Sharing Tasks in Community Groups

Coordinated by Stephanie Wiltse
This Month’s Participants


Bells of the Sound
Puget Sound, Washington
Elliot Lewis, President


Capital Ringers
Lewes, Delaware
Linda Simms, Founder and Artistic Director


Magic of Bronze
Orlando, Florida
Stephanie Shealey, President


Raleigh Ringers
Raleigh, North Carolina
Dave Harris, Music Director and
Angie Chiatello, President

As community groups grow and evolve, so does the amount of work that needs to get done. Many groups have developed boards and committees so that tasks can be delegated and not shouldered by one overloaded soul. Delegating also means letting go of a certain amount of control, which can be difficult especially if the group is set up one way and then needs to change direction. 

First let’s talk about your group’s structure. Would you call your group board-led, member-led, director-led, or would you describe it in another way? In other words, who actually owns the group? Who answers to whom?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Bells of the Sound is a member-led group; all decisions are made by the full-time members, and all full-time members have voting rights. The business of the group is driven by five standing committees:

  • Admin—Handles legal matters like tax filings and performance rights, as well as fundraising
  • Public Relations (PR)—Handles concert bookings, venue coordination, and our website
  • Human Relations (HR)—Handles auditions and other personnel matters
  • Equipment—Manages equipment maintenance and transportation
  • Concept—Creates concert themes, selects music, and plans concert staging and costumes

All members also participate in our goals and visioning discussions, which take place during our annual retreat every September.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Our group is definitely director-driven (me), and I think a great deal of it has to do with the fact that I am the founder. With my name tied to everything, there is a certain amount of “quality control” that is important to me. I have tried to relinquish control, but then things got overlooked, program covers and posters were a mess, etc. We have a board, and lots of committees, but the majority of the decisions made are run by me first. It is beyond overwhelming.

Recently, I have been pondering the creation of a different structure since many committee members seem to “get lost” and are not engaged. Some tasks can be assigned to a specific person, so I am looking at a combo of continuing to have some committees and also some that are specific tasks.

Having served on multiple boards for a variety of musical and nonprofit organizations, it has become very clear to me that those things I naturally understand (regarding the running of a board, etc.) are clearly not understood by others, so there are a number of ringers who take a position on the board and have either no leadership training or absolutely no vision to move the group into the future. IMO, you really need a visionary sort of person at the helm. Otherwise, the group doesn’t improve or grow. One possibility is to host board training seminars (through the state division of arts) to educate the group.

I recently made the bold decision to uproot our group and move rehearsals/storage an hour away to a location where there are lots more retired professionals, and now I am wondering why I waited so long. This move has already (in only 5 months) significantly impacted us by adding more retired professionals.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our group is board-led. We welcome input from the members, but it is the board that makes decisions and takes action.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Well, a little bit of all of the above! We have a board of directors (group members and members of our community), very active and committed members, and our founding director, who has invested 29 years into the success of the organization. The board has the final vote, but also respects the vision that our founding director has for the group and relies on the experience and expertise of members.

If you have an active board of directors, are they the worker bees, or is it more of an honorary position?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Legally, our board of directors includes all full-time (ringing) members. Functionally, all members are required to join at least one of our standing committees, so each member contributes to different aspects of the business of the group. We also have Associate Members, who are non-ringing members that help the group in one or more specific ways. For example, we have an Associate Member who handles a lot of our graphic art for concert posters and programs.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Our board members do not work any harder than any other members, so I would have to say these board members are in “honorary” positions. The primary purpose for our board is mostly financial, but we bring other topics to the table for discussion.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our board members are the worker bees of the organization, although we have delegated some tasks to other individuals within the group (specifically, we have a member who is in charge of graphics and promotional materials, a member who is in charge of the website, and another member who writes our scripts/promo text).

RALEIGH RINGERS: A mix of both. The members of our board of directors who are current members of the group certainly take on a fair amount of additional duties. Our community board members’ involvement level varies from advisory to leading a special project. It really depends on their specific expertise and what is needed at any point in time.

