Rick Holdsworth, Conductor of Ring Sarasota, Joins the Club

Rick Holdsworth, Conductor of Ring Sarasota, Joins the Club

Sarasota's premier handbell choir, Ring Sarasota, joins the Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota for its annual holiday concert, this year called "Ring in the Holidays!" 
On this week's episode of the Suncoast Culture Club podcast,  conductor of Ring Sarasota, Rick Holdsworth and conductor of the Pops Orchestra, Robyn Bell, sit down to talk about Rick's life and career (30 years in the Navy Band!), everything you need to know about Ring Sarasota, and the music the handbell choir and the orchestra will be performing together. 

You have two opportunities to catch this fabulous show:
1. Sunday, December 12 at 3:00 p.m. at the Riverview Performing Arts Center in Sarasota
2. Monday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Neel Performing Arts Center in Bradenton

Get your tickets through the Pops Orchestra website at thepopsorchestra.org.
We'll see you at the show!

The Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota Website & Facebook & Instagram

• Ring Sarasota Website & Facebook & YouTube

• Pine Shores Presbyterian Church Website & Facebook

• Dr. Robyn L. Bell Website & Facebook & Instagram

Support the show (https://scf-foundation.org/suncoastcultureclub/)


Robyn Bell: Can I tell you how excited I am about our upcoming pops orchestras holiday show. I have worked with a lot of different musicians, groups and entertainers in my career, but I have never worked with a handbell choir. So when Rick Holdsworth director of Sarasota's premier handbell choir ring, Sarasota reached out to me about a year ago to collaborate on a holiday concert with the pops. I was just a static. It has been a long time in the making, but finally the time has come. And I have asked Rick to join me this week on the podcast to talk about his life musical career, the organization ring Sarasota in this fabulous concert. So Rick. Welcome to the club.

Rick Holdsworth: Good morning. Glad to be here.

Robyn Bell: Glad to have you here. Live in studio. It's nice. So before we go any further, we should say that we will have two performances together. Sunday, December 12th, at 3:00 PM at the Riverview performing arts center. And Monday, December 13th at 7:30 PM at the Neel performing arts center. So folks have two opportunities to experience a 65 piece orchestra with about 220 handbells Chi-Ming along. Tickets can be purchased on the Pop's website@thepopsorchestra.org. So if you're having a hard time getting in the holiday spirit, look no further than these two performances. So Rick, before we talk about ring Sarasota and our upcoming concert, Tell us a little bit about you and your life and how you got into music making to start with.

Rick Holdsworth: Well, let's see. In high school, I wanted to continue on music. I knew I wasn't quite ready for college at that point. 

Robyn Bell: What did you study in high school? 

Rick Holdsworth: Just the general topics, but I was in band and choir and all that. 

Robyn Bell: What did you play? 

Rick Holdsworth: Oh, so you pony a player. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, there's not much work for you. Phony and players after high school band. Is there?

Rick Holdsworth: Um, well there was, I spent 30 years in the Navy.

Robyn Bell: All right, good. Thank you for your service. So, you were in the chorus and the band in high school 

Rick Holdsworth: and the student conductor on my senior year. Believe it or not.

Robyn Bell: I believe that, you know, what's amazing is you remember that today because it was such an awesome experience for you back then, right?

Rick Holdsworth: Truly, truly, 

Robyn Bell: truly. And so you graduated from high school. 

Rick Holdsworth: Five days out of high school, I was in recruit training command. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. 

Rick Holdsworth: The Navy paid for me to travel to great lakes for an audition while I was still in high school. 

Robyn Bell: And you auditioned on your phone, 

Rick Holdsworth: you audition no-no you phone him up in great lakes. Came back, passed the audition, signed a delayed entry papers. So I could have finished high school. Five days later, bootcamp, 30 years later, I was still having fun. 

Robyn Bell: The Navy. Now I don't want to date you, but this would have been maybe around the Vietnam war. 

Rick Holdsworth: Oh, wrapping up starting 72. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And, what all did you do in the navy?

Rick Holdsworth: I was a Navy music. I started playing your phone name and also, you know, across also the trombone bass trombone. 

Robyn Bell: You already know how to play the trombone or did you have to learn? 

Rick Holdsworth: I did have to learn that everybody that goes into the name music program starts out at the armed forces school music, which is Norfolk. The six months of training there and then off to the bands. And at that point, most of the Navy bands were 18 piece unit pans. So 18 people covered everything, your piano player and your guitar player covered bass drum in symbols on parades and ceremonies. Wow. Your bass player, electric bass player was also the tuba player.

Robyn Bell: Okay. And to be a doubler 

Rick Holdsworth: doubler reads, you played. 

