The Show Goes On…

Long Overdue Greetings from Merrimack Valley Ringers!

Tempest poster

EPIC \m/

Oh, what a season it has been. MVR’s Spring tour “Tempest: From Basics to Bronze” was an educational experience for both the audience AND our members! The tour included original works for handbells, with ringers speaking between each piece, highlighting bell techniques and sharing stories from previous tours. Audiences loved the interaction, knowledge, and humor peppered throughout the concerts. What many audiences DIDN’T know: due to a perfect storm of ill-timed and unpredictable injuries, all but one of our concerts had one or two ringers SIGHT-READING, to fill in for a ringer unable to play at the last minute! It was both terrifying and exhilarating…which ultimately played right into our tour title! We took on each concert as a challenge, and refused to shake our positive attitude. As a result, our audiences were none the wiser…unless our director decided to fill them in just before the final piece.

MVR had two weeks off “to recover” before trekking out to Festival Conference 2015 at UMass Amherst. Despite two still-recuperating ringers (and one whose injury developed right before the final concert), the group tackled the long weekend with flying colors – attending rehearsals and classes, teaching and performing, and making sure the mood was merry. It was a fabulous end for a noteworthy season. And we’ve jokingly decided the next CD we record will be called “The Show Must Go On.”

Rehearsals pick back up in September, and we’ve already got sizable Winter AND Spring tours in the works! Many exciting prospects. MVR will be busy…but until then, we’re taking some much deserved R&R and putting our feet up. Some of us with ice applied. 😉

Happy Summer!!!

Rehearsal

MVR during one of the massed rehearsals… FRONT ROW! WOOOOOOT!!!!

The Silent Conductor

Clinician Tim Waugh demonstrates the art of telepathy in his class “The Silent Conductor”

MVR FC15

MVR with F/C 2015’s clinicians Tim Waugh and Debbie Rice, both of whom we were plotting to kidnap.

The Show Goes On

When you know the EMTs by their first names…you might be accident-prone.

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Want MVR to perform a little closer to YOU? Here’s your chance!

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor metric tons of snow shall keep MVR from rehearsing. (Well, ok, it DID keep us from ONE group rehearsal, but we did a lot of work at home and via email…we find ways to practice even if we can’t have bells in hand!)

The repertoire for our Spring tour is definitely keeping us on our toes… It is mainly a collection of all ORIGINAL handbell works, incorporating almost every technique you can think of. Because of this, our tour will be taking on a very educational aspect, higlighting the versatility of handbells as an instrument, pulling back the curtain to show audiences a bit of what goes on behind the table, and also sharing stories and noteworthy (HA! Get it?) moments from our nearly 13 years together.

That being said….we’re still looking to book a couple more concerts for May/June! Are YOU interested in hosting us, or know of a venue that is? We don’t charge to perform and only have a few spacial requirements (and will be as flexible as possible). If you’re interested, please email director@mvringers.org

We love you guys. Srsly.

‘Til next time…

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PS: MVR has been accepted into the Bronze Division of Festival Conference 2015!!!!! See you at UMass Amherst!!!!

 

There’s really no other way to say it…

… You guys rock 🙂

PCC panorama

Our “Wonders of Wintertime” capped off, as our Winter tours always do, with performances in Chelmsford, MA and Leominster, MA. Though many were daunted by the weather on Saturday, we still had a brave audience at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts…and the Leominster crowd was typically demure and polite (LOL), cheering as if they were at a soccer match. Seriously, that person who whistles? EPIC.

AND STILL there were people in each audience (and throughout this tour) who had never seen us before, and some who had never seen a community handbell ensemble, period. We love bringing new fans into the fold!

So thank you all, truly… We are so so fortunate to have such a dedicated fan base, who readily throw so much energy at us during a performance.

We bid farewell to the Winter 2014 season… and launch IMMEDIATELY this weekend into plotting our Spring 2015 tour. “What? Handbells playing in the Springtime?? What kind of music would THAT be???” Yes, handbells can play things OTHER THAN holiday music. 🙂 Most of our Spring concert venues are already in place, and we’ll be updating our website soon to include our Spring tour dates. In the meantime, check back here for info on the tour, or “follow” this blog to receive new posts right in your email inbox.

Until next time!

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MVR Forgets to Blog, but Keeps on Touring!!!

Well, we’ve been quite remiss in updating this blog, and we apologize for the gap between our last post and this one…(who ARE those crazy people in that last blog entry?!)  BUT we’re still here, we’re still busy as ever, and we’re having an absolutely PHENOMENAL season so far!

