2018 Ring of Fame Recipient
October 14, 1934-July 25, 2008
The Ring of Fame was started by theArea XI 2002-2004 Board and they established the Ring of Fame to honor those who have madeoutstanding contributions to the art of Handbell/ Handchime ringing. It is intended to recognize and honor commitment to handbells based on exceptional service to Handbell Musicians of America, Area XI, the Sub area, and/or to Handbell/Handchime ringing in general. The chair elect forms a committee to review nominations and then the board approves their recommendations. This occurs on the even years with the festival, so think about who you want to nominate next time!
This year, the area is pleased to honor George Cannon with the Ring of Fame Award for 2018. George contributed greatly to the handbell world in Wyoming, where he lived, as well as to Area 11 and the National events. While George loved music and played the piano and organ he had never heard handbells until he lived in Salt Lake City. Apparently after hearing a handbell group, he became fascinated with them, and when he moved back to Casper, he was determined to bring handbells with him. He got donations, including from his family to buy a set, and started the handbell choir at First United Methodist Church, the Koinonia Handbell Ringers. He was director from 1974-1998, and retired from this prgram as Handbell Director Extraordinaire in May 1998. During his time as director, more than 170 ringers rang with him. That group is still in existence today, led by one of his initial ringers, Dana Deuel, and is the group I rang with at the spring ring. I’m sure he’d be pleased to know they continued on.
George held numerous offices in the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, now Handbell Musicians of America and served as both state chair for Wyoming for many years and as Area chair for Area 11 from 1988-1990. He looked for ways to spread bells, including setting up concerts where the bells played with the Casper Symphony orchestra, the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra and Powder River Symphony Orchestra and using handbells with the choir regularly. He also had two pieces commissioned for the Koinonia ringers: Christ is Born,later published as While by my Sheep, arranged by Cynthia Dobrinski and O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, arranged by Doug Benton for handbells and organ. He was friends with many of the composers and directors in the handbell world and often visited with them. Claranne told me stories of Cynthia Dobrinski and many others staying with them over the years.
One thing I heard from everyone was that George was instrumental in promoting bells in Wyoming. He helped many handbell choirs get started, and perhaps even more importantly he mentored several new directors. He personally organized and led two area festivals in Casper in 1990 and 2000. I did not think I knew him but I was at the festival in 2000 in Casper and when I saw his picture, I recognized him. I can attest that that festival was a great time and I know there are others in this room that agree with me. He started the Wyoming Spring Rings and organized many of these festivals over the years. He directed some massed choir settings and presented workshops at the state and area level. As I talked to people in Wyoming, everyone described him as “delightful” and fun, while at the same time setting high expectations. He was very focused on details, and could be exacting. However, universally this was viewed as a good thing, making him successful in whatever he tried. His passion was handbells and he was a force to be reckoned with in the handbell world!
George was married to Claranne Cannon for almost 42 years and had 2 children, Beth and Dean Claranne described him as the social butterfly of the family! He valued family and friends, which I heard universally as I talked with people, and many people I spoke to told me he enjoyed numerous activities including hiking, skiing, and rafting as well as traveling. In short George made huge contributions to the lives of those who knew him, the handbell world in Wyoming and to all of us in the larger handbell world, and we are delighted to be able to recognize that contribution with this award.
2014 Ring of Fame Recipients
Area 11, Handbell Musicians of America, is proud to name Marcy Hontz of Scottsdale, Arizona, and the late Roxanne Hammond of Colorado Springs, Colorado, as its newest members of the Area 11 Ring of Fame. The Ring of Fame recognizes significant contributions of members over a lifetime of service to the art of handbell ringing and will honor the two awardees at a banquet on June 21 in Loveland, Colorado, as part of the organization’s bi-annual festival.
Marcy Hontz has been a long-time supporter of Guild activities in both her home state of Arizona and throughout Area 11. Marcy is the quiet worker in the background, making sure every detail was attended to for state, local, and area level events. She volunteered in her church, directing both adult and youth handbell choirs and holding handbell workshops and reading sessions. Marcy also encouraged her choirs to ring in local and area festivals. Marcy was key in creating a handbell webpage for Arizona and, later, for Area 11. Under her supervision, the webpage grew to a very usable resource for the Area, and the newsletter increased in readership. After many years in the role of webmaster and newsletter editor for Area 11, Marcy recently retired, but can still be found in many roles in her local church and in Arizona state events.
For thirty years, Roxanne Hammond lived her life tirelessly in proclamation of the fellowship that handbell ringing brings by uniting people through the musical art. Roxanne served as chair of Area XI, American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (later Handbell Musicians of America) from 1994 to 1996 and served as chairperson for the annual Southern Colorado Handbell Festival from approximately 1985 to 1991, a highly-successful festival that continues to this day with over 250 ringers, brass, and an audience of about 1200 people.
Roxanne’s passion was handbell ringing. She taught classes at many festivals; she organized ringing opportunities for the community at large; her choirs would ring in churches that didn’t have handbells, with the expressedpurpose of energizing the congregations to get their own handbells; she encouraged her ringers to become directors themselves and to form their own choirs. And she insured that most of her choirs participated in local, state, area and national events. She was a life-long supporter of AGEHR. This honor will be awarded posthumously.