Palmetto Bronze: A Lowcountry community handbell ensemble

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Palmetto Bronze, an auditioned community handbell ensemble, will hold a free concert on Sunday, Sept. 21 at 4 p.m. at The Baptist Church of Beaufort, 600 Charles Street, Beaufort.

Palmetto Bronze 2014-15
Palmetto Bronze 2014-15

With ringers from various walks of life from all over the Lowcountry, they all share the love of handbells and communicating that love to others through a wide variety of challenging music. They work together to bring the art of handbell ringing into the public eye as a respected musical medium through concerts and education.

Palmetto Bronze rehearses weekly at Summerville Baptist Church and uses the church’s 7 octaves of Schulmerich/Malmark bells, 5 octaves of Malmark Choirchimes, their own 3 octaves of Trusonic bells, 2 octaves of Malmark bells and newly purchased lower 6th and 7th octaves of Malmark Choirchimes.

Palmetto Bronze plays concerts all over the Lowcountry during the year, including the 2014 South Carolina Music Educators Association Convention in North Charleston, Piccolo Spoleto and the North Charleston Arts Festival. During the 2013 holiday season, they played at Brookgreen Gardens, Savannah Harbor Festival of Lights and Summerville Baptist Church.

The organization also sponsors and participates in educational opportunities such as workshops in the Lowcountry and Georgia. The 2015 Lowcountry Handbell Workshop is scheduled to take place at Hibben UMC in Mt. Pleasant on Jan. 24 with John Behnke as the clinician. In July, they were presented at a showcase concert at the Handbell Musicians of America’s National Convention in Atlanta.

They will kick off the holiday season on December 5 with a free concert at Christ St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Hollywood, SC at 7 p.m. They will be featured at Brookgreen Gardens’ “Nights of a Thousand Candles” December 18-20. Keep up with Palmetto Bronze by checking out the Facebook page and the website www.palmettobronze.com.

Palmetto Bronze is under the direction of Marcia J. Brantley who holds a BM degree from Furman University and has taught handbells for 30 years. Before she retired from public school music, she taught handbell core arts classes for 10 years at Rollings Middle School of the Arts in Summerville. She is currently the music assistant/pianist/ handbell coordinator at Summerville Baptist.

The September concert will include: Mozart’s “Overture from the Marriage of Figaro”, “America the Beautiful”, “Scarborough Fair”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, Leroy Andersen’s “Typewriter”, and several original handbell compositions. In addition, they will play a medley of songs from Walt Disney’s “Frozen” — Let it Go; Do You Want to Build a Snowman?; In Summer; Love is an Open Door; and For the First Time in Forever, arranged by the group’s own Michael Lopez and Marcia Brantley.