History & Highlights

Learn about our rich history!

Fall 1995 Founded by a group of area handbell musicians, led by Patty Highland and Carolyn Shaw. Charter members included Bob Avant, Cathy Cralle-Jones, Shirley Derryberry, Peggy Heiserman, Patty Highland, Becky Nelson, Lynette Parkhurst, Cathie Parsley, Linda Rutherford, Carolyn Shaw, and Brian Winter.
Spring 1996 Installed Bob Avant as Director.
Winter 1996 Performed first concert with New Austin Singers.
Spring 1998 Recorded first demos for Shawnee Press.
Summer 1998 Performed at Jubilate Music Conference (now known as Alleluia Conference).
Winter 1998 Performed first concert with Austin Symphonic Band.
May 1999 Performed first concert at St. Cecilia Music Series with Austin Chamber Ensemble.
Fall 1999 Performed fist concert with Hill Country Singers.
Fall 1999 Hosted first 'Fall Tune-Up' day-long community workshop
Winter 1999 Performed first concert with Austin Girls Choir.
Spring 2000 Performed first concert with Cantamos Women's Choir.
Fall 2001 Received first funding through the City of Austin's Austin Arts Commission.
December 2001 Performed first noonday concert, now an annual tradition, at Central Presbyterian Church.
January 2002 Launched first austinhandbells.org website.
January 2002 Performed as a featured group at the Pinnacle National Seminar in Orlando, Florida.
Fall 2002 Released second CD 'Carillon for Advent.'
Fall 2002 Received strong endorsement and promotion from John Aielli on KUT's Eklektikos.
Fall 2002 Featured on KXAN's 'On the Porch with Jim Swift' news segment.
November 2002 Recorded first demos for Alfred Publishing.
June 2004 Invited to play for the Area IX Handbell Festival.
June 2008 Invited to play for the Area IX Handbell Festival.
Winter 2008 Joined Classical Music Consortium of Austin.
Winter 2010 Released fourth CD 'Serenity,' featuring vocals by Elizabeth Avant Gilligan.
March 2012 Co-founded and co-hosted the first Texas Bronzefest in Waco with the Baylor Bronze Handbell Ensemble.
July 2012 Performed at Baylor's Alleluia Conference.
November 2012 Performed at one of Austin's quintessential holiday events, the Mueller Tower Lighting.
September 2013 Acquired own set of 5-octave Schulmerich Handbells, adding to existing 6 octaves of Malmark Hand Chimes.
June 2014 Released fifth CD 'Vibrations.'
July 2014 Performed Showcase Concert at Texas Choral Directors Association Conference.
June 2015 Marked 20th anniversary with celebratory concerts and member reunion.
July 2015 Will perform as a featured group at the Pinnacle National Seminar in Dallas, Texas.