Distinctly Bronze West 2014


February 27 – March 2, 2014

Doubletree Hotel Portland

Portland, Oregon

Jason Wells, Conductor

Repertoire  Lodging



What is Distinctly Bronze?

Distinctly Bronze West 2014 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 Jason Wells.  Rehearsals Thursday, February 27, through Sunday, March 2, 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 Portland – our time together is for making music, not learning notes!

Where do we meet?

This year we move to a new venue – the Doubletree Hotel Portland.  Located in the Downtown Eastside of Portland, Oregon, and just steps from Portland’s MAX light rail system, the hotel provides easy access to the many attractions and activities the city offers.  For more information about things to do and see in Portland, visit http://www.travelportland.com.

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 isn’t an option at home, and will give full attention and effort to the closing concert.

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 $285.00

In addition to working with Jason Wells, your registration fee includes one meal (lunch on Sunday), the Thursday evening Social & Dessert Reception, a Distinctly Bronze Polo Shirt, and a 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 as well as experience and availability of specific positions. 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, P.L. Grove


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 online.  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.  If you are already logged in, follow this link to go directly to the registration screen.

2 –  Complete and submit the online Attendee Information Form

3 –  Use the appropriate link from the registration confirmation email 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 December 15, 2013.

4 – Contact two references that have observed you ringing within the past year and ask them to complete the online 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.  If you are already logged in, follow this link to go directly to the registration screen.

2 – Submit your ringing preferences via one of the following online options: Sub Bass Positions (below C4) OR Positions 1 through 11 (C4-C8). The closing date for the first placement group is December 15, 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 online registration for the event.
  • You will receive a follow-up email 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.
  • December 15, 2013– Final payment is due to the national office.
  • January 10, 2014– Ringing assignments will be sent to all accepted registrants that have paid in full.

All items can be completed online 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 DBW2014 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 2/1/14

Fee refunds minus the $100 deposit will be made for written or email cancellations received by 12/15/2013. Cancellations received by 1/15/14 will be refunded 50% of registration fee less deposit; after 1/15/14 registration is not refundable.  The date of cancellation will be the date the cancellation is RECEIVED in the national office by the event registrar, Vickie Iverson.

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William H. Griffin Scholarship Fund offers one scholarship to the 2014  West 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 December 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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Repertoire will be announced soon.  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.

Celtic Prayer Hall/Turner Sonology
Compassion J. Krug Beckenhorst HB382
Cosmic Dance S. Tucker Sondra Tucker Available through Jeffers
Festive Praises F. Gramann AGEHR AG45043
Gethsemane N. Hascall Red River RRBL5022
Gloria Hodie McChesney/Turner Jeffers JHS9482
Good Christian Men Rejoice K. Strepka From the Top 20327HB
Good Vibrations M. Prins From the Top 20159
Remembrance C. Moklebust Lorenz 201131L
Rondo alla Turca W. Mozart/J. Meredith Meredith Music MP9805  Available through Jeffers
Spirit of the Wind M. Compton Unpublished See note below*
William Tell Overture G. Rossini/M.L. Thompson AGEHR AG5015

*A private link to purchase Spirit of the Wind will be emailed to confirmed registrants the week of December 9.  If you register after that or don’t receive the link, contact the event registrar, Vickie Iverson, at viverson@handbellmusicians.org.

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Equipment load-in and setup as soon as venue is available.  If you are in Portland early and are available to assist, please come by the event site in the DoubleTree Hotel.

 Thursday,  February 27

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 Hotel Check-in (if needed)
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Dinner (on your own)
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Rehearsal (break 8:10-8:20pm)
9:00 PM – 10:30 PM Social & Dessert Reception


Friday, February 28

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, March 1

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, March 2

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 West is the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland.

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

  • Standard Single Queen Guestroom – $99/night plus tax single or double occupancy
  • Premium King or Double Queen Guestroom – $119/night plus tax single or double occupancy
  • Addition of 3rd and 4th person to the room is an additional $15/night/person
  • Complimentary overnight parking included
  • Parking day rate is $2.50/hour with a maximum of $14/day

Reservation Process:

  • Call 1-800-996-0510 and request the rate for Distinctly Bronze West
  • You may also make reservations online at this link
  • Reservation deadline is January 25, 2014
  • Cancellations must be made 72 hours prior to arrival

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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 West 2014 Google Group.  All accepted attendees will receive an invitation to join this e-mail group at the EMAIL ADDRESS LISTED ON YOUR REGISTRATION.

Attendee Evaluation

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
  • 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

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.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.

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.


Notes & Problem Solvers for Ringers

Various notes and problem solvers for the ringers will be distributed to the Distinctly Bronze West 2014 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 West 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. 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 event site to pitch in. Think of it as a warm-up for all the rehearsals to come!

Onsite registration will begin on Thursday, February 27, 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 – Portland boasts an excellent mass transit system that is easily accessed just outside the hotel.

Concert dress will be your 2014 Distinctly Bronze West 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 or via the MAX light rail.

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