Brenda E. Austin is a native of Southwest Michigan. She has served First United Methodist Church in Eaton Rapids, MI as Director of Worship and Music since 2003. She served on the Area 5 Board of the Handbell Musicians of America from 2009-2015. Additionally, Brenda teaches private piano lessons and is a freelance handbell composer, arranger, teacher and clinician.
Brenda has been teaching and directing music in the church for 22 years. Handbells have been intriguing ever since she first picked up a handbell in 1982, and Brenda continues to enrich and further her knowledge in the art of handbell ringing. Since her first publication in 2014, she has had compositions and arrangements published at Beckenhorst Press, the Lorenz Corporation, SoundForth, Jeffers Publishing, Alfred Publishing, GIA Music, From the Top Music and Chorister’s Guild. Her pieces have been featured in Handbell Musicians of America Area V Festival and the Greater Houston Handbell Association Feb-Fest. As a Clinician, Brenda has taught at numerous AREA 5 festivals as well as the National Seminar in Rochester, 2016.
Brenda attained her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Western Michigan University. While at Western, she participated in many ensembles, including the world-renowned Gold Company, directed by Dr. Steve Zegree and The University Choral directed by Dr. Craig Arnold. Additionally, she was a semi-finalist in the ACDA National Student Conducting Competition in Washington DC.
Brenda completed her Master’s of Music degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Missouri – Kansas City under the tutorship of Master Conductor, Dr. Eph Ehly. While attending UMKC, Brenda was a finalist in the Graduate ACDA Student Conducting Competition in San Diego, CA.
Brenda is also kept busy by three amazing kids, Hannah, Blaine and Mia...who are also fabulous handbell ringers!