Distinctly Bronze East 2014


October 9-12, 2014

Public Concert – Sunday, October 12, 4:00 PM – $5.00 Admission at the Door

New Bern Riverfront Convention Center

New Bern, North Carolina

Kevin McChesney, Conductor

Registration is now full.  A waiting list has been started.  To add your name to the waiting list, please complete ALL steps for event registration including ringing preference and information forms.  To see the registration requirements, follow the Registration link below. 

Repertoire  Lodging
 Evaluation Process



What is Distinctly Bronze?

Distinctly Bronze is an event which is thrilling and challenging, fun and intense, exhausting and invigorating. This massed ringing event for advanced handbell musicians offers the unique opportunity to perform on the largest sets of handbells available under the direction of Kevin McChesney.  Rehearsals Thursday, October 9, through Sunday, October 12, lead up to the Sunday afternoon concert, which is open to the public ($5.00 admission at the door.)

Participants are expected to rehearse and learn the music before arriving in New Bern – our time together is for making music, not learning notes!

Where do we meet?

We are returning for our eighth year to the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center which is located on the waterfront of the Neuse and Trent Rivers, adjacent to the downtown and historic district. New Bern is a small and friendly town that is the second oldest city in North Carolina, as well as the home of the first capital of the state. The history of the area contrasts with the modern New Bern Riverfront Convention Center which features a spacious ballroom for our rehearsals, meal, reception and concert. There are restaurants and shops within a four-block walk.

Who should attend?

Successful Distinctly Bronze participants have the following traits:

Committed to learning all of the music on their own. Learning means going beyond the notes – you know where the musical line is and can see/hear the overall picture.

  • Learns quickly
  • Understands that the overall musical result is more important than the individual
  • Has experience with music approaching the difficulty of the DB repertoire (difficulty of at least AGEHR level 4)
  • Is willing to adapt to a different philosophy of handbell assignments and sharing
  • Can play a variety of positions, and is flexible about position assignment
  • Has the stamina, energy and attention for lengthy rehearsals during the 4 1/2 days of the event
  • Has good rehearsal etiquette – is prompt & cheerful, and attends ALL rehearsals
  • Has self-awareness to realize when he/she “is the problem” (as in playing wrong rhythm, wrong bell, wrong dynamic, not following the director), and, without prompting or comment from anyone, either remedies the problem or sits out that passage
  • Understands that ringing is a collaborative effort. All the notes must be rung musically. This may require sharing handbells with neighbors or giving one or more handbells to a different musician for an entire piece.
  • Is open to constructive comments
  • Doesn’t crumble under performance pressure

 How do I attend?

All first time registrants must be accepted to attend. The acceptance process includes submission of an attendee information sheet, as well as two recommendations from ringing or directing colleagues. Distinctly Bronze is an event for experienced, capable handbell musicians who can prepare on their own, are seeking to increase their musicianship, perhaps ring repertoire that is not an option at home, and will give full attention and effort to the closing concert.

There are only 120 ringing positions at Distinctly Bronze East, and often those positions are filled by late May, so register early!

For complete details on the registration process for first-time and returning attendees, see the section on Registration.

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The registration fee for this year’s event is $295.00.  All registrants must have their own membership in Handbell Musicians of America or be the primary contact on a group members.

In addition to working with conductor Kevin McChesney, your registration fee includes two meals (dinner Thursday and lunch Sunday),  a Distinctly Bronze East polo shirt, and a CD recording of the final concert. You also have the opportunity to ring with talented colleagues and network with other friendly Handbell Musicians of America members. Additional meals, polo shirts or CDs can be ordered by completing the appropriate line on the Registration Form.

Registrants are required to have their own active Handbell Musicians of America membership—either personally or as the primary contact for a church or organization.  To join Handbell Musicians of America, follow this link or contact the national office for assistance.

Ringing assignments are based on your response to the Ringing Assignments online survey. Ringing assignments will NOT be confirmed until full payment for the event has been received.

Have you attended Distinctly Bronze in the past?

YES      or       NO



What is your DB Alumni status?

Your status and the expiration date of that status were indicated in the communication (letter or e-mail) you received after the last Distinctly Bronze event you completed. There are three categories:


Yes, can attend one DB event within the next 24 months (4 events total) – no reapplication required.  If don’t attend within that period, will be required to reapply. Proceed to Registration


Yes, can attend one DB event within the next 24 months (4 events total) – no reapplication required.  If don’t attend within that period, will be required to reapply.  Expected to show improvement at next event.  Proceed to Registration


No, must reapply and may be asked to provide a video and/or evidence of significant skills building experiences such as lessons, workshops.  Specific areas in which improvement is needed will be cited. Follow instructions below for Alumni Re-Apply.

If you don’t know your status, contact event chair, Sheryl Cory.


