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Two Music Faculty Publish Groundbreaking Works

February 4, 2003

Dr. Carol Ann Bell, associate professor of piano, along with her husband, Dr. Digby Bell, completed a new edition of Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dances for one piano, four hands. Their edition, published by Alfred Publishing, includes new fingerings, pedal markings and detailed historical perspective for each piece.

Dr. Jim Hansford, professor of music and director of bands, co-wrote and edited The Instrumental Resource for Church and School. The 400-page textbook, published by Church Street Press, was compiled and edited by Hansford and Dr. Julie Barrier, adjunct professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and associate minister of worship at Casas Adobe Baptist Church in Tucson, Ariz.

The Bells' two-volume piano book contains 21 Hungarian Dances arranged by Johannes Brahms from popular folk songs. The first volume contains 10 dances and the second contains 11.

The tunes were made popular by gypsy bands in the 19th century. Brahms arranged the tunes for piano after accompanying a Hungarian gypsy violinist who introduced him to the tunes early in his career.

Bell wrote part of her doctoral dissertation on the songs.

"I've always loved the dances," she said. "They are so energetic and so much fun."

Because of the scholarship and historical perspective involved, the edition is the first of its kind. Some of the commentary in the introduction to the pieces comes directly from Bell's dissertation.

The project has taken nearly 10 years from start to finish, not counting the time she spent on her dissertation. Seeing it come to fruition has been the most exciting part, she said.

"I'm so proud of it," she said. "The Alfred people seem really excited, too, because the whole edition is quite different than anything that's out there."

Both volumes should be available in stores in early 2003.

Before coming to OBU in 1990, Bell served as adjunct professor of music with Oklahoma City Community College. She previously was a vocal music teacher at Norman Public Schools for 12 years.

She earned her undergraduate degree in music education from William Carey College and later received master's and doctoral degrees in piano performance from the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Digby Bell is professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma where he was a member of the School of Music faculty from 1953-90. He also has taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Arkansas.

Hansford's text features more than 40 prominent contributors, includes articles by Camp Kirkland, Jon Duncan, Douglas Yeo, Jeff Cranfill, Doug Smith, John Gage, and David Winkler. In addition to helping compile and edit the book, Hansford wrote the chapter, "The Instrumental Conductor," and had input for the chapter "The Christian School Instrumental Music Educator."

The coordinating editor for the project was Mark Johnson, a 1982 OBU graduate and a ministry specialist in recording and publishing for Lifeway Christian Resources.

"Until the release of this textbook, there was no single resource available where all this information could be accessed," Hansford said. "This is an excellent desk resource for the local minister of music, the instrumental church music director, or the Christian school band or orchestra director."

Each section includes a list of web sites relevant to the topics discussed.

"This textbook can serve as a vital tool for musicians who strive to create meaningful instrumental worship," Hansford said.

The textbook also presents a historical perspective on instruments in worship, insight on launching a fine arts academy and information on instrumental music arrangement. It includes more than 150 photographs. It also contains examples and charts, a scripture index, a chart of ranges and transpositions for the orchestral instruments and a general index.

Hansford has taught advanced conducting, instrumental music education, and brass courses at OBU since 1990. He conducts the Symphonic Band and the newly organized Shawnee Community Orchestra.

He earned a bachelor of music education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and master of music education and doctor of music degrees from the University of North Texas. He previously served on the faculty of Wayland Baptist University.

Hansford is active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in both public school and church arenas.