Enjoy … and have a good week.

On Premiering a Fantasia

When a new handbell piece appears in my folder, I examine certain things for my own sake.

Image from Hope Publishing

Image from Hope Publishing

Who is the composer/arranger? Cool … it’s Kevin McChesney, he’s one of the best!

What’s the difficulty level? Hmmmm … Why isn’t this piece rated?

So, what publisher forgot the rating? Huh? There isn’t one!

Maybe it’s on the page? How long is this thing? What!!! This has twice as many pages as anything else we’ve ever played!

Is there a dedication? OMG! Someone commissioned this for our church and the approaching 50th anniversary celebration.

ForAllTheSaintsGlass

Stained glass at All Saints Episcopal Church (Jensen Beach, FL) from Wikipedia

Starting in late August, our choir worked hard to prepare Fantasia on “For All the Saints”, a lively take for handbells on the classic hymn For All the Saints (music by Ralph Vaughn Williams and lyrics by William How) … (and my part was quite challenging).

We would premier the piece at the 50th Anniversary celebration dinner of our congregation, as well as playing it Sunday morning. Fittingly, and seemingly coincidentally, it was also All Saints Sunday.

As time drew closer, I carried memories of this good friend who would have loved this piece, but was murdered … and this good friend and bell ringer who cancer quickly vanquished from us … and to other friends who I’ve met at church that we no longer see for one reason or another … and to members of my family. To top it off, a past pastor returned and delivered a wonderful sermon that reminded everyone that each of us as saints and sinners.

At the dinner, one of our handbell choir members introduced the piece. Her words were so fitting that when she read it at rehearsal earlier in the week, my eyes got a little watery – and the portion below is good for this post.

The text of the first verse is especially appropriate for any occasion in which we stop to reflect on a community of faith:

“For all the saints // who from their labors rest // who thee by faith // before the world confessed // thy name O Jesus // be forever blest. // Alleluia, Alleluia!”

At one point, you’ll be able to hear those Alleluias passed among several bells and intermixed with the melody.

We couldn’t imagine a more fitting tribute on this All Saints weekend, when we honor the saints who are in this room and the saints who have made 50 years of ministry and fellowship at Prince of Peace possible.

In time, publishers will make this piece available for others to play, but I can proudly say that I was in the first choir to play it and the dedication line indicates our church.

While you’re watching, observe many ringing techniques throughout the choir.  Enjoy the blog premier of Fantasia on “For All the Saints”.

On A to Z

a-z-2013Someone declared April as A-to-Z Challenge Month. Sure, the challenge’s intent is to have a separate post for each letter, but hey – I have a streak of independence.

With 1,167 posts before this one, why not use my archives to meet the challenge? After all, even frequent readers aren’t aware of some of the posts.

Therefore, I present A Frank Angle’s A-to-Z. Visit as many as you like, because as in my tradition, there is something for all …. so hopefully you’ll visit at least one.

AFAa2zBadgeA is for Acquaintance – People that were not in my graduation class: set 1 and set 2

B is for Ballroom – … and ballroom dance delivers benefits

C is for Cruising – We like cruising, so start your trip with a click

D is for Dinner Group – … We hosted a night of Chopped

E is for Education Reform – Although the need is obvious, here are the obstacles

F is for Frank – Yep, that’s my name, but these are the All-Time Franks in baseball

G is for God and Government – I must say that this post about the separation of church and state is pretty darn good

H is for Handbells – It takes many bells to make one instrument

I is for Italian – I’m 100% Italian heritage, and Ellis Island is an important place

J is for Joys – To whatever give you joy, but for some of us, it’s reliving the cartoons of our youth, and here is where the series started, which led to the first honoree

K is for Knowledge – What do you know about supersonic kangaroos?

L is for LearnerLearning should never stop

M is for Moderate – This early post defines an independent moderate, thus shows why neither party wants me … well, except for my vote

N is for News – Staying informed is important, but there is something more biased than the media

O is for Ohio River – A story from my hometown on a river during my youth.

