Nicholas Bonaccio was appointed Music Director of the Madison Area Concert Handbells in January of 2017, just in time to celebrate their 20th Anniversary season. Trained as a classical percussionist, he joined the percussion section of the Madison Symphony Orchestra in 2015 at age 23, and has also performed with the Milwaukee Symphony, Hawaii Symphony, Rockford Symphony, Quad City Symphony, and Dubuque Symphony, sharing the stage with soloists ranging from Itzhak Perlman and Sharon Isbin; to Kristen Chenoweth, The Voice’s Patrick Thomas, and the rock band Evanescence. He also performs with Broadway Across America’s touring productions at Overture Center in Madison, most recently Wicked, Anastasia, and Motown the Musical.
In addition to directing MACH, Nicholas is also the Director of Handbell Ensembles at Bethany United Methodist Church in Madison, where he directs the talented ringers of the Bethany Carillons and Bethany Children’s Bells, and spearheaded an initiative to fully refurbish the church’s aging five-octave set of Schulmerich handbells. He also teaches percussion at Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School in Sun Prairie, WI.
Passionate about vintage percussion instrument restoration, Nicholas has apprenticed at two of the most well-known names in the industry, Fall Creek Marimbas in Victor, NY and Century Mallet Instrument Service in Chicago, where he helped restore antique mallet instruments for clients worldwide. With the skills he gained, Nick completely restored his personal 1920’s J.C. Deagan xylophone, on which he performed as soloist in MACH’s Spring 2018 concerts, “Ringing in the 20’s,” featuring handbell arrangements of the ragtime music of George Hamilton Green.
A Vermont native, Nicholas is an alumnus of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY and has done graduate work at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Outside of performing, he is passionate about collecting vintage percussion instruments and mid-century modern furniture, and enjoys cooking, playing trivia, and arranging music for handbell choir.