Robyn Bell: So you played euphonium, trombone, bass, trombone. You were kind of the low brass man,

Rick Holdsworth: something like that. 

Robyn Bell: Did you, did you ever play tuba? 

Rick Holdsworth: Oh yeah. Well actually occasionally I did actually one high school season. I had to play sousaphone cause all the sousaphone players were on other sports.

Robyn Bell: That's how it always happens. And so where all were you able to travel and play music with your 30 years in the. 

Rick Holdsworth: Well, my first fan was on board, a heavy cruiser. I stationed on Norfolk and we did a north Atlanta cruise. I took me to Portsmouth, English. Oslow Norway, Copenhagen, Denmark, Rotterdam, the Netherlands Lisbon Portugal all in 52 days.

Robyn Bell: Oh, so Rick, what does a typical day look like for a musician on a big boat like that? Are you like plan for dinner, music and parties,

Rick Holdsworth: more so onboard ship. We would occasionally play for what we call still beach picnics out on the deck for the crew. Our work normally started when we got into port.

Robyn Bell: I see. 

Rick Holdsworth: Now we would read. During, you know, while we were underway. But most of the time when we got an import, we paid for official ceremonies and things found the ship as well as play concerts out in towns. 

Robyn Bell: Did you have other duties besides being a musician? So when you were on the boat and you weren't playing, were you wearing.

Rick Holdsworth: More times than not, we would rehearse. Unfortunately they would tell us about the heavy roles that the ship was taking after they took them. So the symbol that stands on are falling down all over the place. 

Robyn Bell: I didn't even think about that. She ran on a big ocean and he hit a big thing and there it goes. The simple stand you're like, did you have. Space to rehearse a big rehearsal. Well, I guess 

Rick Holdsworth: did not have a big rehearsal room. We, were not part of the shift comes from here over the part of the admirals crew and we worked for the Avalon. Sometimes we can get in the mess deck when they weren't using them other times in the chips library or wherever we'd find a space.

Robyn Bell: Okay. Okay. And what you did back in the seventies and eighties. Is that a typical role for a Navy musician today? Do they still have that car? 

Rick Holdsworth: We still have the Navy mans, but the concepts have changed tremendously. We took the music program, took a major cut in 74 post Nam, and we went to regional bands. Most of them being shore-based. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So there's no more bands on the ships, 

Rick Holdsworth: uh, occasionally, but we're actually the only full time band that does ship duty is our seventh fleet ban, which is home-based out of your coast. Good Japan. Okay. And I spent three years on that. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. That's pretty cool. And do you ever get tired of playing the armed forces salute or God bless the USA or 

Rick Holdsworth: I wanted to get there. And have you conducted last week?

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Thanks for coming to our concert. Yeah, it was nice. I have to tell this little side story because. Early in my career, I was approached by the air force because they were looking for more women conductors in the end. They said, we have an opening and would you be interested in auditioning? And I said, oh, you know, sure. And they is this so funny, Rick, they sent me the audition material and there was some serious stuff, but it was a lot of medleys and patriotic music. And at that time I was kind of in my late twenties, early thirties, there was a cutoff date where you can't enter the military anymore after that certain age. But I was so I was younger than that and I remember getting all the material and looking through it. And I thought to myself, I'm a serious conductor. I don't want to play these medleys and patriotic stuff all the time. And I never went through the audition. And then, you know, fast forward 15, 20 years. That's kinda all I do and I love it. So I really shortchanged myself. I think that that would have been a great opportunity. I'm glad I am where I am now, but, I do often think when I talked to military people, bandsmen that have been in for 20, 30 years. Do you, I mean, did you even need the music after a while? Because there's so much music you do play over and over and over right

Rick Holdsworth: now. There's some things, there you go on autopilot. 

Robyn Bell: But sometimes you get new music. I know the military bands do a good job of commissioning brand new pieces. Cause they had the funds for that. And yeah. , 

Rick Holdsworth: the fleet band we'd call it? I was more, we were fleet bands where I rotate every two to three years. So different duty station, which is different than the premier bands that are in Washington DC or at the military academies, which are permanent. 

Robyn Bell: That's right. You're there. And you're, you're stuck there where then 

Rick Holdsworth: yeah. If you want to consider stock.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. It was kind of like, you know, if you're a musician and a band person that is the best job to have 

Rick Holdsworth: a great deal. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Yep. So you stayed in 30 years just making music. Protecting our nations, sovereign 

Rick Holdsworth: be phone him and conductors Baton. You got it. 

Robyn Bell: So when did you, that's interesting. When did you get to shift from being a player in the band to a conductor 

Rick Holdsworth: coming up through the ranks? You know, there need to come up through the middle management positions where you can leach ceremonies and small things and. I went through additional training at our school music. And as I come up through the ranks through chief and chief, and I was the assistant director of four different bands before I retire.

