The Raleigh Ringers use the most extensive collection of handbells and bell-like instruments owned by a single performing group in the world. The current grand total is 29.5 octaves composed of 361 individual pieces of equipment. [Wow!]For a complete description of the different types of bells used by the group, you will need to visit their website. The photos alone are quite illustrative of the physical differences in bells.
But why so much variety?
Similar to the way pipe organs utilize different ranks of pipes, each individual handbell set has its own unique sound. By mixing the sounds together, handbell ringers are able to create contrasting moods and highlight melodic lines. A piece of music can take on a new personality simply by playing sections of it on a different brand or design of handbells.And with that many bells, the group actually has their own truck.
So, without further ado, here are the Raleigh Ringers performing “Wizards in Winter” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Enjoy!