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Home > Articles > An interview with Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble

An interview with Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble

    This month we sat down with Tim Waugh and Ed Tompkins from Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble based in Charlotte, North Carolina. For those who don't know Charlotte Bronze is a non-profit, auditioned, community ensemble that consists of 2 groups of 13 ringers.  They currently have 23  ringers in the ensemble. Their talented members include a number of music educators, 3 conductors, and 2 composers. 6 of their ringers have participated in Distinctly Bronze and 2 were recently selected to perform in the Virtuoso ensemble that performed earlier this month at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh, NC.
    So how exactly does performing with 2 handbell choirs work? Each choir practices and develops independent repertoires, but they also ring together as one large choir. They also enjoy working with other Charlotte area musicians. They enjoyed a fun collaboration with the Charlotte Children's Chorus on a holiday performance in 2013. More recently, they have incorporated vocal, percussion, keyboard, and strings performers to expand their musical offering. Every December, they perform 2 holiday concerts, followed by 2 concerts during their spring season. They host a workshop in the fall for beginning and intermediate handbell ringers and have a Fun Ring every summer for all skill levels.
    Charlotte Bronze is lucky enough to be privy to lots of exciting new music due to their close relationship with a multitude of composers. So many in fact, that each Charlotte Bronze concert features a brand new composition, often the very first public performance of the piece. This coming season they will be debuting a new piece by Matthew Prins, “Revelation 12:7 (The Archangel Michael and The Dragon)”
    They perform all of these lovely pieces on an impressive array of handbells. Since they don't own their own set yet, Morning Star Lutheran Church is kind enough to lend their instruments to Charlotte Bronze for their concerts. They perform on two sets of Malmark handbells (a 6 octave set and a 5 octave set) and 2 sets of Malmark Choirchimes (a 6 octave set and a 3 octave set). Tim Waugh, their founding conductor and artistic director, also brings along his 3 octave set of Schulmerich handbells and 3 octave set of Whitechapel handbells.
    When they are not performing, they call First United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC home. They practice every Monday for 3 hours on a 5 octave set of Malmark handbells and a 3 octave set of Malmark Choirchimes. You can find Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble online at www.charlottebronze.wordpress.com and on Facebook. They post great pictures, their upcoming concert schedule, and more!


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