Robyn Bell: So it's just like getting a promotion at a regular job when you get promoted to conductor through this training and stuff, that's pretty cool. And. Part of the job. 

Rick Holdsworth: Oh yeah, man. And unfortunately I was not only conducting band, but managing the over overseeing the, the organism. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. I was going to say, it's not just the music part of it. At that point, you become a very, an administrative organizing person. Right. 

Rick Holdsworth: Very much so. 

Robyn Bell: Well, from working with you, I can tell you you're very good at that. So they were probably always a good pants. Yeah. Navy train the first, certain. If you were in 30 years and you went in at 72, my math says in 2002, you were tired?

Rick Holdsworth: I did. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. And where were you living at that time? 

Rick Holdsworth: Uh, my final duty station was the abandoned, uh, north Navy pan Southeast, which is up in Naval air station, Jack. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. Jacksonville, Florida. So you were already in Florida 

Rick Holdsworth: and I spent three years earlier when they still had the band in Orlando. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So maybe Florida, you lived here doing the Navy stuff, and you're like, Hmm. Maybe this is a place to retire. 

Rick Holdsworth: That's exactly what I said. 

Robyn Bell: Where, where are you originally from the north? The Midwest right 

Rick Holdsworth: now, originally from New York state 

Robyn Bell: New York state. Okay. That's right. So you just threw a, maybe a dart on the map or what brought you specifically to Sarasota when you retired?

Rick Holdsworth: During the latter part of my Navy career, I was doing church work part-time as a director of music at marrying churches where I was stationed at not on base, but office out in the community. Sure. And I figured, yeah, I want to do this. Full-time why retire. And I answered a. Call to a pine shores and the pass their interview process. And I've been here ever since.

Robyn Bell: So th that is one of the nice things. When I talked to my military bands, musician, people that it does allow you to kind of have a side hustle, if you will. And that's what you did, you did church music. And so I'm kind of assuming that's how you got from being a trombone euphonium player conductor to. Jumping the handbill route is through the church music or 

Rick Holdsworth: for your church for music. Yeah, I was at one church. They were getting in the process of purchasing their first set of bells. 

Robyn Bell: Did you know anything about handbills at this point,

Rick Holdsworth: at that point? Um, let's see. I'm trying to get my duty stations, right?

Robyn Bell: Cause there's no handbells in the Navy. 

Rick Holdsworth: There are no handbooks that is for sure. Um, the church I was at when, when I was in Virginia Beach in the mid eighties, they had a bell choir. And that was my, actually my first introduction to handbells the minister Munich knew that I, as a musician, never rang a hand bell, but he had somebody sick one Sunday morning. Here's your two. These are how you ran them. Ready? Set, go. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. You were thrown into the fire as someone that, played in marching bands and also, directed marching bands in my high school. Teaching days, it reminds me a lot of the bass drum section. We, I mean, there's only five bass drums, but they know where their notes are and like they're doing good. And you got to kind of do it together. And belling is the same way. 

Rick Holdsworth: Oh, it was actually 61 notes, but it's one instrument. This is how we describe it. It takes the. 13 14, 15 people to create that music, that one instrument. 

Robyn Bell: And did it take you a while to kind of wrap your head around how the whole handbill music making works coming from like band conducting to this?

Rick Holdsworth: Not really music is music. No ton of page look the same handbell music. Basically. He looks like piano score. 

Robyn Bell: It does. Yeah. But a lot more notes, like a piano player with 50 fingers, 

Rick Holdsworth: something like that. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. And so when you interviewed for the job at pine shores, They already had a handbell choir. 

Rick Holdsworth: They had one handbell choir at the time and it's a fairly experienced choir and there was really no way for people to get started in the belt because it was an established group. So my first month of hair, I said, okay, new required new bell choir going to start this fall for beginners, for beginners. And it, the cool. And at the time the group that was going was an all ladies choir. And I watched, I just stood in, stood in the church and watched he's going to do it. If you do it. And they had sort of recruited themselves, it wasn't an all guys choir. They were recruiting this hope. So there was a lot of them just start 

Robyn Bell: with, so it was kind of like a female male thing at first, 

Rick Holdsworth: at first.

Robyn Bell: Huh? Interesting. 

Rick Holdsworth: And they're both combined at this point and we also had a youth choir didn't have enough youth and they didn't have a lot of strong youth. I wanted to sing, but we, I kept them involved with music through him, but. 

Robyn Bell: And so they, they already had this established, they already had the handbells themselves because that's a whole nother thing. Right? The purchase of the handbells and the making of them. 