A typical board of directors would have a president, president-elect (or vice president), a secretary, and a treasurer. Typically the music director serves as ex-officio, with a voice but not a vote. Does your group have a similar or different makeup?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: While our board is technically comprised of all full-time members, we do also have a Leadership committee, which is made up of the chairs of each of our five standing committees as well as our Director and our President. The Leadership committee in many respects acts as our “board”: Leadership meets on a monthly basis to discuss topics that cut across different committees or need broader discussion and decision by the entire group at our monthly group meeting. Leadership is also responsible for executing on the broader vision and goals set by the group each year.

The chair of our Admin committee serves as our Vice President, and we also have a Secretary and a Treasurer, both of whom are members of the Admin committee and report to the Admin chair.

CAPITAL RINGERS: As the Artistic Director, I have a permanent position on the board and a vote on everything. I think that is only because I am the founder, so my suspicion is that this will change when I retire. We used to have a larger board with a VP, but it seemed silly to have half the membership on the board. We currently operate with a President, Secretary, Treasurer, 3 At-large Members, and the Artistic Director for a total of 7.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Magic of Bronze has a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The President is tasked with overall group management, the Vice President is tasked with event/concert coordination, and Secretary and Treasurer take on the typical roles of those positions.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Our board is composed of the president, music director, secretary, treasurer, and two general board members who are current members of our group. That group makes up the board’s executive committee. In addition, we currently have three members of the local community serving on our board. The business manager is an ex-officio member of the board.

What about the Director of your group. What is their title, and would you describe their duties? Could you describe how the job description interacts with the board of directors, assuming there is a board?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Director, while not technically a voting member of the group, is very much involved in all musical discussions and decisions. Our director sits on our Concept committee and participates in music selection and overall concert theme planning. She is also responsible for all bell assignments, plans our rehearsal syllabi, and leads all rehearsals. While she is very receptive to musical feedback, she also has the final say on the musical interpretation of any piece we perform.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director. I select and conduct all themes for shows, select all repertoire, run rehearsals, manage the library, create the posters and program covers, negotiate all gigs, audition ringers, create documents, etc., etc., etc. Again, I think this will change dramatically when I retire. Our Bylaws spell out some of the expectations, but they don’t include many of the jobs I do!

MAGIC OF BRONZE: We currently have members-who-direct, rather than a single appointed Director. For the past few years, we have had three members take turns directing and ringing.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music director. The music director is responsible for the music program. He takes charge of all auditions, all regular and special rehearsals, and performances. He selects all music for performances within the limits established by the budget. And he is responsible for scheduling concerts, festivals, and workshops and supervises any recording projects. He also runs Virtuoso, our performance experience for advanced ringers.

Sometimes things that might be assumed to be the music director’s job are either carried out or overseen by other positions, whether on the board or on separate committees. For example: Who selects repertoire?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Concept committee selects all repertoire, though it often solicits ideas and feedback from the full group.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The board and directors work together to select repertoire.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music Director

Who develops concepts and themes for concerts?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Concept committee develops concepts and themes, but again it will often solicit ideas and feedback from the full group.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The board has generally determined the theme for our concert, at which point we pass the theme off to our “Creative Committee” to help focus on the concept.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music Director

Do you have a composer-arranger in residence to develop special repertoire?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: We do not have a composer-arranger in residence, but we do have current and former members who have arranged numerous pieces we’ve performed recently. We also like to expand the repertoire of handbell music through composition contests that center around a particular theme, from jazz and international-themed music to circus music and even music about outer space.

CAPITAL RINGERS: No, but I arrange anything necessary.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Not currently—anyone interested in a volunteer position?

RALEIGH RINGERS: No, we do not have anyone who writes most of the music for the group. We do have Hart Morris as our composer laureate, and he has arranged or composed over 25 of The Raleigh Ringers’ commissions—more than any other individual.

Does the music director run rehearsals, or is there a different strategy?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Director plans and runs all rehearsals.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Rehearsals are run by the AD.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our directors do a pretty good job of balancing rehearsal between them, using a general timeline of what we are working on during rehearsal.

RALEIGH RINGERS: The music director runs rehearsals.

Then there are the myriad details surrounding the general organization and operation of the group: Who plans the calendar of performances for the year?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our PR committee is responsible for driving our calendar discussions, but the entire group is involved in the process and ultimately must vote to approve our calendar. We typically calendar 12–18 months in advance.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The Board determines how many concerts we want to do per term, cities we want to target, and a list of possible concert dates. The Vice President narrows it down.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music Director

Who makes contacts with venues regarding concert details such as set-up and contracts?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our PR committee is responsible for finding concert venues and coordinating setup and performance contracts.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The Vice-President

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music director and business manager. Specific committee chairs will contact their counterparts at our venues. For example, our tech committee chair will contact the venue’s tech contact.