First-time Attendees

If you would like to apply to attend Distinctly Bronze, please follow these steps as soon as possible:

1 –  Log in to your Guild member account and register for the event on-line.  You will see the link to registration on your login welcome screen.  If you do not have your own membership in Handbell Musicians of America, you may join here or call the national office (937-438-0085) for assistance.  You can opt to pay just a $100 deposit or the full registration. Your deposit/registration fee will be returned if you are not accepted.

2 –  Complete and submit the on-line Attendee Information Form

3 –  Use the appropriate link from the registration confirmation e-mail you will receive to submit your Ringing Assignment Preferences or use of these options: Sub Bass Positions (below C4) OR Positions 1 through 11 (C4-C8.) The closing date for the first placement group is June 1, 2013.

4 – Contact two references that have observed you ringing within the past year and ask them to complete the on-line Handbell Musician Recommendation Form. YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR ENSURING THAT YOUR TWO RECOMMENDATIONS ARE RECEIVED. You will not be contacted if your recommendations are not received in a timely manner.

Please note that no applications will be considered until ALL OF THE ABOVE FORMS & RECOMMENDATIONS are received by the national office.

Distinctly Bronze Alumni

Complete the following items as soon as possible:

1 – Log in to your member account and complete the online event registration, paying either a $100 Deposit or the full registration fee.  You will see the link to registration on the login welcome screen.  If you do not have your own Handbell Musicians of America membership, join here or call the national office (937-438-0085) for assistance.

2 – Submit your ringing preferences via one of the following on-line options: Sub Bass Positions (below C4) OR Positions 1 through 11 (C4-C8). The closing date for the first placement group is June 1, 2013.

3 – If your alumni status has expired, also complete this Alumni Re-Apply Form.


All Registrants

Please make note of the following important dates and deadlines:

  • Two weeks following receipt of all required forms – Alumni will be notified of acceptance to the event
  • Three weeks following receipt of all required forms, including recommendations – First-time applicants will be notified of acceptance to the event
  • Your payment will be processed at the time you submit your on-line registration for the event.
  • You will receive a follow-up e-mail from the event chair once ALL APPLICATION MATERIALS have been received and your application has been reviewed and accepted. THIS IS YOUR CONFIRMATION. If you DO NOT receive this confirmation, it is your responsibility to follow up with the National Office to make sure your application has been received.
  • June 15, 2014– Final payment is due to the national office.
  • June 30, 2014– Ringing assignments will be sent to all accepted registrants that have paid in full.

All items can be completed on-line by following the above links. Hard copy printed versions of all forms will be available through the national office by contacting Vickie Iverson, Event Registrar.



This policy applies to refunds for ANY reason, including medical, family and business. This policy applies even if we fill your slot with another ringer. If you desire, you can receive a copy of the DBE2014 recording at no charge if you cancel.

A $100 deposit is required to enter your registration. That deposit is refundable only when:

•   A first-time applicant is not accepted

•   An individual on the wait list is not offered a slot, or declines a slot offered after 9/1/14.

Fee refunds minus the $100 deposit will be made for written or email cancellations received by 7/31/14. Cancellations received by 9/1/14 will be refunded 50% of registration fee less deposit; after 9/1/14 registration is not refundable. See the table below for specific amounts.

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William H. Griffin Scholarship Fund offers one scholarship to the 2014 East event. The scholarship provides full registration and up to $700 for travel & lodging expenses. Applications are now available through the Dayton office or online with a submission deadline of June 1, 2014. Both alumni and first timers may apply. First time attendees must be accepted through the procedure here before being eligible for the scholarship.

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You are responsible for purchasing and rehearsing the music. Repertoire notes regarding problem solving, corrections and other items may be sent at various times before the event.





Toccata #3 Kevin McChesney Sonology/SM14-03 Available in special Distinctly Bronze Packet through sonologymusic.com
Savior of the Nations, Come Arr. Sandra Eithun Jeffers/JHS9479
Double Chorus G.F. Handel/trans. Owen Williams Fred Bock Music Will be available through Jeffers Handbell Supply Soon
Overture to “The Barber of Seville” G. Rossini/trans. Martha Lynn Thompson Jeffers/JHS9229
Playera E. Granados/trans. Brad Vanderweit Fred Bock Music Will be available through Jeffers Handbell Supply Soon
Cantilene Karen Buckwalter Shawnee Press/SPHP5313
Cascades David Tiedman AGEHR Publishing David Davison Composition Contest Winner – Availability information coming soon
Fire – Movement #3 from “Ring of Fire – Concerto for Handbell Choir and Orchestra” Kevin McChesney Sonology Music Available in special Distinctly Bronze Packet through sonologymusic.com
Superman March J. Williams/trans. Darrell Richards (direct from orchestral score) Unpublished Available in special Distinctly Bronze Packet through sonologymusic.com

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Equipment load-in and setup as soon as venue is available.  If you are in New Bern early and are available to assist, please come by the convention center.