Rick Holdsworth: Yeah. The making of that, there's two manufacturers up in Pennsylvania, the purchasing a five octave. So it's about 25,000. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. That's an investor. 

Rick Holdsworth: Very much so. 

Robyn Bell: And then how do you store them? They each have their own little case. 

Rick Holdsworth: They have cases for a couple of oxygen at a time, depending on the size of the bed, the big ones or the small ones.

Robyn Bell: You have a big closet, you keep them in at the church. 

Rick Holdsworth: The church, I actually have like a display rack with, damp chase arrives home to keep the moisture out. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. It's like, it's like having an orange. You know? 

Rick Holdsworth: Yeah, yeah, 

Robyn Bell: yeah, definitely. Yeah, because here, like the facilities, people at the college get a little, put out, I think with us, because we insist that every room is air conditioned all year long and dehumidified because of the instruments, the pianos and the organ and the Neel. So it's the same thing. Wow. That's quite an investment. And so now how long have you been at pine chores then? Okay, we're going to round that up to 20 and I know you're going to make it that far. And so you started with how many people in the handbell choir? 20 years ago, 

Rick Holdsworth: the wag started the church group. Uh, there was just one choir of 11. Then we joined, they had another group of nine to 11 and a youth. Completely different youth group of bell. So three different group bells of bells. Now we're to the point where we have basically an advanced group and an intergenerational second group of youth and adults combined.

Robyn Bell: Oh, wow. Now, somewhere along the way, maybe you had performers that were really interested in going a little bit further and you. Established this other organization called ring Sarasota. Is that how it happened? 

Rick Holdsworth: Yeah, I don't. I had this crazy thought. I get, we all get a once in a while. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, because we don't have enough to do.

Rick Holdsworth: There you go. 

Robyn Bell: You were creative people. Yeah. 

Rick Holdsworth: I say, well, let's have an outlet for advanced ringers in the community. To do more than just what they do on Sunday morning in church, 

Robyn Bell: in a kind of an open, the repertoire for you to, you could do 

Rick Holdsworth: big time. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, because I would imagine most handbell music is written for church choir performances or church performances, I should say. So it was their literature and repertoire out there for more secular handling. 

Rick Holdsworth: There is an, in the 12 years I've had drinks or soda. You can see, see that growing even more and had some of my arranging based on that. 

Robyn Bell: Now, the group rehearses at your 

Rick Holdsworth: insurance, George has been gracious to host the group every year, since we had existed 

Robyn Bell: and allow them to use the handbells as well.

Rick Holdsworth: Now we own our own equipped. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. So ring Sarasota has their own handbills pine shores has their own handbells. 

Rick Holdsworth: I have sort of warehouse of bills down there.

Robyn Bell: Sounds like it. Wow. 

Rick Holdsworth: Yeah, we were ranked Sarasota was unfortunately blessed if I long call it that at the end of our first season, one of our members from season one, was tragically killed in a car versus bicycle.

Robyn Bell: Awful. 

Rick Holdsworth: And her husband was one of our groupies and we had invited him to our end of season gathering and he coroner, he said, can I talk, talk to me? I said, sure. Was this a one-time thing? I said, no, I got six gigs lined up for season two already. I just wanted to know before I buy you, your first set of bells, her name is inscribed in every handle.

Robyn Bell: Isn't that awesome? That is really a Testament to, you know, here on the Suncoast, in the Sarasota and Bradenton and Venice area, just the philanthropy and the people that want to support the arts in however way you want to do it. There's a way out there to do it.

Rick Holdsworth: Oh, I'm, I'm just amazed in general. How all the arts, not just musical arts, but all the arts in this area is so highly supported 

Robyn Bell: now. Performers in ring Sarasota. Are they from pine shores or do you find people come from all over to be in this 

Rick Holdsworth: people travel from Fort Myer. I have people that travel from Largo St. Pete Tampa to rehearsals every Monday. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. And what time do you rehearse? 

Rick Holdsworth: We rehearse Monday nights from seven to nine. Uh, and they'll have three sectionals before. The rehearsal starts at seven, usually six, 15 to six 30. I have three section leaders. Like what I call it, the trouble section. Yeah, the battery's in the middle and the buckets, the baseballs three different groups to three different rooms doing sectionals. And then we bring it together to make music at seven. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. And does it go all year long or is it seasonal? 

Rick Holdsworth: Oh, we start with a overnight retreat. Uh, or Friday slash Saturday to retreat, not necessarily overnight the end of August, normally like a camp almost Joseph gives me those good, heavy duty into all the music we're going to do. Plus some get to know each other's sessions and our annual business meeting. All the other fun stuff you'd have to do as an organization. 