WoW poster

“Wonders of Wintertime” has already played to eight different audiences in a plethora of venues, including our annual treks to Rutland, Marlborough, and East Hartford…as well as new venues such as Hunt Home in Nashua, and the Parker Library in Dracut. The first leg of this tour capped off with our performance at the Worcester Art Museum last Sunday, where we played to a standing room-only crowd of 300 in the museum’s amazing Renaissance Court. Here is a (somewhat sloppy) panorama shot…it’s not high-quality, but it gives you an idea of the space.

WAM panoramaCool, right???? 🙂 It’s the only venue where the audience truly surrounds us. There are a couple of nice pics posted to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette website.

We are MOST excited that this tour features a brand new musical acquisition… MVR has purchased the lower octave of bass chimes, all the way down to a C2 (which is the equivalent of the C that’s three octaves down from middle C on a piano.) They’re so huge, they cannot be picked up and rung like smaller chimes…they have their own special rack, and special mallets with which to sound them. Alone, they sound a bit like the foot pedals on an organ…and when played in a chord, the only way to describe them is MIGHTY. You can tell when they’re about to be played, because even us bell-seasoned MVR ringers STILL grin like little kids when they come in. 🙂

We take a short break for the holidays…and then we’re back in January 2015 with our FINAL two concerts of the season: Saturday, January 3, 2015, 7:00 PM @ the Chelmsford (MA) Center for the Arts, and Sunday, January 4, 2015, 7:00 pm @ Pilgrim Congregational Church in Leominster, MA. These are full-length concerts, and these venues always draw super appreciative and enthusiastic audiences. The Chelmsford concert is part of a fundraiser event for the Center itself, and (unlike most MVR concerts) tickets are required. ($10/adult and $5/student). They can be purchased in advance on the CCA website or at the door.

But MVR never truly “sleeps” … after the conclusion of our “Wonders of Wintertime” tour, we have another short break, then launch into rehearsals for our Spring 2015 tour, which is already starting to take shape! The tour will include appearances at the MA Spring Ring in March, the Boston Handbell Festival in May, and the Handbell Musicians of America’s Area 1 Festival Conference in June at UMass Amherst. Never a dull moment. 😉

We’ll end this post with a collection of pics taken so far during the Winter tour. As always, visit our website for tour details, group info, and CDs. Have a lovely holiday, and we hope to see you in January and beyond!

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MVR performing in East Hartford, CT.

MVR performing in East Hartford, CT.

MVR performing at D'Youville Life & Wellness Community in Lowell, MA. Check out our table icicles!

MVR performing at D’Youville Life & Wellness Community in Lowell, MA. Check out our table icicles!

Yes, this is actually a still from a performance. Really...you need to stick around for the encore. :)

Yes, this is actually a still from a performance. Really…you need to stick around for the encore. 🙂

Holidays at WAM!

Holidays at WAM!

You can see the epic new bass chimes on the right of this photo. SO. IMPRESSIVE.

You can see the epic new bass chimes on the right of this photo. SO. IMPRESSIVE.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!

Without further ado….. Grab your popcorn, raise the curtain, roll the opening credits… Presenting…. the Merrimack Valley Ringers Spring 2014 Tour!

The only role left to cast…is the AUDIENCE!

Concert dates at http://mvringers.org/upcoming/   Join us!!!

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Oh the weather outside is….normal?

Snow-Covered Greetings from MVR!

Another “catastrophic” storm in progress! What better way to weather the, er, weather than to daydream about springtime? 😉 MVR has determined the repertoire for our Spring 2014 tour, and we promise it to be VERY exciting! “Like” us on Facebook to receive hints over the coming weeks as to our theme. We’ll post little tidbits here too!

The tour schedule is up and growing…visit the “Concert” section of our website to pick a date to see us and get it on your calendar. As always, concerts are FREE (unless otherwise indicated).

Our tour this season will once again include a day-long workshop, this time on May 10 at Southwick Congregational Church in Southwick, MA. Members of MVR will present many different classes, followed by a rehearsal that will be open to attendees, dinner will be served, and the day will conclude with an MVR concert in the evening. It’s a great time for all to learn, laugh, socialize, and share our love for this beautiful, wacky instrument. Keep an eye on our website as more details will be posted, including specific classes and how to register.

Brody

And finally… Our “Next Generation” handbell ensemble gained a new member last November.  Meet Brody!  His mom, Rachel, was on hiatus from MVR due to his impending arrival, and is so happy both to have her new little guy and to be returning to ring with MVR for the Spring.

Until next time… Remember, buckets of snow means guilt-free hot cocoa! Enjoy it!

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