Houston Bronze Ensemble seeks to:
- Attract, organize, educate and rehearse qualified handbell ringers in all aspects of handbell music.
- Assist others in organizing, developing, and educating handbell groups.
- Encourage public appreciation and promote the art of handbell ringing in the community through performances of handbell music.
- Organize and participate in clinics, festivals, and symposia relating to handbell music and performance.
The Houston Bronze Ensemble, Houston’s premier handbell ensemble, is a professional, auditioned, handbell ensemble made up of musicians from the greater Houston area. Houston Bronze was founded in the fall of 1988 by Hart Morris, formerly the Director of Music Ministries at Grace Presbyterian Church in Houston. After Hart moved to Memphis, Tennessee, the ensemble rang under the musical direction of arranger and composer Margaret (Maggi) R. Tucker until 1994. During the 1995 season, the group rang ensemble style with various ringers, including G.W. 'Dub' Shepherd, Andrew Bowen, and David VanderMeer, directing the ensemble. Conductors since then have included David VanderMeer (Fall 1996—Spring 2001), Dolan Bayless (Fall 2001—January 2006), Ben Harris (Fall 2006—July 2010), Ruth Seiwell (Fall 2010—June 2012), and James Roberts (Fall 2012-May 2014). In August, 2014, Bill Nave was named Artistic Director of Houston Bronze. The ensemble has just celebrated their 25th Anniversary year.
The Houston Bronze Ensemble plays annual Christmas and Spring concerts in the greater Houston area, as well as at weddings, various parties, and music conferences. The ensemble has performed at handbell conferences in Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, Texas, and Tennessee. In addition to ringing at conferences in these states, tours have taken the ensemble to additional states such as Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri. HBE most recently participated in Texas Bronzefest held in Waco, Texas in March 2012 and performed at Summit 2012, a Handbell Musicians of America Area 9 event held in June, 2012 in Conroe, Texas. In 2014 the ensemble performed with the Houston Symphony in the holiday Family Series concert, "Twas the Night Before Christmas". HBE received an invitation to perform at Pinnacle, 2015. Ensembles were chosen by audition. Houston Bronze will present a Featured Showcase Concert. We look forward to seeing you in July in Dallas.
Houston Bronze Ensemble also recognizes the importance of building the future of handbell ringing. We support this by offering workshops to individual choirs when requested and by helping at such events as August Adventure and FebFest, sponsored by the Greater Houston Handbell Association. We also enjoy traveling to schools and presenting programs to students hoping to encourage them to become the future of handbells.
Houston Bronze is a member of Handbell Musicians of America, Area 9.