With the Angels - Volume XIII (2009)

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With the Angels · Volume XIII

The thirteenth album from The Allegro Handbell Ensemble includes a variety of classic and contemporary concert selections. The seven original works for handbells include "With the Angels, Let Us Sing," commissioned for the group and composed by Carl Wiltse.

Track Title Time Composer
1. Bell Jubilee* 1:12 Ellen Jane Lorenz
2. Capriccio* 4:19 Kevin McChesney
3. Siyahamba 4:45 South African Freedom Song,
arr. Robert J. Ward
4. Exodus Dance* 1:42 Derek K. Hakes
5. Prisms* 2:07 William A. Payn
6. Spirit Song 3:09 John Wimber,
arr. Cynthia Dobrinski
7. Hava Nageela 3:14 Israeli Folk Song,
arr. Douglas Floyd Smith
8. The Phantom of the Opera 5:42 Andrew Lloyd Webber,
arr. Douglas E. Wagner
9. The Nutcracker 4:36 Peter I. Tchaikovsky,
arr. Kevin McChesney

With the Angels, Let Us Sing*

Commissioned for the Allegro Handbell Ensemble in memory of Linda Tice.

3:56 Carl Wiltse
11. In the Hall of the Mountain King 2:43 Edvard Grieg,
arr. Michael Keller
12. Holy Manna 2:37 arr. Cathy Moklebust

Psalm Nine*

"I will Praise Thee, O Lord, with My Whole Heart"

3:10 Carl Wiltse
14. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 5:11 Franz Liszt,
arr. Douglas E. Wagner
15. Bell Boogie* 1:36 James C. Smith

* An original work for handbells.


The 2009 Allegro Handbell Ensemble
Brandon Woodle, Catherine Nienhouse, Peter Elias, Andy Tuggle, Ali Sunseri, Jonathon Schwarzbauer, Michael Doose, Erik Jaworski, Leah Tarabour, Lizzy Brady, Anna Krainc, and Chris Davey

Michael B. Surratt, conductor


Recorded Live: July 2, 2009
Sanctuary of the Union Church of Hinsdale
137 South Garfield Avenue
Hinsdale, Illinois 60521

Released: 2009 on Compact Disc and MP3


Producer: Michael Surratt

Recording Engineer and CD Mastering: Gerald G. LeCompte

Graphic Design and Photography: Daniel M. Reck, forzandoArts

Based Upon Angel Artwork by Amanda Hopper

Produced by:
Advanced Audio Technology
Carol Stream, Illinois

Copyright 2009, Allegro Handbell Ensemble and the Union Church of Hinsdale, Illinois.

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From the CD Insert

"Allegro," as an Italian musical instruction, means "fast." It was also the name of a toy alligator brought along on the group’s second tour in 1976. The mascot’s name stuck, and the ensemble had a name: The Allegro Handbell Choir.

Begun by John Macdonald in 1967, the group gained national recognition and made its first European tour under the leadership of Dwight K. Menard, performing over fifty concerts each season. Menard also began the ensemble’s tradition of commissioning original music for handbells, which has continued under the direction of Michael B. Surratt since 1979. "With the Angels, Let Us Sing," featured on the tenth track of this album, was commissioned in memory of Linda Tice, whose daughter was on tour with the choir at the time of her mother’s death. At the request of her family, composer Carl Wiltse included a quote from the carol "Silent Night" in the music.

Since the group’s founding, the Allegro Handbell Choir has performed with five octaves of Schulmerich handbells, cast in Sellersville, Pennsylvania. In 1998, the ensemble received a generous donation of five octaves of Malmark handchimes, manufactured in Plumsteadville, Pennsylvania.

On several of the European tours, there was confusion about how the group would perform. Audiences would sometimes ask when the choir would sing. It was finally determined that, in Europe, the word "choir" specificaly implies a vocal group. For the 2000 Summer Concert Tour, the group changed its name again and became the Allegro Handbell Ensemble.

Mr. Surratt has conducted the Allegro Handbell Ensemble for over thirty years, and the group continues its educational programs, despite increased demands on time for today’s high school students. The ensemble performs regularly for civic, charitable, and community groups, as well as in local elementary schools and holiday programs.

The Allegro Handbell Ensemble has toured throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and parts of Mexico. The group presents a wealth of information about themselves, their instruments, and other recordings on their website at www.allegrobells.org.