Timothy ‘Tim’ Waugh death, music composer & conductor passed away after battling illness

Tim Waugh has died. (Source: Facebook)
Timothy ‘Tim’ Waugh has died. (Source: Facebook)


In a poignant and somber moment for the global music community, the world bid farewell to the internationally acclaimed conductor, composer, and performance arts educator, Timothy ‘Tim’ Waugh, on the evening of Thursday, February 8, 2024.

Hailing from the vibrant town of South Charleston, West Virginia, Tim Waugh’s profound influence and artistic contributions reached far beyond geographical borders.

This article pays tribute to the life and accomplishments of a remarkable individual whose artistry transcended boundaries and whose impact will endure in the symphony of memories he leaves behind.

Tim Waugh passed away

It is with heavy hearts that the Handbell Musicians of America shares the devastating news of the passing of Tim Waugh, an iconic figure in the world of handbell music. On the evening of Thursday, February 8, 2024, the global handbell community mourned the loss of an extraordinary conductor, composer, and passionate advocate for the art form.

Tim Waugh, a native of South Charleston, West Virginia, was not only internationally acclaimed for his contributions to classical music but also held a special place in the hearts of handbell enthusiasts worldwide. His profound musicality and innovative approach to handbell performance elevated the instrument to new heights, captivating audiences and inspiring fellow musicians.

Who was Tim Waugh?

Tim Waugh’s multifaceted career traversed an impressive array of performance mediums, leaving an indelible mark on the worlds of handbell, choral, church music, and musical theatre.

From the outset of his professional journey, Tim garnered recognition for his outstanding work in conducting and teaching children and youth, establishing himself as a dedicated mentor and educator. His enthusiasm for working with children of all ages became a hallmark of his career, and his ability to inspire and nurture young talents was unparalleled.

Tim’s impact extended beyond the stage and into the realms of education and community, where he tirelessly championed the significance of the performing arts. Whether in the sacred space of a church, the structured environment of a classroom, or the vibrant tapestry of a community setting, Tim Waugh’s commitment to fostering artistic expression knew no bounds.

With a career spanning over 33 years in public school music education, Tim significantly contributed to the musical development of countless students. His dedication was further underscored by his involvement with award-winning choral groups in southern West Virginia, where he not only honed the artistic skills of his students but also instilled in them a deep appreciation for the transformative power of music.

A Journey of Musical Excellence and Global Impact

Tim Waugh’s illustrious career spanned a myriad of musical endeavors, each marked by his unwavering dedication to artistic excellence and tireless advocacy for the performing arts.

Serving as the artistic director and founding conductor of the esteemed Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble, Tim elevated handbell music to new heights, captivating audiences with his innovative interpretations and impeccable musicianship.

His role as a consultant to the Charlotte Bronze Mid-Carolinas Handbell Festival underscored his commitment to fostering a vibrant handbell community in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.

In addition to his contributions to handbell music, Tim Waugh’s legacy extended to the realm of choral music and worship arts, where he served as the director of music and coordinator of worship arts at First Presbyterian Church in Salisbury, North Carolina. His leadership enriched congregational worship experiences, blending reverence with musical sophistication to create transcendent moments of spiritual reflection.

Tim’s profound connection to the handbell community was further exemplified by his involvement with Distinctly Bronze, an event for advanced musicians organized by the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (now Handbell Musicians of America). Named a Master Teacher of Rhythm and Movement by the organization’s board, Tim’s expertise and passion for handbells influenced generations of musicians, shaping the future of the art form.

Renowned for his boundless energy and unwavering commitment to his craft, Tim Waugh earned the moniker “the busiest guy in handbells.” His extensive conducting, workshop facilitation, and performance engagements took him across the United States and around the globe, spanning four continents and over 12 countries.

From his ancestral Scotland to the vibrant streets of Puerto Rico, from the concert halls of Venezuela to the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong, Tim’s musical journey transcended borders, uniting diverse communities through the universal language of music.

A Musical Journey Across the Globe

Tim Waugh’s illustrious career took him to some of the most prestigious performance venues around the world, where his exceptional talents as a conductor and musician left an indelible impression on audiences far and wide.

From the grandeur of Simon Bolivar Hall in Caracas to the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York City, Tim’s performances resonated with beauty, precision, and heartfelt emotion. His musical journey extended across continents, with memorable appearances at historic landmarks such as Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, the Sheldonian Theatre at the University of Oxford, and the awe-inspiring St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

Tim’s love for handbells led him to enchanting venues in Puerto Rico, where the melodious chimes echoed through vibrant landscapes and resonated with local communities. Beyond his achievements in handbell music, Tim was a fervent advocate for community engagement and musical education.

He actively founded community choruses and music festivals, extending his passion for music to individuals of all ages and backgrounds. His leadership extended to festivals for children’s choirs, middle and high school ensembles, and bell festivals that celebrated the joy of music-making across generations.

Tim’s commitment to musical education and mentorship was evident in his participation at International Symposiums, where he shared his expertise and passion with musicians from around the world. From the premiere of his commissioned piece “Fancye” in Albuquerque to his role as the featured conductor for the inaugural Distinctly Teen event in Orlando, and his mentorship of the Sound Effects Youth Division in Vancouver, Tim’s contributions to musical pedagogy and performance were truly unparalleled.

Tim Waugh Cause of Death

Tim Waugh’s remarkable journey in the world of music was not without personal challenges, as he bravely battled Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a condition that profoundly impacted his life. Despite the hurdles posed by PKD, Tim’s unwavering determination and passion for music never wavered, serving as a testament to his resilience and indomitable spirit.

Eighteen years ago, Tim underwent a kidney transplant, a pivotal moment in his life that offered hope and renewed vitality. The transplant not only symbolized a new chapter in his health journey but also underscored his unwavering commitment to living life to the fullest, embracing every opportunity to share his musical gifts with the world.

While the precise cause of Tim Waugh’s passing has not been announced at the moment, his enduring legacy as a conductor, composer, educator, and advocate for the performing arts remains a source of inspiration for countless individuals around the globe. Throughout his life, Tim’s courage in the face of adversity and his dedication to his craft touched the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing him.


As we bid farewell to Tim Waugh, we acknowledge the profound impact of his artistry on the music community. His compositions, conducting prowess, and dedication to education will resonate for generations. Yet, perhaps equally enduring is the spirit of resilience he embodied—a spirit that continues to echo in the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to have experienced the transformative power of his talent and his unwavering commitment to the world of music. Though he may no longer be physically present, the melodies he created and the indomitable spirit he exuded ensure that Tim Waugh’s musical legacy endures, leaving an everlasting imprint on the collective soul of the music world.


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