Saturday, September 29, 2007

For whom the bells toll

Today, I attended what was the final weekend of what may be my last renaissance festival in this area (Does Wyoming even have these?). This year, they had a rather unique new act: A masked man with the world's only portable Carillon, ringing out some beautiful music every one and half hours, calling his show Cast In Bronze.

For those of you too lazy to click the link, a carillon, is essentially twenty or thirty some bells affixed to a frame, with the clappers rigged up with levers and cords, so all the bells can be played by one man at the helm. These aren't the little hand bells you may have heard in your church choir. These are heavy bronze beasts that range in size from "Oversized Coffee Mug" to "Liberty Bell."

Anyway it's worth listening to the audio clips on his website, but if you ever get the chance to see this live, take it. Because this thing is so unheard of, the artist takes the opportunity to flavor his act a bit, putting on a black suit and mask, referring to himself as the "Spirit of the Bells," and playing with a kind of Phantom of the Opera flourish. Several of my friends thought this was over the top, but it's a friggin' REN FAIRE. If you play a 4-ton, virtually priceless instrament that almost no one has heard of, you should get to ham it up a little, especially at an event where everyone is wearing armor, puffy shirts, fairy wings, or corsets.

No comments: