Put a ring on it

Art of Life — Produced by Karen Smyles

Philadelphia Bronze started as Mainline Ringers in 2008 as a result of a community of ringers looking for an advanced ensemble in which to participate and grew from a small group into a full ensemble. In 2013 they rebranded, doubled in size, and now are Philadelphia Bronze. The musicians are known as “ringers” and come from as far away as Bucks County and Lancaster County, and are auditioned at the beginning of every year. They primarily perform classical works, however , they have done gospel, jazz and even pop. The group was started by Director, Martha Alford, an accomplished flutist, and has a home-base at the Proclamation Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, PA.

Looking to expand the reach and experience of the group, Alford reached out to Impulse, a youth handbell ensemble from Marlboro Township, New Jersey, for a collaborative performance this past February. The director of Impulse, Ryan Guth, was eager to participate and saw it as a great opportunity for his young musicians who have been receiving quite a bit of recognition from their web performances of contemporary works on handbells .

In June, Art of Life talks with the directors of both groups about their music, and their desire to bring the handbell into the forefront of the music world. We drop in on rehearsals and see how it all comes together as they prepared for their Valentine’s Day performance.

We also visit the Malmark Handbell Company in Plumsteadville, PA to talk with Neil McDonald, Director of Sales, about the making of handbells and chimes. Malmark manufactures the world’s largest range of handbell ringing instruments and everything is made right there on the premises.

Web Extra: Take a behind the scenes tour of the Malmark factory with Neil McDonald and experience the quality workmanship that goes into producing this beautiful instrument. Edited by Annaliese Morris.

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