Saturday, August 15, 2009

Strikepoint Came to Town!

Strikepoint is a bell choir from Duluth MN that played a concert at our church tonight. The meaning of their name is when the bells are cast, they are tested to find the strikepoint, the spot on the bell which when struck produces the purest sound and the truest pitch. Their bell choir challenge is to seek out and produce the sound that is truest to the music, the bells, their listeners and themselves.

They have been on the road so far 13 days, and have done 11 concerts - with tomorrow afternoon the last concert at 3 PM at their "copper top" church in Duluth. I wish there would have been more people there, because it was a wonderful concert. I went in early, as our bell choir made supper for them and the host families that they are staying with tonight. After serving, we sat and ate also and visited with the members. There are two adults in this group and the other 9 are high school and college students. They played at Fargo, Bismarck Dickinson ND; Billings, Misoula and Bozeman Mt; Yakima Wa; Beverton and Tillamook Or, Boise Id, here in Park Rapids and ending tomorrow back in Duluth. I didn't list it in order of their stops, because they mixed it up. The 3 kids I visited with said they had so much fun, as they all rode in one van, and the van pulled a trailer that stored all their luggage and equipment. They played alot of car games, and did stop to do some sighseeing. Bill (director & driver, because that's the best seat) said there was a lot of laughing! And now at the end of the trip, they're still all friends. Strikepoint is celebrating 25 years this summer! What an accomplishment for this group from the First United Methodist Church of Duluth. They do a summer tour every year and have traveled to most of the states, and overseas. I just can't imagine all the fund raising that is needed for this big project. I asked one girl how much practicing they did, and for this trip, how long. She said they practiced 2 - 3 hrs per week on Sunday evenings since January. She is in college in Minneapolis and drives to Duluth for practice every Sunday. That is dedication! Their director is a high school band teacher and what a personality. He is great in front of a crowd; with the bell choir members, and I bet his band students think he's great too. He directed while playing bells! They played some bells that I had never seen before. There were bells shaped like a tin can, of different sizes. There were only 6 bell choir sets ever made, and they have one. Their note rang a little tinnier, but when played in the songs they did; the music was beautiful. One song "Under the Sea" was done with audience participation. Bottles of bubbles were passed out to everyone, and we blew bubbles in church and there were beach balls bouncing around during the whole song. The bell choir had goofy beach wear hats on, and they enjoyed playing that song. "Fantasy on Kingsfold" was a song also with audience participation. The director had everyone snapping their fingers at certain times, as the sound of raining and storming were in the song. Surprising how it all came together. Each member did not only play 4 bells (like we do), but played multiple bells in hand (3 in each hand) on the smaller higher octave bells. They were also reaching and passing bells. It was fun to watch. The bell choir also played some bass instruments they had made together. There were three, made out of PVC pipe, with beginning and ending open. They had several elbows and the bass tones were made deeper according to the total length of each one. They glued the elbows and then painted the pipe. The sound was made with a bopper made out of a ping pong paddle with a sponge glued on. Before the concert they dampened the sponge. When that note was to be played; instead of ringing a bell, they bopped the end of the 4 inch conduit! Bill said that after the employees at Lowe's discovered they weren't using the conduit for sewer pipe, that the employees got into the fun of making them too! Makes me want to try to make some. They substituted for the low, low bells; D2, E2 & F2. I'm sure it took some tweeking to get the note in tune! Rather than spending over $3000.00 on one bell, it cost about $100.00 to make one PVC pipe bell! Pretty neat... I did take a couple spots of video on my camera, when they played the PVC. Will try to copy that over.


West Side of Straight said...

Yeh! The video worked! from me

Growing Up A Country Girl said...

Hey - you did great and now into video! It looks like it was a wonderful concert...I had saw the flyer and thought it would be fun and then we had other things going on... Next time! You did a great job covering this!

Far Side of Fifty said...

The video was great. I wished it was longer! Very interesting! I always admire anyone remotely musical:)