Who oversees development and fund-raising?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Admin committee oversees fundraising activities and grant applications

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Oops… we are supposed to do this?

RALEIGH RINGERS: The board of directors.

Who is in charge of costumes and communicating to group members what to wear?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Concept committee selects concert costumes.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The board, communicated generally by the President.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Committee Chair.

Who oversees equipment maintenance and repair?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Equipment committee is responsible for all equipment maintenance as well as transportation of our equipment to concerts or other events.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The Board

RALEIGH RINGERS: Committee Chair

Is a person, committee, or entire membership in charge of an audition process?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: The Human Relations (HR) committee is responsible for coordinating auditions and scheduling audition candidates, but all members participate in the audition process.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The Board.

RALEIGH RINGERS: The music director, along with one or two additional people (not members or board members), are involved in the audition process.

Do you have a librarian?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: We do—our Librarian, who reports to the Equipment chair, manages our music files and concert music folders.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our Vice President serves as the librarian.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Yes

Do you have a marketing person or committee?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our PR committee is responsible for any marketing materials including concert posters, postcards, and advertising through our email list or on social media.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: We instituted a “Creative Committee” that is in charge of our branding and publicity. The creative committee came up with our new logo/color scheme a few years ago, is responsible for our concert graphics and programs, decorations at concerts, our website, and our script for concerts. If appropriate for the concert, the Creative Committee has also created visuals for the concert.

RALEIGH RINGERS: A Committee.

Is there someone who develops posters, programs, and the overall look of the group?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: We currently have an Associate Member who develops posters and programs, and our PR committee coordinates group photographs and determines how those get presented on our website or social media.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: (See previous answer)

RALEIGH RINGERS: Yes. We currently have a ringer who is a graphic designer, and we also have a graphic designer who has worked with the group for years.

As screens become more available at venues, does someone create visuals for your concerts?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Aside from displaying our group logo or our concert poster, we do not currently create any visuals for our concerts that are displayed on screens at our venues.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Yes! We have our own LARGE portable screen that travels with us. All visuals are projected from the rear, and this has become one of our best additions to our concerts that have become “shows”.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: (See previous answer)

RALEIGH RINGERS: We generally only project logos.

What other tasks do you have that are delegated to other people or committees? Special projects like tours, commissions, etc.?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: We have a few “standing positions” in the group, some which are filled annually and some which are filled when necessary:

  • Historian—maintains both physical and virtual historical content for the group
  • AV Project Coordinator—typically filled if we’re planning to record an album
  • Social Media Coordinator—someone responsible for pushing information and updates about Bells of the Sound to social media channels
  • Tour Coordinator—filled if we plan to go on a tour
  • Fundraising Coordinator—coordinates fundraising activities for the group
  • Ensemble Coordinator—filled if we have offers for a smaller ensemble within Bells of the Sound to perform a concert, typically around the holidays

CAPITAL RINGERS: Grant Writing, 55+ Communities, Outreach

MAGIC OF BRONZE: At this point, if a member has something “extra” they would love to see us take on, I generally ask them to take the initiative. We had a few people asking us to live-stream/record our concerts so they could share with out-of-town family, and I ended up delegating the responsibility of contacting publishers for permission to one of the ringers who was asking!

RALEIGH RINGERS: We have several committees and, as special projects or events come up, we form temporary committees. Current committees are: building, education, equipment, library, merchandise, musicality, performance, social, tech, tour/travel, and vehicles. We also have committees for events such as our Capital Area Handbell Festival and Capital Area Young Ringers Festival. In addition, there are projects that are run by the music director, such as any recording project and selected events, such as our Virtuoso performance experience for advanced ringers.

Are there areas that you wish could be strengthened? Imagine money is no object! (What group wouldn’t want a full-time, paid business manager?)

