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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

The Golden Dance

English handbell performance by Michèle Sharik

Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 4:00 p.m.
at the Gualala Arts Center

Michele Sharik Michèle Sharik (pronunciation: share-ick) is raising bronze bells to the level of high art. Internationally renowned for her graceful and flowing style, she is an emerging artist in the growing genre of English handbell performance; an art that began as a popular pub activity some 400 years ago and from this humble beginning has developed into a concert performance instrument.

Michèle will present "The Golden Dance," a tapestry of story and music woven together in a presentation that takes the listener on a journey from Renaissance England to the Golden Gate, and all points in between.

Michele Sharik During the concert, this soloist will lift more than 250 lbs. of bronze in her own dance-like choreography combining both grace and strength. Michèle will be accompanied by Don Krieger on piano. English handbells were originally cast by the bell foundries in tuned sets for "change ringing," the practice of ringing a set of bells in every possible unrepeated sequence, to duplicate the heavy tower bells on a smaller scale. Tower ringers could practice change ringing on handbells in the warmth and comfort of a pub without disturbing the neighbors. In time, ringers began to play tunes on the bells, and it became a widespread musical art in Britain. The two world wars of the 20th century devastated the mostly-male British teams, but in the meantime handbells had spread to America, where the art survived and grew from a curiosity to the expressive and uniquely musical instrument it is today.

Michele Sharik In a handbell ensemble, nine to thirteen musicians will perform on three to five octaves of bells; as a soloist, Sharik performs alone on three and a half octaves (44 bells) of American-cast Malmark handbells. A visual as well as musical performer, a handbell soloist must combine the fluid grace of a dancer, the musicality of a virtuoso, and the precision of an athlete to perform on this demanding instrument.

Along with a new class of gifted musicians, Michèle is dedicated to presenting solo handbells as a concert instrument on a par with flute, harp, or piano. Visit for more information about Michèle, solo ringing, and the musical art of handbells.

Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 on the day of the performance; young people ages 7 through 17 are admitted free. Call the Gualala Arts office at (707) 884-1138. Visa and MasterCard accepted.

About Michèle:

Michele Sharik Born and raised in Ohio, Michèle began her musical career with the flute and studied composition and flute performance at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She began ringing and directing handbell choirs in 1991 and in January, 2002, she moved to the San Francisco Bay area to join America's premier professional classical handbell ensemble, Sonos ( In addition to touring internationally with Sonos, she teaches handbell lessons and workshops and appears as clinician at regional handbell events. She serves as Director of Handbells for two San Francisco Bay Area churches.

As a Handbell Solo Artist, she has competed in two national Solo/Ensemble events, and is increasingly in demand to take the stage across the United States, Canada and abroad. Past tours have included concerts in Arizona, Michigan, Colorado, Massachusetts and Texas as well as in London and Bristol (England), and Hong Kong (China). This summer she will play her second concert at the historic Dunblane Cathedral in Scotland. She has recently released her first full-length solo CD, Chimera.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.