 Thursday, October 9

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Finish load-in and set-up
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Distinctly Bronze Registration (lunch on your own)
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM Welcome Announcements for ALL RINGERS
2:30 PM – 5:00 PM Rehearsal (break 3:45-3:55pm)
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Dinner provided
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Rehearsal


Friday, October 10

8:30 AM – 9:45 AM Rehearsal
9:45 AM – 2:00 PM Treble (D5-C9) Free (lunch on your own)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Bass (C2-C5) Sectional
12:00 PM – 4:20 PM Bass Free (lunch on your own)
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Treble Sectional
4:20 PM -7:00 PM Rehearsal (break 5:50-6:00pm)
7:00 PM Dinner (on your own)


Saturday, October 11

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Rehearsal (break 10:30-10:40am)
12:00 PM -1:30 PM Lunch (on your own)
1:30 PM – 6:00 PM Rehearsal (breaks 3:00-3:15pm & 4:45-5:00pm)
6:00 PM Dinner (on your own)


Sunday, October 12

9:00 AM -11:30 AM Rehearsal (break 10:15-10:25am)
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Hotel Checkout
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Provided Lunch & Closing Announcements
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Final Rehearsal
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Final Concert Preparation (dress & free time)
4:00 PM Concert
approx. 5:30 pm All Hands Teardown (pack and load handbells and other equipment)

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For 2014, the official hotel for Distinctly Bronze East is the Doubletree by Hilton New Bern Riverfront.

Everything you need for a comfortable stay is available at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New Bern – Riverfront, including complimentary internet access in your room, a fitness center, outdoor pool and an excellent on-site restaurant. Each guest room offers a 32-inch flat-panel TV, work desk and MP3 clock radio. Relax in a luxurious bed with a pillow-top mattress and a feather down duvet. Upgrade to a suite for increased living space and two televisions—accessible rooms are also available.

We have been able to secure special rates for DB East registrants as follows:

Single Rate – $129.00/night plus tax  (breakfast is not included)

To make reservations call the hotel at 252-638 3585 and request a room from the Distinctly Bronze block.  You may also book online here.

You must make your reservation by Monday, September 9, to guarantee the group rate.  However, room blocks for this event tend to fill quickly, so make your reservation as soon as possible.

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Evaluation Process

DB (both West and East) is unique in the skill and commitment of our handbell musicians. Every year, attendee event comments urge us to preserve and improve the level of ringing at the event. To this end, all DB attendees are evaluated each year and placed in one of three categories.   Here is a description of the process followed and the categories in which handbell musicians will be placed:

Each handbell musician who attends a DB event and performs in the final concert is evaluated and placed into one of the three categories below.  This evaluation takes place every event the musician completes.


Title Characteristics Rough % of attendees*


Handbell musician in good standing – no concerns
  • well prepared
  • creates sense of ensemble with those around them through musical interaction
  • high level of performance energy and interaction (with those around them and the director) with a visually appealing performance style
  • Watches the conductor and is sensitive to the musical direction provided
  • sufficient stamina to make it through many hours of rehearsal and still be focused for the concert
  • can play a variety of positions and is flexible about assignment
  • adapts well to changes and different setting of the event
  • self-aware of mistakes and works quickly to correct them
  • almost always technically and rhythmically precise and accurate
  • memorizes key passages


Handbell musician is in good standing – some concerns
  • not as well prepared but shows visible improvement during event
  • generally watches the conductor, but is not always sensitive to their musical direction
  • acceptable performance level – musical product and/or visual appeal – but could provide more energy and interaction
  • will play only a limited number of positions
  • tends to remain isolated during performance – fewer performance interactions with those around them
  • adapts to some of the differences of the event
  • mostly correct technique or rhythm execution, but some concerns with consistent precision and accuracy
  • adequate stamina, but may be waning  some by concert time
  • not always aware of own mistakes or doesn’t always act quickly to correct them


Handbell musician  must reapply – significant concerns
  • unable to withstand the rigors of the event physically or mentally
  • consistent incorrectness of notes and/or technique
  • consistently unable to recognize when incorrect
  • exhibits poor ringing technique
  • does not show significant improvement over the course of the event
  • plays tentatively
  • little or no interaction with the conductor or those around them during performance

The evaluation is based on direct observation of all handbell musicians at the event by one or more staff.  On occasion, there are persons present who are not ringing who will be asked for input.  We begin the process with the first rehearsal to try to assess preparation.  We watch throughout the event to see what improvement (for example, how much they are watching the director and the ability to correct mistakes) we see.