BELLS OF THE SOUND: There are three areas that we’d love to strengthen. First, we’d love to grow our Associate Members count to increase the number of people doing tasks from our five standing committees and drive broader administrative initiatives like fundraising, bookkeeping, or website management. We all only have so much time we can dedicate to Bells of the Sound each week, and it’d be nice if more of that time could be spent practicing music than on committee work. Second, we’d love to do more proactive marketing of our group within our local community and even beyond. Having an Associate Member “Marketing Director” who has a strong understanding of how to market musical groups within their respective communities would help us expand our audience to a wider set of concertgoers and not just those that know about Bells of the Sound or know about handbells. Finally, we’d like to document and automate many of the recurring tasks each committee performs. Not only would this help ensure committee tasks are done correctly and timely, it also establishes continuity from year to year regardless of our current full-time membership since, as with any group, we always have new members join and current members retire. Having procedures documented and easily accessible online enables nearly anyone in the group to complete an important task, and if we can automate many of those procedures using technology, that’s even better.

CAPITAL RINGERS: We are actually looking into the possibility of hiring a business manager via grant funding. We have a large number of non-ringing personnel who do everything from researching grants to creating spreadsheets to contacting activity directors at 55+ communities, etc. Keeping track of them is a bit challenging, but the benefits have been huge. They are all retirees, looking for a way to be actively involved on our team.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our biggest challenge is time. With most of our group having full-time jobs, there are a lot of things that get neglected along the way. While we have members who would help out if given specific tasks, we need to do a better job of defining what those tasks are. At this point, the board and I end up taking on a lot of ‘last-minute’ tasks because we didn’t think of them early enough to have someone else do them.

RALEIGH RINGERS: We have been immensely fortunate to be able to be in a permanent space for the last 10 years, and have a part-time business manager and an office assistant for many years. In addition, we have members who give generously of their time and skills. Of course, unlimited funds would be great, but we also need people who are passionate about what we do. Additional part-time staff in key areas (marketing, social media, fundraising, tour management) would likely be some of the first places we would invest—and maybe a truck driver and some strong roadies! In addition, we would love to expand our space to be able to host even more events and classes, as well as be a resource for the arts community in our area. We also would love to have a rehearsal space that we could use for the demo recordings we do for music publishers.

Thank you to these fine groups for contributing to this discussion!

As community groups grow and evolve, so does the amount of work that needs to get done. Many groups have developed boards and committees so that tasks can be delegated and not shouldered by one overloaded soul. Delegating also means letting go of a certain amount of control, which can be difficult especially if the group is set up one way and then needs to change direction. 

First let’s talk about your group’s structure. Would you call your group board-led, member-led, director-led, or would you describe it in another way? In other words, who actually owns the group? Who answers to whom?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Bells of the Sound is a member-led group; all decisions are made by the full-time members, and all full-time members have voting rights. The business of the group is driven by five standing committees:

  • Admin—Handles legal matters like tax filings and performance rights, as well as fundraising
  • Public Relations (PR)—Handles concert bookings, venue coordination, and our website
  • Human Relations (HR)—Handles auditions and other personnel matters
  • Equipment—Manages equipment maintenance and transportation
  • Concept—Creates concert themes, selects music, and plans concert staging and costumes

All members also participate in our goals and visioning discussions, which take place during our annual retreat every September.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Our group is definitely director-driven (me), and I think a great deal of it has to do with the fact that I am the founder. With my name tied to everything, there is a certain amount of “quality control” that is important to me. I have tried to relinquish control, but then things got overlooked, program covers and posters were a mess, etc. We have a board, and lots of committees, but the majority of the decisions made are run by me first. It is beyond overwhelming.

Recently, I have been pondering the creation of a different structure since many committee members seem to “get lost” and are not engaged. Some tasks can be assigned to a specific person, so I am looking at a combo of continuing to have some committees and also some that are specific tasks.

Having served on multiple boards for a variety of musical and nonprofit organizations, it has become very clear to me that those things I naturally understand (regarding the running of a board, etc.) are clearly not understood by others, so there are a number of ringers who take a position on the board and have either no leadership training or absolutely no vision to move the group into the future. IMO, you really need a visionary sort of person at the helm. Otherwise, the group doesn’t improve or grow. One possibility is to host board training seminars (through the state division of arts) to educate the group.