Robyn Bell: And how many concerts does ring Sarasota normally produce in a season? 

Rick Holdsworth: Seasoned music and usually six to seven. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, a lot. 

Rick Holdsworth: And depending on what the season is, we'll either do, we'll do something for Christmas. We're blessed this year to be able to do it with you and we're, we're looking forward to it. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, really. It's just a thrill. And we're going to talk more about that, but I can't tell you how excited I am about this and I didn't realize. With people in the community. They're like, oh, we love the handbills. We can't wait to come to this. I didn't know. There was such a fervor about it. You know, I thought maybe I was the only one that thought this was cool, but no, everybody's really jazzed about it. 

Rick Holdsworth: That's good for me. Yeah. There were jazz. Real Christmas went fourth bone. A lot of times you hear bells Christmas. You don't hear bells about the rest of the year, but bells and Christmas goes hand in hand, but we like to make sure people know. No. 12 months, a year thing. We true music, everything from sacred things for church to classical literature, such as to. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Well, I bet that sounds cool on handbells.

Rick Holdsworth: Yeah, yeah. From holes on the planets. Yeah. Yeah. I did a transcription of that in the season that we did classics now. So my ringers are going to be listening to, this are probably shaking their heads right now because it wasn't an easy piece to write. 

Robyn Bell: They're like killing you. What do you expect us to do this?

Rick Holdsworth: Yeah, they're still killing me with it. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. You've mentioned twice now that you know, you do a lot of arranging, cause I'm sure you want to perform music that has not been written for handbells. And so you arrange it. Do you do any original compositions are mostly arrangements. Okay. And what, does that process like for you?

Rick Holdsworth: Well, let's see, I, you go down the legal road now, the host public domain, anything that's not public domain. I go through to the publishers and get permission to do it for my. And then if it's successful with my group thing. Yeah. I wonder if a publisher will take this and then we go through the other section of the other process.

Robyn Bell: Well, it make 25 cents a copy or whatever they do almost well, be glad you have the military retirement there, Rick. Well, that's really neat. And that's an ongoing process because. That's not something you can just spit out. Like you said, you have this retreat, you have all your music kind of already planned. So you gotta be maybe a year or two ahead in your, 

Rick Holdsworth: In our season. Normally give or take January. We'll be starting to plan out the theme for the following season. Right after that's established, we pick out the music by April. When we close our season three fingers for the following season, we'll have all the music and MP3 files to look at all.

Robyn Bell: Wow. And it really takes that much advanced planning to have a group as good as yours that they're prepared on the music and they come together for the rehearsals. It makes life so much easier on you. Doesn't it?

Rick Holdsworth: Oh, it's amazing. You able to get ha thank you for practicing. 

Robyn Bell: What So tell me Rick, how many. Ringers are in ring Sarasota. 

Rick Holdsworth: Currently I have 17 ringers and two full-time subs this year. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So if someone can't be there, 

Rick Holdsworth: you're sick or have an occasional out of town business or whatever the case may be. I have to be able to come in a husband and wife that'll come in and reinforce.

Robyn Bell: Well, that's really nice. Is it a professional group? Are they paid? 

Rick Holdsworth: No. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. These all volunteer. 

Rick Holdsworth: These are all volunteers. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. And do they have to purchase anything as far as music or do they have to pay? 

Rick Holdsworth: We have, we have an annual $50 right now. $50, um, like 

Robyn Bell: a membership 

Rick Holdsworth: dues, correct? Yeah. And we are a 5 0 1 C3 non-profit organization. So we take donations, take donations, concert proceeds, and all 

Robyn Bell: right. Even when you have a regular concert, not with the pops, what does it cost to, attend one of your performances? 

Rick Holdsworth: Depends on the venue. The menu is the one that sets the price. We set a fee for the venue and you can either do it through ticket sales or through whatever they need. 

Robyn Bell: And where does bring Sarasota play 

Rick Holdsworth: wherever they live, wherever you want it to have. 

Robyn Bell: Okay, so you don't have kind of a home base for your concerts? 

Rick Holdsworth: No, we, move around to varying concert series in the area. This year we actually get a road trip. We're going to be going up to lake city. There was a concert association up there that we're going to be doing a Friday night concert and we're making it a twofer or stopping at a church in Gainesville on the way home on set.

Robyn Bell: Very nice. So when you do a road trip like that, and the musicians pay for their hotel room and food, and the 

Rick Holdsworth: actual nutrients was picking up the tab for our lodging. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So let's say someone wants to be a part of ring Sarasota. Is there an audition process? 

Rick Holdsworth: There's an audition process. We usually audition in the spring give or take the, our concert season. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. But if you're already in it, you don't have to re. 

Rick Holdsworth: Our bylaws said you get re audition, but you're basically, if you're in the group, you're getting audition every night. You're there. 

Robyn Bell: You know, unfortunately with the pops, I'm sure you have the same issue. I mean, we are limited by the rehearsal room and the space and the number of people we can have in there. So I'll have somebody just this morning, I had a cellist contact me, want to join the pops, and I would love to hear this person and I'd love for this person to audition, to be a member, but we don't have one more inch of space to set another chair. Right. So you say you have 17 people. But if someone contacted you one to audition, you could bump it up to 18, or 

Rick Holdsworth: yeah. If, everybody stays for this season into next season and we have somebody qualified that wants to join us, we'll let them join us. And what we do is we just alternate who plays on what tune

Robyn Bell: I see. 

Rick Holdsworth: Even now this contract with the pops, we have two people rotating through.

Robyn Bell: Okay. And it's because there's a finite number of handbells. So you can't have multiple people playing the same handball. I mean, it is precisely how many people you need to make that happen, right? 

Rick Holdsworth: Correct. Yeah. We have a five doctor group and each. Up from what we call C4, which is an octave below middle C on the piano. From there up, everybody's got two bells and the accidentals accordingly in our back row, which is our buckets where I call the buckets, the base brigade. There's three of them sharing that one octave. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. It's really fascinating. And I know the orchestra is excited this next Monday night is our combined rehearsal. It worked out great that you guys rehearsal Monday night and we rehearsal Monday night. 

Rick Holdsworth: Yeah, it was great. So we're looking forward to that, but at the same time, we couldn't cross pollinated as far as conducting with each other, but no, 

Robyn Bell: that'll be fine. 

Rick Holdsworth: We have fun anyway. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, and what's really cool is, I kind of always have to do every single song on the show and one or two other times we've had a guest conductor. Usually it's when we have acquire. And so, you know, when we were organizing this, you say, you know, I'd like to conduct a piece on the concert. I was like, whew, great. Cause I need a break. So that's, that's going to be nice to get up there and wave your Baton or do you use a Baton? Okay, good, 

Rick Holdsworth: I'm looking forward to it. It's been a while since I've conducted a large organization. 

Robyn Bell: Well, they don't watch me. So I hope they watch you. No, I'm kidding. 

Rick Holdsworth: I should never mind. I'm going to go and go there. 

Robyn Bell: So I did say you have 17 people and was I right? That there's 220 handbells 

Rick Holdsworth: oh, we probably have 220 or so handbell instruments because we not only have the 61 notes of a five octave set of handbells. We also have that same amount of notes in hand time. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, yeah, those are the, like the tall, skinny things,

Rick Holdsworth: tall, skinny things on the ground tuning forks. If you want to call them that. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. 

Rick Holdsworth: And something you'll be seeing at least one tune for our pops concert is our new tradition. A, the lower octave times, which stand about six foot tall.

Robyn Bell: Oh, how exciting. 

Rick Holdsworth: Yeah, they sound like the, 64 foot stop on the Oregon. There's notice for the hand, James. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, and you got to kind of have somebody with a lot of muscles to play, 

Rick Holdsworth: actually know those. They actually hit those that they sit here and rack and we got big fuzzy mallets. You hit on strike. Yeah, 

Robyn Bell: that would make much more sense to me. I can't imagine. So these things they're big, they're heavy. How do you transport them from place to place? 

Rick Holdsworth: Where you rent, you haul? 

Robyn Bell: And you have a loading crew. 

Rick Holdsworth: We are all self-contained. We do it all, but we can load or unload a U haul in 15 minutes. 

Robyn Bell: What about some hand? Ollie's. 

Rick Holdsworth: Everything is on wheels and strapped to it. 

Robyn Bell: Cause you're from the Navy and you know how that works. 

Rick Holdsworth: You have strapped a few pallets for ships and planes and things.

Robyn Bell: So let's say someone is interested in either attending more of your performances, or auditioning for the group. How would they go about contacting you? Do you guys have a website or social media presence? 

Rick Holdsworth: Bring Sarasota. 

Robyn Bell: Easy enough, are you on Facebook? 

Rick Holdsworth: We are on Facebook and we also have a YouTube channel, so you can watch us 

Robyn Bell: nice Rick, we're gonna, put links to all of that in our show notes. So people listening to the podcast can go to your website or your Facebook page and your YouTube page, and they'll go straight from there. So we breathe. Talked about you conducting. And so let's talk about some of the music that we're going to be doing together because as typical and a pops concert, the pops will play some music on their own. And then we'll have our guests, artists, which in this case is 17 guests, artists, 18, I guess, with you. And so, we were collaborating on several pieces of music. So talk to us about these pieces. 

