Bob Avant, Director of the Austin Handbell Ensemble, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors degree in Music Education, a Masters degree in Music (Instrumental Conducting) and a Masters degree in Education (Instructional Technology). He served 13 years as a band director for Killeen ISD and Austin ISD and then worked at the Education Service Center, Region XIII for 17 years as a technology leader and consultant to central Texas school districts.
Avant first rang a bell in 1982 in the Sanctuary Handbell Ringers at First Baptist Austin under the direction of Bob Downer. He since has directed at First United Methodist Church (Austin), Central Presbyterian Church (Austin) and currently at First Baptist Church (Austin) where he has been their handbell director since 1994. Bob was involved with the AHE from the beginning and has served as its director since the spring of 1996.
Bob serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at Baylor University as the Director of the Baylor Bronze Handbell Ensemble. He is a long time member of Handbell Musicians of America and has served as Area IX Chair. He is active as a clinician and has arranged several published pieces for advanced handbell groups. Bob is presenting workshops at Pinnacle 2015 in Dallas on the creative teaching of handbell techniques and developing the handbell team by improving key aspects of ensemble.
Bob and his wife Louise, who serves as a Minister of Music at First Baptist Church (Austin), have two children – Elizabeth, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors of Music in Choral Studies and an elementary music teacher, and Scott, a graduate of The University of North Texas with a Bachelors of Music in Trombone Performance and freelance performer in the Dallas and Austin areas.