On occasion, handbell musicians may be asked to provide input on others.  Also, other musicians occasionally provide unsolicited input on their neighbors, and that input is tested with the observations.

Please note that there is NOT a forced distribution of the handbell musicians into these categories – the percentages are only intended to give a general idea.

The privileges associated with these categories are outlined below:


Can attend future events?


Yes, can attend one DB event within the next 24 months (4 events total) – no reapplication required.  If don’t attend within that period, will be required to reapply.


Yes, can attend one DB event within the next 24 months (4 events total) – no reapplication required.  If don’t attend within that period, will be required to reapply.  Expected to show improvement in specific areas at next event. Specific areas in which development and/or instruction are needed will be cited.


No, must reapply and may be asked to provide a video and/or evidence of significant skills building experiences such as lessons, workshops.  Specific areas in which development and/or instruction are needed will be cited.


Ringing Positions and Floor Layout

Ringing positions and floor layout will be posted here when they are available.  They will also be distributed via the Distinctly Bronze East 2014 Google Group.  All accepted attendees will receive an invitation to join this e-mail group at the EMAIL ADDRESS LISTED ON YOUR REGISTRATION.

Notes & Problem Solvers for Ringers

Various notes and problem solvers for the ringers will be distributed to the Distinctly Bronze East Google Group as they are available.

Silent Auction

Due to the success of the silent auction for the past several years, we will again hold a silent auction during Distinctly Bronze. Proceeds from this year’s auction will benefit the new Heritage Endowment Fund that is being established by the Handbell Musicians of America National Board to help secure the future of the Guild.  In the past this auction has benefited the William Griffin Scholarship Fund and the David Davidson Composition Fund.  The auction has been so successful that both of these funds have a solid base to sustain them for many years into the future.  Think about a unique item that you might like to have yourself – bell-related or not – and bring it along to contribute to the auction. Bidding will be held between Thursday evening and Saturday evening. Those who are the successful high bidders on any item can pay for the items by check, cash or credit card. This is always a fun activity with occasionally some spirited bidding wars – so get involved. Any chance Fred’s pants can attend?

Door Prizes

We will also have drawings again before rehearsals for a limited number of door prizes so if you have any trinkets, CD’s, bags of candy, etc. (again, something you would like to have yourself, but of lesser value than the silent auction items) to donate to the door prizes, please bring them along. All items can be brought in on Thursday morning when you check in at the convention center.

What to Bring

•  Original copies of all the repertoire

•  Black, split-back notebook for the music – please PRE-PUNCH your music

•  Mallets appropriate for your assigned position

•  Gloves for rehearsing and BLACK GLOVES for the concert on Sunday

•  Black skirt or slacks for the concert – your DB East 2014 Polo Shirt will complete your concert dress

•  Polishing cloth to keep your bells clean

•  Music stand or riser if you prefer to use one – floor stands will be provided for the low bass tables (below C4)

•  Band-Aids or moleskin if you will need that with multiple hours and days of ringing

•  Items for the Silent Auction and door prizes

•  Return address labels for various auction forms

•  Checkbook, credit card or cash to pay for any Silent Auction items you win!

•  C#7′s if you were asked to bring duplicates

•  Floor stands if you offered to bring them


The dress code for rehearsals is casual and comfortable. Several layers are always a good idea so you have some options. Comfortable shoes are essential for long rehearsals. Rain is always a possibility!

If you have attended DB in the past, please wear the polo shirt from the first DB you attended on Saturday, 10/11. If you are a first time attendee at this event, please wear your favorite handbell shirt on Saturday.

If you’re arriving on Wed before 5:00 PM, we can use your assistance with the event set-up. Please stop by the Riverfront Convention Center to pitch in. Think of it as a warm-up for all the rehearsals to come!

Onsite registration will begin on Thursday October 9, at 10:00 AM in the convention center and will continue until 2:00 PM. Donations for the Silent Auction and door prizes may be brought to the convention center at this time.

Welcome and opening announcements will begin at 2:00 pm on Thursday. You should be in your seat at your ringing position then. The first rehearsal will begin as soon as announcements and welcomes are complete.

If you are arriving on Thursday close to the event starting time, please come directly to the convention center with your luggage. You will have an opportunity to check into the hotel at 5:00 pm. Please do not delay coming to the opening in order to check into your room.

Will I need a car? Probably not – historic New Bern is within walking distance of the convention center and hotel, and the airport is a short taxi ride from the hotel.

Concert dress will be your 2014 Distinctly Bronze East Polo Shirt and appropriate black skirt or slacks. Shorts or cropped pants are not acceptable. Black gloves will be used for the concert.


Your registration includes Sunday lunch. You have many options for other meals – there are many restaurants within walking distance of the conference center and hotel.

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