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Sonos Handbell Ensemble to
perform March 28 at Fowler Center

March 7, 2006 -- The Sonos Handbell Ensemble Sonos Handbell Ensemblewill perform Tuesday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Since its founding in the San Francisco Bay area in 1990, Sonos has been at the forefront of handbell artistry. With a collective experience of more than 100 years of handbell ringing, Sonos’ virtuosity mesmerizes audiences at major world events.

Through touring and appearances on major television and radio broadcasts, the group has introduced handbell virtuosity to millions of people around the world. Most recently, Sonos was heard on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” on a National Public Radio broadcast from the San Francisco’s Masonic Theater. Other recent performances in major Japanese concerts halls were sell-out successes with every audience demanding multiple encores.

Sonos has almost literally moved handbells into the musical mainstream by seeking the best transcriptions and original material available. The group constantly strives to encourage composers to write for bells alone and in combination with other instruments and voices, and premiere these works.

Sonos’ first CD on the Well-Tempered label -- called "sensational" by the San Francisco Examiner -- was entered in three categories in the 37th Grammy Awards. Two months after the release, this CD appeared in the November 1994 Gramophone magazine as disc of the month for KFUO-St Louis, classical radio.

“Christmas with Sonos,” the second release, was selected as disc of the month by San Francisco's classical KDFC-FM and appeared in the December 1995 issue of Gramophone magazine.

The third CD, “Classical Sonos,” featuring the music of Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart was released in 1996. A fourth recording released in 2001, “A Very Classical Christmas” with flutist Timothy Day, was chosen by the New York Times' WQXR and NPR's Weekend Edition as “top pics of the season.”

Founding director James Meredith has conducted handbell ensembles since 1983, touring America and Asia, reaching thousands of people with his award-winning and visionary work in this medium. A native of North Carolina, Meredith received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of North Carolina and a master of fine arts degree from Tulane University.

As a solo pianist, vocal coach, accompanist and conductor in America, Europe and Asia, his work has brought him into contact with such artists as Elly Ameling, Frederica von Stade, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Olivia Stapp, Eleanor Steber, Gerald Moore and Dalton Baldwin.

As a published composer with 23 works in print, Meredith's works are the leading edge in handbell literature, especially with the 1997 premiere of the major work Kodo Tryptich for handbells and percussion.

Performance tickets may be purchased by calling 870-972-2781 or 1-888-278-3267, or online at

Prices are $30 and $20 for adults; $23 and $15 for ASU faculty and staff, senior adults, and K-12 students; with a special ASU student rate of $10 and $6.

The next Fowler Center Series concert will be the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performing on Friday, April 21.

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