Rick Holdsworth: Well, let's see most of the visas Favorites of ring Sarasota. And I said, okay, let's see if we can do some favorites. It's less work for us to rehearse things we already know. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. Pull it out of our back pocket.

Rick Holdsworth: There you go. One of those pieces and assuming now Christmas. Yeah, it was a wonderful arrangement and there was an orchestration already written for it. So I said, okay, that's a keeper. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. 

Rick Holdsworth: The first Noel, which is probably most handbell ringers, favorite Christmas piece by Kathy myklebust, 

Robyn Bell: it's a beautiful arrangement, 

Rick Holdsworth: beautiful piece. And there was. Uh, orchestration for that. So I said, Hey, Kathy, will you allow me to do that? She said, sure. And that's the one that you're letting me conduct, which I'm very blessed and thankful for 

Robyn Bell: arrangement really. I mean, the strings are in the background at the beginning, it's mostly the handbells. And then about halfway through the woodwinds come in and then the brass come in and it just builds and builds. You really did a great job, 

Rick Holdsworth: right? And Kathy actually helped me get that one will be published. That orchestration will be published next year. 

Robyn Bell: Excellent. Good for you. I'm sure that there'll be purchased as well because it's, it's really a good arrangement 

Rick Holdsworth: with, I can appreciate that.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. And you're conducting on that one. And then what else are we doing 

Rick Holdsworth: in winter, which is another one of our favorites that also did not have an orchestration. And the Rangers of that gave me. That's it have fun go for 

Robyn Bell: it. Yeah. And that's the trans Siberian orchestra, 

Rick Holdsworth: correct? 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. People will recognize this. I think as soon as they hear it, it's a very modern sounding and kind of that techno beat kind of thing to it. And people will, oh yeah, they'll pop right up. It's a great arrangement. 

Rick Holdsworth: A little bit on that orchestration. Cause we gave the string some of the heavier parts that normally would've been the Hampton.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. And I have to say, cause there's a part and forgive me for singing on the podcast, but there is an extended part for the strings where they're just going to over and over and over. And we rehearsed this Monday night and at the end, all the string players are grabbing their left hand. I guess it's very taxing on those for our muscles to kind of do that over and over. 

Rick Holdsworth: Imagine that with him, bill. Yeah, it was actually written into the handball score. 

Robyn Bell: Listen, Rick, that's exactly what I said to the players. I said. Complaining the handlers are doing this and they went what? Yeah. So yeah, it's exactly what I said to them. The other thing is when you have that many repeated 16th notes like that, going by fast it's easy to sort of get lost visually with where you are. And then every once in a while there'll be a note that changes it's not repeated. Yeah. Yeah. So it's been a nice challenge for them. They really enjoyed it. And, it's also a really good arrangement. I'm glad we're doing a very modern. Holiday piece. Great. Yeah. And then, we have, another one or two, right? 

Rick Holdsworth: I took over the world, which has, I believe it's Psalm 19 Marcello worked into it, which is a beautiful arrangement. Yup. And also we three Kings, which has 

Robyn Bell: a little lazy in yeah. Yeah. Bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump. We're going to get home. It's really cool. Within the we three Kings. Yeah. A great little kind of, I call it a mashup there. Yeah. And the orchestra we've only had two rehearsals. We only actually have three rehearsals for this entire concert, the third one with you guys. And so they know that we gotta get on this. And from the first week to the second week, the improvement to. Through the roof and I'm excited next week to put it with the handbells because always when the guests are to come from rehearsal, the orchestra always lifts up. 

Rick Holdsworth: We do the same thing. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Yeah. I think so with the orchestra behind the, ringers. . I think everybody gets a little better. 

Rick Holdsworth: Occasionally we've tried to rehearse with the track behind us that really doesn't work. 

Robyn Bell: It doesn't work like music ebbs and flows so much more than, than recorded music with a click track or a metronome. So, yeah. 

Rick Holdsworth: And the, and the places where the handbells are Tasso while the orchard has a few measures my group's tired of me singing those measures.

Robyn Bell: Well, listen, I want to give a shout out because I, explained to you when we talked about this, that there's no way in our rehearsal space. To have the orchestra and the handbells set up. Cause you said you need really five feet of space. And so shout out to my friends in the Neel performing arts center, I reached out to him. I said, you know, on this particular rehearsal, could we use the Neel and they were like, absolutely no worries. And so it's going to be nice to have a rehearsal in our future performance space. Yeah. It's going to be nice. And I'm sorry that you guys have to haul the equipment twice 

Rick Holdsworth: while we do this.

