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Virginia Bronze Handbell Ensemble
Virginia Bronze is an auditioned community handbell ensemble based in the Northern Virginia/Metro DC area. The 19 members and 2 interns play 7 octaves of Schulmerich handbells and 5 octaves of Malmark handchimes. Carol Feather Martin is the Artistic Director; Nick Hanson is the Assistant to the Director. The group practices weekly for two hours at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington, VA. They have a full day retreat in August, a half day retreat in January and an extra 2 hour rehearsal on the Saturday two weeks prior to each concert.
Virginia Bronze attends many Area III festivals as both participants and clinicians. In 2010, they were the featured performers for the HMA Pinnacle in Tennessee and for the National AGO Convention in Washington, DC. Two of their favorite pieces are “Doxology on CONDITOR ALME SIDERIUM” (also known as “Creator of the Stars of Night”) by Hart Morris, which was commissioned by Virginia Bronze and debuted at the AGO Convention mentioned above and “Rhapsody in Blue” written by George Gershwin and arranged for handbells, piano and clarinet by Carol Feather Martin, Nick Hanson and Fran Underwood (member).
Community outreach is through local workshops and the annual four concert series as Artists in Residence at George Washington Masonic Memorial, performances at First Night Alexandria and as guests with the Alexandria Symphony, the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC, the Cathedral Choral Society (at Washington National Cathedral) and the Metropolitan Chorus of Arlington, VA (links to these groups are found under Concert History on Virginia Bronze's webpage).
The group also plays at local retirement centers and private schools, and have recently formed Resonances, a smaller ensemble from within the membership that is suited for more intimate settings such as company parties, holiday gatherings, receptions and weddings. Another exciting new venture is the testing of a new program for public schools that combines bells and science, scheduled to begin in 2016. They frequently invite area performers to join them on their concerts and this spring, are teaming up with the Alexandria Symphony to work with an Orff ensemble from one of the local schools.
Which brings us to that “Dueling Mallets” concert. If you're going to be in the DC area on June 5th, you might want to check out that match-up to see who wins the mallet wars! And don't forget to join them on March 13th for “Nature's Whimsy”. Virginia Bronze guarantees that you won't hear the same piece of music twice! More information and tickets are available on their website.
Connect with Virginia Bronze through their website, Facebook page, YouTube channel and on Twitter. Happy 10th Anniversary Virginia Bronze! Here's to many more.