A perfect audience

Published on Monday, 25 April 2011 13:15

The best musical performance equation: Fun songs (check) plus talented ringers (check) mixed in with an enthusiastic audience (check). It was the perfect recipe for us on April 16, when we took a long day tour to Marshfield, Wis. (172 miles one way) for our second concert this season. Twin Cities Bronze had held a workshop at First Presbyterian Church in December of 2004, so we were hoping for better weather this time. But the audience members who did brave the snow and fit our concert between other local activities like prom and sporting competitions were the greatest audience a performance group could wish for.

There were tears. There were smiles. There were goose bumps. And many members of the audience were knowledgeable ringers, who commented to us afterward that we took our ringing to higher level of performance.

During a two hour discussion the following day at Sunday's rehearsal, (no time off for the dedicated) members of the group shared little stories about what we learned, what we experienced, and how we can bring those lessons and emotions to all of our future performances.

Some ringers share their memories and thoughts from the tour:

Monica McGowan - When Twin Cities Bronze traveled to Pinnacle last July, we contracted to charter a bus and driver from Progressive Travel of Spencer, Wis., just up the road from our concert in Marshfield. How FUN it was to see our bus driver, Dave, in the audience. He had just returned from a tour at 3 a.m. that morning, but was so glad he made it back in time so he could come to our concert!

Jeni Jonett - Saturday's concert was an emotional day for me - I was returning to a church where I spent five years ringing in the handbell choir. But what really surprised me was even though I was a little over-excited, as an ensemble we were very calm, very focused and on task for the concert. The resulting performance high had me going strong, all the way home and even through three Palm Sunday services at my church the next morning.

Alyssa Boock - I drove up the night before the concert so I would have time to visit my grandparents' graves in Spencer, Wis. Wouldn't you know we had a blizzard in the middle of April! I enjoyed a trip down memory lane with all the time I spent in Spencer as a kid. In some ways, it was sad to see some of the changes, but also refreshing that some things were the same - such as waiting for a train to pass. Some of my dad's cousins were in attendance. It was good to see them and all the other happy faces out in the audience.

Patti Munter - I've lived in Minnesota my entire life and have been to Wisconsin a surprisingly small number of times. I do not know a lot about our neighbor to the east so I was surprised to drive through the town of Colby, Wis., and learn that it is the birthplace of Colby cheese. I just had to buy Colby cheese in Colby and I shared it with the group during lunch before the concert. Being in Wisconsin, it seemed appropriate to bring all of us together with cheese!