I recently made the bold decision to uproot our group and move rehearsals/storage an hour away to a location where there are lots more retired professionals, and now I am wondering why I waited so long. This move has already (in only 5 months) significantly impacted us by adding more retired professionals.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our group is board-led. We welcome input from the members, but it is the board that makes decisions and takes action.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Well, a little bit of all of the above! We have a board of directors (group members and members of our community), very active and committed members, and our founding director, who has invested 29 years into the success of the organization. The board has the final vote, but also respects the vision that our founding director has for the group and relies on the experience and expertise of members.

If you have an active board of directors, are they the worker bees, or is it more of an honorary position?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Legally, our board of directors includes all full-time (ringing) members. Functionally, all members are required to join at least one of our standing committees, so each member contributes to different aspects of the business of the group. We also have Associate Members, who are non-ringing members that help the group in one or more specific ways. For example, we have an Associate Member who handles a lot of our graphic art for concert posters and programs.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Our board members do not work any harder than any other members, so I would have to say these board members are in “honorary” positions. The primary purpose for our board is mostly financial, but we bring other topics to the table for discussion.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our board members are the worker bees of the organization, although we have delegated some tasks to other individuals within the group (specifically, we have a member who is in charge of graphics and promotional materials, a member who is in charge of the website, and another member who writes our scripts/promo text).

RALEIGH RINGERS: A mix of both. The members of our board of directors who are current members of the group certainly take on a fair amount of additional duties. Our community board members’ involvement level varies from advisory to leading a special project. It really depends on their specific expertise and what is needed at any point in time.

A typical board of directors would have a president, president-elect (or vice president), a secretary, and a treasurer. Typically the music director serves as ex-officio, with a voice but not a vote. Does your group have a similar or different makeup?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: While our board is technically comprised of all full-time members, we do also have a Leadership committee, which is made up of the chairs of each of our five standing committees as well as our Director and our President. The Leadership committee in many respects acts as our “board”: Leadership meets on a monthly basis to discuss topics that cut across different committees or need broader discussion and decision by the entire group at our monthly group meeting. Leadership is also responsible for executing on the broader vision and goals set by the group each year.

The chair of our Admin committee serves as our Vice President, and we also have a Secretary and a Treasurer, both of whom are members of the Admin committee and report to the Admin chair.

CAPITAL RINGERS: As the Artistic Director, I have a permanent position on the board and a vote on everything. I think that is only because I am the founder, so my suspicion is that this will change when I retire. We used to have a larger board with a VP, but it seemed silly to have half the membership on the board. We currently operate with a President, Secretary, Treasurer, 3 At-large Members, and the Artistic Director for a total of 7.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Magic of Bronze has a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The President is tasked with overall group management, the Vice President is tasked with event/concert coordination, and Secretary and Treasurer take on the typical roles of those positions.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Our board is composed of the president, music director, secretary, treasurer, and two general board members who are current members of our group. That group makes up the board’s executive committee. In addition, we currently have three members of the local community serving on our board. The business manager is an ex-officio member of the board.

What about the Director of your group. What is their title, and would you describe their duties? Could you describe how the job description interacts with the board of directors, assuming there is a board?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Director, while not technically a voting member of the group, is very much involved in all musical discussions and decisions. Our director sits on our Concept committee and participates in music selection and overall concert theme planning. She is also responsible for all bell assignments, plans our rehearsal syllabi, and leads all rehearsals. While she is very receptive to musical feedback, she also has the final say on the musical interpretation of any piece we perform.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director. I select and conduct all themes for shows, select all repertoire, run rehearsals, manage the library, create the posters and program covers, negotiate all gigs, audition ringers, create documents, etc., etc., etc. Again, I think this will change dramatically when I retire. Our Bylaws spell out some of the expectations, but they don’t include many of the jobs I do!

MAGIC OF BRONZE: We currently have members-who-direct, rather than a single appointed Director. For the past few years, we have had three members take turns directing and ringing.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music director. The music director is responsible for the music program. He takes charge of all auditions, all regular and special rehearsals, and performances. He selects all music for performances within the limits established by the budget. And he is responsible for scheduling concerts, festivals, and workshops and supervises any recording projects. He also runs Virtuoso, our performance experience for advanced ringers.

