Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thanks for the Music

Dear Nancy Hascall,

After about 11 years, I'm leaving the handbell choir at the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple because my husband and I are relocating to Massachusetts for a job.  This Sunday is my last Sunday of ringing with them, and in honor of that I got to choose the song we're playing.  I chose your composition "Gethsemane."

This is actually the third time I've played this piece with the choir, and I absolutely love it.   I first rang it at the D & E-5 slot.  Then I moved to F & G-5, where I currently stand.  When we pulled this song out again, it was funny--my muscles remembered exactly what to do, and before my standmate could think about turning the first page, I'd already instinctively flipped it.

I love how this song feels like Lent.  Its quiet beginning, the tumult of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the acceptance of His impending death.  It's one of the few songs I've played that emotionally exhausts me.  In the middle of the piece, after a few measures of clashing chords that are resolved through dampening certain bells, I feel a strange, yet exhilarating relief.  It's not a difficult section for me--it's just that I get so charged up by the emotion of the music, and I feel glad that I can quietly sink back into a moving melody line that shifts into a meditation.

It's a really beautiful piece to play, and the music captures the feelings you had beautifully. I just wanted to say thanks for writing it.

Your pal,

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