Q: What motivated you to create ringTrue?
A: I've been very fortunate to have much of my music published by established companies. Some of the music I've written for school, commissions, festivals and the like wanders a bit from the mainstream: offering a piece set in different keys and formats, multi-level pieces, some with up to 5 compatible scores. Barbara Brocker encouraged me to consider self-publishing these “outside of the box” pieces – as she does with her own company “Tree-O.” This would allow me to offer all these extras and more. Another enticement for this arrangement is that I would own the copyright to ringTrue pieces, easily allowing additional versions and additions in the future. One small, but significant, nudge for me to move into publishing was to avoid the need to cut down, simplify or consolidate a piece. For example, “Through the Storm” commissioned as a tribute to the victims and survivors of the Virginia Tech shooting, had been conditionally accepted for publication but with major cuts required … and I couldn't do that to this piece. RingTrue gives me the opportunity to offer a major work like this in its entirety.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the history behind ringTrue?
A: A serendipitous free hour at the 2014 National Seminar allowed some sit-down time with Thomas Jeffers, who was incredibly supportive and upbeat about forming a publishing partnership: “Let us do what we do well to let you do what you do well.” I immediately went to work selecting music I had in my files to prepare for the first ringTrue music catalog release in the spring of 2015. I selected my company name (from about 10 possibilities!), designed my logo and the graphics for all the music covers, came up with a catalog concept and numbering system. Winter 2014/Spring 2015 is a blur for me: cleaning-up or re-engraving over 30 pieces, creating exercises for some, writing information sheets. I took a class from the local Small Business Administration, which helped me focus on some business and organizational aspects of the project.
Q: What is the concept behind the offerings in ringTrue's music catalog?
A: RingTrue's 9 categories help organize a variety of my projects:
I like to offer multiple formats for some pieces, sometimes in different keys to fall into place for various ringing needs – or in compatible formats to 1) step-up to as ringers become more skillful, 2) allow groups of differing abilities to perform together, or 3) choose each year which format best suits the ringers at hand. For example, "Circle of Time" has expanded to FIVE compatible versions over time – each one written in response to my ringers' needs or those of other students attending our annual school handbell festival.
A few examples of ringTrue offerings and their backstories:
Whenever there is a blank page in the layout, I try to slip in a bonus piece – an extra something I've written for a conference or a class – something the same level and range as the title piece. Just for fun!
Q: Is there a specific focus for ringTrue Handbell Music?
A: My goal is to offer well-crafted, performance-worthy music that showcases the wonderful idiom and versatility of handbells and serves a wide population of ringers. I write music for all my groups (currently 7 choirs) at one time or another – and beyond. “RingTrue” allows me to share this music directly – and sometimes immediately - getting it out there for others to use, even if it serves a smaller or more focused need. It might fill a niche that no one else has written for. I'm still discovering possibilities.
The challenge – some of the unique ringTrue categories require explaining for a director to understand what is being offered. But my hope is, once the word gets out (as in this article!), directors will find that there is something here that might exactly fill their needs and encourage their ringers to be successful. And I'm always available by e-mail to help.
Q: What are some of your future projects for ringTrue?
A: While I lean towards original works, I've licensed a song I fell in love with when I heard it on TV - "We Are Done" by the Madden Brothers – so that's in the works. And over the years I've been asked by many teachers and directors to consolidate my teaching methods for beginning ringers for them – so "Square One" (working title) is also underway. It includes a step-by-step progression of the concepts, skills and reproducible exercises I've developed in my 12 years of teaching. And, as I continue to write pieces for my students and choirs and follow leads for new ideas, I'll continue to add to the ringTrue music catalog.
You can check out photos from her students’ concerts and links to specific pieces on the ringTrue Facebook page.