P is for Politics – I wrote this shortly after the 2008 election, but before the Tea Party’s emergence (which is what makes this post interesting)

Q is for Quantum – Actually, this past post was On a Quantum Thought

R is for Recipes – I’m sort of a Foodie, so try Cranberry Sausage Spaghetti or my own spaghetti sauce that offers a little crunch

S is for Science – Like sports, science has players, plays, rules, and boundaries

T is for Trieste – A beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea that is the place of my birth

U is for Universe – The universe is vast and inspiring, and this post includes one of my absolute favorite videos

V is for Victory – The raised arm created an unexpected moment in college

W is for Wonders – There are many wonders in our world, and let’s not forget Fibonacci, Pi, and Tau

X is for X-Factor – and one X-factor in life is forgiveness

Y is for Why because I can – This is the first main post about the religion-science interchange; now there are 44, plus here is the very first post

Z is for Zinfandel – I enjoy a wide spectrum of wines, especially reds, but zins were the first to capture my fancy – and cheers to the wine group at church

AAA+++ Bonus for the bloggers on my sidebar and on the More Bloggers page, for as without them and you, I wouldn’t be here, so try to visiting someone soon that you don’t know, and tell them I sent you.

Addendum: To learn more about the A Frank Angle A-to-Z Challenge, click here.

On One Instrument

A piano is one instrument with 88 keys (52 white, 36 black). Typically, one PianoKeysperson reads many notes on piano music to create rhythmic patterns aimed to please the audience. I’m not a piano player, but I admire the pianist’s skills not only with their hands, but their ability to read and play so many notes on a page. Yet, a piano is one instrument played by one person.

MusicalNotesFrequencyBands and orchestras are large groups of different instruments working together as a unit to create a complex musical sound. However, just like the piano, each member is responsible for one instrument – and their music typically displays the notes for one instrument. Therefore, it is the conductor’s responsibility to bring the instrumentation of the ensemble together to please the audience.

Although they also produce music for an audience, handbells are different because they are one instrument that multiple people play together. I imagine you never thought of a handbell choir being one instrument, but it is – Therefore, this post aims to explain this single instrument with its numerous freestanding pieces.

For starters, the number of bells in a choir varies depending on the number of Handbellsmembers and their skills. One handbell is the equivalent to one key on the piano. In our choir, that’s about 60 bells for 13-14 people – but every song doesn’t require every bell. (Note: If we had the players and money, we could add about 36 more bells.) Occasionally, music also requires some players to use handchimes, which I will work in later.

For those thinking that piano music looks busy, handbell music is more so because composers place all the notes for the entire choir together. Yep – that means the player must have the ability to locate their notes among the jungle. (I’m responsible for 2-4 notes/bells).

Besides the all the notes and standard information as key, tempo, and dynamics, handbell music has additional marking for the techniques that create a variety of sounds. Terms include marts, ring touch, let vibrate, mallets, plucks, echoes, damp, mart lifts, swings, gyros, shakes, mallet rolls, and more. (Yep, symbols for each technique.) Players can also adjust the hardness of the clamper inside the bell. (The soft setting sound is mellow, while the hard setting sound is bright; and, there is an in-between setting.

See this short (less than 2 minutes) video demonstrating some techniques.


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Just like other musical ensembles, the conductor has the responsibility of bringing it all together – but with handbells, the conductor orchestrates multiple people playing one instrument – quite the challenge! Now watch this video to see everything come together in a short, spurt of madness from Ring of Fire! (Watch for the different techniques.)


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Earlier, I mentioned handchimes. Like handbells, its one handchime per note – but they produce a different sound. Besides handchimes, handbell choirs may incorporate other instruments. We have played with piano, organ, trumpet, violin, flute, drums, contrabass bars, other percussion, and singers.

In closing, I hope this has helped you understand what is involved, so now enjoy the Raleigh Ringers with handbells, handchimes, cello, flute, and mallet chimes – and notice all the bells behind them that are not used in this piece. Ah yes, who would have imagined that the complexity of one instrument.

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Note: Special thanks to Madam Weebles for the thought triggering this post.