Robyn Bell: Part of it every time, a tuba breaks and I'm hauling it off to the store. I go, this is what I should've been a choir director. 

Rick Holdsworth: Well, it's all relative. When I was over in Japan, we were hauling 3,600 pounds of gear around every day. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Much easier to do some hands-on. Yeah, I see that. Well, I have to say, when we picked the title for this concert ring in the holidays, I kind of went nuts with it on the orchestra end. So some of the pieces that we're doing that are not with the handbells. , I went and I found every piece of music that's been published with the word holiday in it. And it's a lot of medleys. So the pops is opening up the whole show with a, piece called a swing and holiday. And this is like a big band swing version of we three Kings, silent night. Yeah, jazz swing version of silent night and jolly old St. Nicholas. So that's swing and holiday, and then we're doing a piece called holiday for strings. And I'm, not going to talk about that when that's going to be a little bit of a surprise if 

Rick Holdsworth: I've done that on him.

Robyn Bell: So, you know, the piece, but some of our audience members might not. So I'm going to explain that you got to come to the concert to hear that one. And then I found another, published arrangement called holiday mashup, and it is have yourself a Merry little Christmas and jingle bell rock. This was another little, two piece bedroom. And then we always like to have something for our Hanukkah friends. Hanukkah is over by then, but it's important. It's still the holiday season. And so our second chair, oboe player, Stephanie deg actually did an arrangement for us of Hebrew holiday. Five Jewish, holiday Hebrew pieces in it. And it's a really, really nice arrangement, some Chaunika and monster or so it'll be good. And then a holiday celebration is another piece we're doing. It's got hark, the Herald angels sing and O come all ye faithful. And then this one, this was kind of funny. It's called holiday. Cheers. And I was thinking, you know, give me a C, give me an eight too. It's not that kind of. So this is winter Wonderland and sleigh ride, Laurie Anderson sleigh ride. And then our last one, and we're going to ask for some audience participation and the ringers can help us with this too, if you want. It's a singalong called holiday greetings and it is deck the halls, all things sign and jingle bells. We might have you guys out there leading the singing. Sounds like a plan. It's easy. It's like totally easy. We'll practice it Monday night. It'd be fun. 

Rick Holdsworth: They hear this before Monday. 

Robyn Bell: No. 

Rick Holdsworth: Good. 

Robyn Bell: If I can find a recording, I'll send it to you, but I don't think you need it. I mean, we're going to have the words printed to the program so everybody can follow along, but it's audience participation and hopefully 

Rick Holdsworth: we can do that. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Great, great, great. So we have a couple of other surprises on here as well. , we have an arrangement of frosty, the snowman we're doing, but there wasn't a really good arrangement of frosty, the snowman for orchestra. And so we have a composition student here at the college. Who's really just over the top. Excellent. And he did this array. And it is so fabulous. He rehearsed it with the orchestra Monday night, because in addition to you guest conducting, I said, Hey Nathan, his name was Nathan. Rita said, you want to conduct this on the concert? And he is just so giddy. So I get two breaks on this concert. So it's his arrangement and he's conducting. I know, I know. And there's a couple of other fun things in here that we're going to do. If you have kids or grandkids, bring them, cause we're going to bring them up on stage with. That was in a sleigh bells and we're going to have them doing some sleigh bell rings

Rick Holdsworth: for them to 

Robyn Bell: yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll make sure they don't touch it in the handbells. As you know, Rick, I tell people all the time that the holiday concerts are really tough to program for. I try to keep it fresh and new and exciting, but you probably find that you can kind of get trapped in the same old, same old, but Rick, this concert with you and ring Sarasota has absolutely been one of my favorite programs to put together. The music has Phantom. The arrangements, especially the ones you did, they just rock. I don't know any other word for them. And to hear all those handbills with the strings, the woodwinds, the brass and the percussion, I'm feeling to tell you this concert just can't get here fast enough. I'm so anxious for it 

Rick Holdsworth: and pulling me down as I'm directing all those stuff. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, you do kind of get on this natural floating high. Totally. So Rick, and I hope all of you will join us for this very special holiday musical presentation with the pops, orchestra and ring Sarasota. Again, you have to opportunity to see and hear and experience this Sunday, December the 12th, at 3:00 PM at the Riverview performing arts center and Monday, December 13th at 7:30 PM. At the Neel performing arts center in Bradenton, you can get your tickets at the pops website at the pops, orchestra.org. Rick, thank you for joining me today and sharing your story and thank you for reaching out to me for this collaboration. It's just been fantastic.

Rick Holdsworth: Thank you for the invite and we're looking forward to it. 

Robyn Bell: All right, everybody, we'll see you at the show. 

Rick Holdsworth: Don't miss it.