Derek’s Journal – Fall 2015

Posted By Derek Nance on Nov 30, 2015 |

Greeting blog enthusiasts! I’ve been up to all sots of interesting projects this fall, but I haven’t had a chance to write about them yet. Here’s a run down of what I’ve been up to. 

At some point I wonder when I’ve gotten in too far…


I’m playing with Sonos Handbell Ensemble again this season, and I couldn’t be more excited. If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ll remember the first time I got to tour with Sonos in 2013. This tour is going to be bigger and better than the last, with 11 concerts over 18 days all across the eastern United States (thank you work for giving me the time off). We’ll be performing many Christmas favorites, classical transcripts, and intriguing arrangements by our conductor Jim Meredith. Since the group rehearses in Oakland, California and I live in Reno, Nevada, I’ve been doing the four hour drive over the mountain to rehearsal every couple weekends all fall long. It’s a long way to drive, but the tour is totally going to be worth it. Plus it has given me plenty of time to listen to podcasts.

Here’s our concert schedule!

A map of the sonos 2015 east coast tour.

A map of the sonos 2015 east coast tour.

  • December 4: Hardwick, MA
  • December 6: Westport, CT
  • December 7: Holmdel, NJ
  • December 10: Harrisonburg, VA
  • December 12: St. Louis, MO – With Frederica von Stade!
  • December 13: St. Louis, MO – With Frederica von Stade!
  • December 14: Fayetteville, AR
  • December 16: Bartlett, TN
  • December 18: Atlanta, GA
  • December 20: The Villages, FL

All the concert details can be found on the Sonos website.  Let us know you’re coming on Facebook and be sure to hang out after the concerts and say “hi”. I’ll try to have stickers on me for anyone who introduces themselves!

Handbell Musicians of America Board Meeting

The current board of directors of Handbell Musicians of America.

The current board of directors of Handbell Musicians of America.

October marked my one year anniversary of being on the Handbell Musicians of America Board of Directors. From diving into financial statements and bylaws to reading books on non-profit financing, policy governance, and millennial engagement, this past year has been quite a learning experience. The six other people on the Board are a joy to work with, and I actually love the time we spend together debating and brainstorming the future of the organization. Since I’m by far the youngest and least experienced person on the Board, everyone does a great job explaining parts of the organization’s past I’m not familiar with. I don’t write about the Board here much because you can read about what we are up to in every edition of the Overtones. If you don’t get a copy of the Overtones, ask your director about it. Or better yet, become a member yourself! (hint hint)

If you do have any questions/comments/concerns/compliments/cookies for the Board you are always welcome to send them my direction and I’ll be sure to pass them on.

Future Sightings

2016 is going to be a spectacular year for handbell events. I’m already having a hard time figuring out which events to go to because there are just too many awesome ones. As of this writing, these are the events I’ll be making an appearance at next year:

  • College Ring-In January 14-16. Out of everything happening next year, this is the event I’m most looking forward to. Taking place in Chicago, this event is designed specifically for twenty-somethings who love bells. There is still room available if you want to come, so be sure to sign up soon.
  • Distinctly Bronze West March 3-6. This event is always a popular one. Under the baton of Toshikazu Yoshida, this year is going to be exciting. I’m even more excited because we’ve featured Mr. Yoshida and the Kinjo Gakuin Handbell Ensemble many times on the blog.
  • Area 12 Festival June 16-19. The big biannual festival will feature all your favorite handbell celebrities including Kimberlee Strepka, Michael Glasgow, and myself. I’ll probably be teaching something, but that is still in the planning stages. Even if I’m not teaching I’ll still be there hanging out with the best coast! (sorry east coast people)
  • International Handbell Symposium July 26-30. I’ve never been to an international symposium before, so this will be a brand new experience. It is going to be expensive and a lot of work to get there, but somehow I think the trip will be totally worth it. Plus, Vancouver Canada is as close as International Symposium will probably ever be to Nevada. Registration is still open if you want to go. All the information can be found on their website.

So far that is my schedule for 2016. I would like to get to the National Seminar in Rochester, NY next summer too, but that probably won’t be able to happen unfortunately. Let me know in the comments which events you are looking forward to next year.

Even though the blog has been quiet recently, I’m still committed to keeping this blog running and taking the art of handbell ringing to new levels. Thank you all for sticking with the blog this long, and good luck with the upcoming Christmas season!