Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Twin Cities Bronze: Welcome Doug Benton!

Twin Cities Bronze: Welcome Doug Benton!: "We are so excited to have Doug Benton join us at rehearsal this weekend to see his transcription of Prelude for Holberg's Time performed in..."

Welcome Doug Benton!

We are so excited to have Doug Benton join us at rehearsal this weekend to see his transcription of Prelude for Holberg's Time performed in person for the first time!

Doug has achieved a national reputation for excellence as Clinician and Massed Conductor. He began working with handbells in 1973 and brings great energy and a wealth of experience in all facets of music to the podium and classroom. His primary stated goal is to "have fun--creating music!"

We were so proud to premier Holberg, which is dedicated to Twin Cities Bronze, at Pinnacle in Nashville last month, and make it part of our current repertoire!

Doug first encountered Twin Cities Bronze at the AGEHR Area 11 festival in Denver where the ensemble was a featured performer. As he told our Artistic Director, Monica McGowan, he has always wanted to transcribe Grieg's Holberg for handbells, but until he saw Twin Cities Bronze live and in person he'd never found a group up to the demands of the piece...complex rhythm, outstanding mallet technique, and blinding speed.

We love playing the transcription, especially the glissando. To be honest, we're not QUITE sure how we get all those notes in one measure...but it certainly works!

You can watch Twin Cities Bronze play Holberg

Sunday and Doug's visit are only a few days away. With his permission, we'll tell you the working title we assigned Holberg while we were learning it. In any event, we'll let you know how we did!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

That's what Chris said when we saw the Twin Cities skyline. Ten long days of touring, loading, performing, unloading...not to mention losing Awesome Dave and our bus, riding a First Student unit to Dubuque, and gaining a new motor coach with driver Pat.
The homecoming concert was really amazing. Tons of people. We were realxed and ready to go, and for the first time in over a week the temperature and humidity were within tolerable levels.
Music pastor Gary at Immanuel gave us a wonderful introduction, and we played our hearts out for our friends. Some were die-hard TCB fans, some family, some board members, and people who travelled very far to see and hear us.
All in all it was a wonderful tour. We performed for people we love, and who love us. We learned, we shared, and we had "wicked" fun."
Check out the blog in the the two weeks as we talk about the new Insights Into Artistry teaching seminars and instructors!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Dubuque

First and foremost, tonight we had a great concert at Church of the Nativity in Debuque. Gorgeous facility and fabulous acoustics.
Our adventure getting there, however, is another story all together.
We'd visited the Historic Lincoln Home and Old State Capital , had a great lunch and were rolling our way down the road. Awesome Dave and Bonnie and Sara and I were playing trivia when an alarm went off on the bus dashboard. Luckily, we were near an off ramp at Woodhull, Iowa. So, we limped into the truck stop and Dave, Bill and Monica proceeded to open up the guts of the coach and give it a physical. The initial diagnosis was three loose belts. Further examination revealed a wobbly pulley.
The funniest part was all of a sudden half of Woodhull turned out to help. So, Progressive Travel arranged a substitute bus to get us to Dubuque and Awesome Dave stayed behind with every mechanic in Wodhull, and we loaded EVERYTHING onto a First Student school bus from Galesburg with our new best friend Gary.
Poor Dave is stuck in Woodhull on the couch of one of the mechanical volunteers (need I say there are no Comfort Suites in Woodhull? Or any other accomodation for that matter?) He'll be there until Monday.
Meanwhile, Progressive sent us another coach and a new driver, Pat, who will get us all to our homecoming concert in Eden Prairie tomorrow.
We sure will miss Dave...he's been one of the highlights of the trip!

Friday, July 23, 2010

St Louis and Springfield

Today we headed to St. Louis for a ride up the fabulous and famous arch. As Dave pulled into the bus drop off zone, something outside the windowmcaught Chris' eye. Lo and behold, it was Alyssa...standing waiting to greet us!
Due to her work schedule, Alyssa couldn't come on tour with us, but she flew into St Louis this morning, and took a commuter train to the arch to meet up with the team for the weekend. Patti was great at keeping the secret, but if we'd paid attention we would have figured it out. Her garment bag was with us the whole time, along with her personally labeled plastic cup. We're so excited to see her and have "Number 15" on the coach!
The arch was beautiful, although crowded and very hot. Once we'd done the requisite trek to the top, Dave motored us to Springfield. Tomorrow morning we'll catch the Lincoln Library and some other historic sites, and then head to Dubuque for the concert tomorrow night.
Only three days until our homecoming!

Grace United Methodist in Cape Girardeau, MO

What a great day! We left Nashville about 9 and stopped to tour The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, and learned more about his irrascible personality. Then we headed toward Cape Girardeau for our show. On the way to the church we saw a giant marquee that said "Welcome Twin Cities Bronze Handbell Concert". What a photo op!
The "Grace Notes" handbell choirs cooked dinner for us. Whenever we tour and have churches on the schedule, a highlight is the variety of delicious salads, main dishes, sides, and desserts we get to try. As Alec said, dinner is always better in the church basement. And it was!
The weather in Cape was absolutely beastly. I think the temp at 10 pm was 86 degrees, and the dewpoint was about the same. As always, Amazing Dave helped us unload and load the bus. He's a real treasure.
Our concert was really well attended, and we rocked the repertoire! The same comments seem to follow us around..."how DO you do that???", "You're amazing!" One of the attendees said she almost "jumped out of her skin" because the peformance was so electric. Woot for us!

Tomorrow Awesome Dave will drive us to St Louis to ride up in the arch, then on to Springfield, Il to tour the Lincoln Museum.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's Our Last Day In Nashville

The concert yesterday was a huge success.
We're receiving major kudos from the Who's Who of the handbell composer and arranger world. Many kind words from the likes of Arnold Sherman, Hart Morris, Michael Joy...we're lucky to have so many fans among the handbell famous. Monica's outsanding relationships with these people, and our connections to the handbell world at large make it a wonderful experience to share our passion and artistry.
However, the highligh of the conference has to be the electrifying performance by Vivace from Puerto Rico. These amazing kids, ages 13 to about 22, start ringing bells before they are the age of 5. Latin rhythm is part of their DNA. And they are exquisitely coached and directed by the two Carlos. Vivace brought down the house!
Tonight we're off on a cruise of the Cumberland River on the General Jackson paddle boat. Although the General Jackson usually hosts country music stars during their dinner cruises, tonight it's the world famous Raleigh Ringers. For most of us this will be the first time we've seen the Ringers perform live. Should be a thrill!