Listening Page #49: Paul Ellsworth

DECEMBER 21, 2008

Paul Ellsworth, Handbell Quartets for Christmas performed by The Master’s College Handbell Quartet

Sing We Now A’Wassailing
Three Kings and Three Ships

Both of these handbell quartets were written for Five Octave Frenzy at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA.  They were both performed and recorded in their respective years’ annual Come, ChristmasSing Christmas concerts at the school, as well as making it into several other handbell-related concerts on and off campus.  Both quartets make use of multiple bell ringing techniques, including malls, marts, a bell tree, shakes (normal and one starting from behind the table), and even a bell toss.  Musically, the works are not very complex, besides some rhythmic twists.  Because they were written for a specific audience (the Christmas concert audience), they were written to be “cloud pleasers,” but also had to be fun (and challenging) for the quartet to play.  There are also some hidden comical musical gestures.  The performers from left to right are Amanda Madrid, Leslie Ann Tulloch, Hannah Cooper, and Paul Ellsworth.

I was born into a Christian family and raised in a very solidly Biblical church.  I believe I was saved at age 6, but it was more from a fear of God’s wrath on my sin than from a love for Jesus Christ.  I was baptized at age 12 by immersion, in accordance with the Biblical command, but still did not think about the difference between loving Christ and “simply” fearing God – or rather, fearing what He could do.  I was homeschooled, but attended a junior college before attending The Master’s College.  While at the junior college, it became much clearer to me just how different a Christian’s life should be.  While I did not have many outward sins and could certainly act and talk like a Christian as well as anyone else, I still loved myself more than my God.  It was not until the latter several years at Master’s and more recently that I’ve been really coming to grips with what being a Christian truly/loving Christ above all else really means, and with what true humility is.  Humility hurts, because I’m such a prideful being.  I am still learning.

I was homeschooled through high school, and then attended a Gavilan College.  After taking about 50 units there, I transferred to The Master’s College.  I went there for four years and graduated with a B.M. in Theory and Composition and a B.S. in Computer Science.  While at Master’s, I wrote for a variety of groups and had a fair amount of performances, including those featured here.  My second (and most recent) composition teacher is also a member of CFAMC, Dr. Richard Pressley.  I also met my wife there (first day, in fact).  I am now empoyed by IBM as a software engineer doing software testing, and am very active in the music ministry (and everything else that a young “tech” guy is typically involved in) at Trinity Bible Church in Gilroy, CA, the church I grew up in and have gone to all my life, save while at Master’s.  At TBC, I am lead the choir and contemporary group, orchestrate/arrange/rehearse all the music for Sunday (unless I don’t have time and just use the Word Music hymn orchestrations), and am organizing and writing the music for a Christmas concert. In addition to the choir/contemporary group, our “orchestra” has trumpet, F. horn, tuba, non-pitched percussion, two clarinets, two saxes, two flutes/harps (both players play both), and piano and keyboard.  In addition to music, I enjoy doing website design/programming, biking, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, tennis (and most other sports), computer games, and reading.  I am an avid Tolkien fan, and also love George MacDonald, though we differ theologically in some significant areas.  My music website is currently undergoing reconstruction (functional but not much music is online at the moment). I also have some scores on and other recordings on youtube.

– – –  SOLI DEO GLORIA!  – – –

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