Sometimes things that might be assumed to be the music director’s job are either carried out or overseen by other positions, whether on the board or on separate committees. For example: Who selects repertoire?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Concept committee selects all repertoire, though it often solicits ideas and feedback from the full group.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The board and directors work together to select repertoire.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music Director

Who develops concepts and themes for concerts?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Concept committee develops concepts and themes, but again it will often solicit ideas and feedback from the full group.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The board has generally determined the theme for our concert, at which point we pass the theme off to our “Creative Committee” to help focus on the concept.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music Director

Do you have a composer-arranger in residence to develop special repertoire?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: We do not have a composer-arranger in residence, but we do have current and former members who have arranged numerous pieces we’ve performed recently. We also like to expand the repertoire of handbell music through composition contests that center around a particular theme, from jazz and international-themed music to circus music and even music about outer space.

CAPITAL RINGERS: No, but I arrange anything necessary.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Not currently—anyone interested in a volunteer position?

RALEIGH RINGERS: No, we do not have anyone who writes most of the music for the group. We do have Hart Morris as our composer laureate, and he has arranged or composed over 25 of The Raleigh Ringers’ commissions—more than any other individual.

Does the music director run rehearsals, or is there a different strategy?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Director plans and runs all rehearsals.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Rehearsals are run by the AD.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our directors do a pretty good job of balancing rehearsal between them, using a general timeline of what we are working on during rehearsal.

RALEIGH RINGERS: The music director runs rehearsals.

Then there are the myriad details surrounding the general organization and operation of the group: Who plans the calendar of performances for the year?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our PR committee is responsible for driving our calendar discussions, but the entire group is involved in the process and ultimately must vote to approve our calendar. We typically calendar 12–18 months in advance.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The Board determines how many concerts we want to do per term, cities we want to target, and a list of possible concert dates. The Vice President narrows it down.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music Director

Who makes contacts with venues regarding concert details such as set-up and contracts?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our PR committee is responsible for finding concert venues and coordinating setup and performance contracts.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The Vice-President

RALEIGH RINGERS: Music director and business manager. Specific committee chairs will contact their counterparts at our venues. For example, our tech committee chair will contact the venue’s tech contact.

Who oversees development and fund-raising?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Admin committee oversees fundraising activities and grant applications

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Oops… we are supposed to do this?

RALEIGH RINGERS: The board of directors.

Who is in charge of costumes and communicating to group members what to wear?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Concept committee selects concert costumes.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The board, communicated generally by the President.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Committee Chair.

Who oversees equipment maintenance and repair?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our Equipment committee is responsible for all equipment maintenance as well as transportation of our equipment to concerts or other events.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The Board

RALEIGH RINGERS: Committee Chair

Is a person, committee, or entire membership in charge of an audition process?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: The Human Relations (HR) committee is responsible for coordinating auditions and scheduling audition candidates, but all members participate in the audition process.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: The Board.

RALEIGH RINGERS: The music director, along with one or two additional people (not members or board members), are involved in the audition process.

Do you have a librarian?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: We do—our Librarian, who reports to the Equipment chair, manages our music files and concert music folders.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our Vice President serves as the librarian.

RALEIGH RINGERS: Yes

Do you have a marketing person or committee?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Our PR committee is responsible for any marketing materials including concert posters, postcards, and advertising through our email list or on social media.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Committee

MAGIC OF BRONZE: We instituted a “Creative Committee” that is in charge of our branding and publicity. The creative committee came up with our new logo/color scheme a few years ago, is responsible for our concert graphics and programs, decorations at concerts, our website, and our script for concerts. If appropriate for the concert, the Creative Committee has also created visuals for the concert.

RALEIGH RINGERS: A Committee.

Is there someone who develops posters, programs, and the overall look of the group?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: We currently have an Associate Member who develops posters and programs, and our PR committee coordinates group photographs and determines how those get presented on our website or social media.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Artistic Director

MAGIC OF BRONZE: (See previous answer)

RALEIGH RINGERS: Yes. We currently have a ringer who is a graphic designer, and we also have a graphic designer who has worked with the group for years.

As screens become more available at venues, does someone create visuals for your concerts?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: Aside from displaying our group logo or our concert poster, we do not currently create any visuals for our concerts that are displayed on screens at our venues.

CAPITAL RINGERS: Yes! We have our own LARGE portable screen that travels with us. All visuals are projected from the rear, and this has become one of our best additions to our concerts that have become “shows”.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: (See previous answer)

RALEIGH RINGERS: We generally only project logos.

What other tasks do you have that are delegated to other people or committees? Special projects like tours, commissions, etc.?

