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Twin Cities Bronze
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Can't we just keep rehearsing?

I used to say I don't like performing.

I used to say that I would be perfectly happy if we only rehearsed all year long. We would just drive up to Shoreview once a week to rehearse and all go home. And that would be the end of it.

I don't say that anymore.

I had a couple good reasons for not liking performing.

Nerves, for one. I used to be so nervous; I could barely play the first few pieces on the program. This nervousness would cause my wrists to go numb and on top of that, my ears would plug up. (Two body parts quite necessary for playing this particular instrument!)

Another reason would be the hours it takes us to set up this large collection of instruments (which has been described as a piano with all the keys loose – indeed it is). We are usually at a performance space three to four hours before the concert in order to get everything set up and to give ourselves time to warm-up and get ready. Not to mention the hours it takes afterwards to tear everything down and return it to its home. That ends up being a long day.

So why, you ask, did I join this group – this performing ensemble – if I didn't like performing?

I’m in this group because of the outstanding people. The remarkable music we get to play. And the fascinating challenge of playing this instrument. I mean we’re only responsible for three or four notes out of the whole piece of music- and we have to fit them in exactly where they belong. In perfect time. Oh, and don’t forget this is music. You can’t just stand there; you have to play with a bit of emotion.

Handbells are the most collaborative musical instrument there is. Every member of this team is equally important. With such solid teamwork, it's only natural that we develop close relationships. This group has become a second family to me. We've been through good times and bad, and we help each other along the way.

The most important reason for being in this group: It's a lot of fun!

I don't get nervous anymore. I suppose that comes with time. I'm quite used to performing now. And actually, it's a bit of a rush. It's thrilling to stand in front of a room full of people, some of whom have never heard handbells before, and be the group that gets to introduce this one-of-a-kind instrument to them for the first time.

Hope to see you at our next concert!