Sacred Heart rings in a new bell instructor

Mrs.+Gennaro+instructs+the+Convent+Sacred+Heart%27s+bell+choir+in+a+christmas+song+during+their+morning+practice.

Haley Davis '17

Mrs. Gennaro instructs the Convent Sacred Heart's bell choir in a christmas song during their morning practice.

The melodious sounds of the Convent of the Sacred Heart bell choir continues to fill the halls under the instruction of new Bell Choir Director and alumna Ms. Danielle Gennaro ’05.

Having played bells as a student in Sacred Heart’s Middle and Upper School, Ms. Gennaro is excited to return to the Sacred Heart community where she originally developed her love for the instrument.

During her time in the Middle School bell choir, Ms. Gennaro performed traditional songs for liturgies, and modern pop songs for fun. She especially enjoyed playing her own arrangement of “Hedwig’s Theme” from the Harry Potter movies.

When Ms. Gennaro transitioned into the Upper School, there was no bell program for her to pursue her passion. As a result, she started the Instrumental Club, which met during lunch to talk about music and rehearse songs to perform for the Upper School.

Mrs. Gennaro instructs the Convent Sacred Heart's bell choir in a christmas song during their morning practice. Haley Davis '17
Ms. Gennaro instructs the Sacred Heart’s bell choir in a christmas song during their morning practice.
Haley Davis ’17

In Ms. Gennaro’s senior year, Sacred Heart introduced a bell program in the Upper School. At Prize Day, the group performed a version of “Pachelbels Canon” that the members arranged themselves with handbells, flutes, violins, and a clarinet.

Upon graduating from Sacred Heart, Ms. Gennaro attended Fordham University, where she found difficulty pursuing her passion for bells.

“There weren’t handbell choir at many of our colleges, so a few of us had actually looked into buying a set of bells and starting our own choir outside of school. Unfortunately, we learned that bells are very expensive, ” Ms. Gennaro said.

After graduating from Fordham, Ms. Gennaro joined the Riverside Ringers bell choir at Riverside Church, located in Manhattan. The group performed at the Annual English Handbell Festival.

The following year, Ms. Gennaro heard about the opportunity to lead Sacred Heart’s Middle and Upper School bell choir in the 2014-2015 school year.

“I have such wonderful memories from my time involved with the music program at Sacred Heart, so when I found this opening, I knew it was what I wanted to do,” Ms. Gennaro said. “I am so excited to share my love for music with a new generation of students and continue the tradition of bells at Sacred Heart.”

Students are eager to participate in the bell choir under Ms. Gennaro’s leadership.

“Ms. Gennaro has such passion for music which she demonstrates daily during performances and practices, and it is really contagious. I am excited to learn new techniques and songs from her, and have fun this year with the rest of the choir,” sophomore Kathryn Allyn said.

There are currently 34 girls in the two Upper School bell choirs and 12 girls in the Middle School bell choir. The groups are working on traditional songs to perform in liturgies and the Christmas Concert but will eventually start to learn popular pop songs as well.

 

As leader of the Middle and Upper School bell choir, Ms. Gennaro hopes to educate Sacred Heart students on new techniques and expand the bell choir program.

Ms. Gennaro teaches sophomore, Emily Micciulli how to read the music notes. Haley Davis ’17

“I am excited to explore different music styles and ringing techniques, and even get to some more advanced music. And finally, it would be great for the Upper School choirs to take their bells beyond the CSH community and perform for nursing homes or children’s hospital,” Ms. Gennaro said. “I am already thrilled with the amount of interest in bells and the size of our two Upper School choirs, but I would always like to see more girls join.”