BELLS OF THE SOUND: We have a few “standing positions” in the group, some which are filled annually and some which are filled when necessary:

  • Historian—maintains both physical and virtual historical content for the group
  • AV Project Coordinator—typically filled if we’re planning to record an album
  • Social Media Coordinator—someone responsible for pushing information and updates about Bells of the Sound to social media channels
  • Tour Coordinator—filled if we plan to go on a tour
  • Fundraising Coordinator—coordinates fundraising activities for the group
  • Ensemble Coordinator—filled if we have offers for a smaller ensemble within Bells of the Sound to perform a concert, typically around the holidays

CAPITAL RINGERS: Grant Writing, 55+ Communities, Outreach

MAGIC OF BRONZE: At this point, if a member has something “extra” they would love to see us take on, I generally ask them to take the initiative. We had a few people asking us to live-stream/record our concerts so they could share with out-of-town family, and I ended up delegating the responsibility of contacting publishers for permission to one of the ringers who was asking!

RALEIGH RINGERS: We have several committees and, as special projects or events come up, we form temporary committees. Current committees are: building, education, equipment, library, merchandise, musicality, performance, social, tech, tour/travel, and vehicles. We also have committees for events such as our Capital Area Handbell Festival and Capital Area Young Ringers Festival. In addition, there are projects that are run by the music director, such as any recording project and selected events, such as our Virtuoso performance experience for advanced ringers.

Are there areas that you wish could be strengthened? Imagine money is no object! (What group wouldn’t want a full-time, paid business manager?)

BELLS OF THE SOUND: There are three areas that we’d love to strengthen. First, we’d love to grow our Associate Members count to increase the number of people doing tasks from our five standing committees and drive broader administrative initiatives like fundraising, bookkeeping, or website management. We all only have so much time we can dedicate to Bells of the Sound each week, and it’d be nice if more of that time could be spent practicing music than on committee work. Second, we’d love to do more proactive marketing of our group within our local community and even beyond. Having an Associate Member “Marketing Director” who has a strong understanding of how to market musical groups within their respective communities would help us expand our audience to a wider set of concertgoers and not just those that know about Bells of the Sound or know about handbells. Finally, we’d like to document and automate many of the recurring tasks each committee performs. Not only would this help ensure committee tasks are done correctly and timely, it also establishes continuity from year to year regardless of our current full-time membership since, as with any group, we always have new members join and current members retire. Having procedures documented and easily accessible online enables nearly anyone in the group to complete an important task, and if we can automate many of those procedures using technology, that’s even better.

CAPITAL RINGERS: We are actually looking into the possibility of hiring a business manager via grant funding. We have a large number of non-ringing personnel who do everything from researching grants to creating spreadsheets to contacting activity directors at 55+ communities, etc. Keeping track of them is a bit challenging, but the benefits have been huge. They are all retirees, looking for a way to be actively involved on our team.

MAGIC OF BRONZE: Our biggest challenge is time. With most of our group having full-time jobs, there are a lot of things that get neglected along the way. While we have members who would help out if given specific tasks, we need to do a better job of defining what those tasks are. At this point, the board and I end up taking on a lot of ‘last-minute’ tasks because we didn’t think of them early enough to have someone else do them.

RALEIGH RINGERS: We have been immensely fortunate to be able to be in a permanent space for the last 10 years, and have a part-time business manager and an office assistant for many years. In addition, we have members who give generously of their time and skills. Of course, unlimited funds would be great, but we also need people who are passionate about what we do. Additional part-time staff in key areas (marketing, social media, fundraising, tour management) would likely be some of the first places we would invest—and maybe a truck driver and some strong roadies! In addition, we would love to expand our space to be able to host even more events and classes, as well as be a resource for the arts community in our area. We also would love to have a rehearsal space that we could use for the demo recordings we do for music publishers.

Thank you to these fine groups for contributing to this discussion!

This Month’s Participants


Bells of the Sound
Puget Sound, Washington
Elliot Lewis, President


Capital Ringers
Lewes, Delaware
Linda Simms, Founder and Artistic Director


Magic of Bronze
Orlando, Florida
Stephanie Shealey, President


Raleigh Ringers
Raleigh, North Carolina
Dave Harris, Music Director and
Angie Chiatello, President


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