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Volume 15  •  Issue 6  •  Winter 2022

Notes from the Chair

Joyful Ringing!

Your Area 11 Board has been hard at work preparing for upcoming events and making plans to make sure everyone is included. This newsletter will give you information about Super Bell Saturday on February 11, a read and ring event with opportunities to gather together with other groups, practice some sight-reading, and find new music. Then, March through May, there is a Spring Ring event taking place in each of the Area 11 states. Each event is configured a little different for each local area, according to their preferences and needs. In the summer, we will have our Youth and Adult Ringers Camp in Colorado. We hope for large attendance at camp this summer. It will be a great opportunity to retreat to the mountains and spend time playing bells with our favorite people. National Seminar is also in July and pre-registration is going on right now.

If you missed it, we have our Area 11 composition contest deadline coming up on January 1. We have also started an ensemble spotlight that includes three different ensembles from our area every two months.

Each member on our board loves handbells and we are all involved either in ringing or conducting in local ensembles. Our goal is to provide wonderful events for you and to gain interest from new ringers in the art of handbell ringing by networking with others outside the organization.

As we enter the Christmas season, I am reminded about how much audiences love hearing the bells at Christmas time. It is also one of the most joyful times to be ringing with others in a bell ensemble. The music may be a recognizable traditional Christmas tune or a newly composed piece that has a joyful tone of gladness. But we know that more people attend handbell concerts at this time of year more than any other.

It brings to mind the beautiful poem, set to many different tunes, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. The words go on to say: “Their old familiar carols play, And wild and sweet the words repeat, Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Area 11 extends to you, Peace on earth this Christmas Season.

LeAnna Willmore
Chair, Area11

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Area 11 Camp

Ringing Through the Ages – June 11-15 2023

Snow Mountain Ranch, Grandby, CO

We’ve COMBINED our Young Ringers Camp and our Adult Ringers Camp into ONE extraordinary camp for everyone of all ages(10+)!

Registration opens soon, for this 5-day, 4-night event in the beautiful and refreshing Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  Throughout the week we will be ringing, participating in outdoor activities and have many chances to hang out with an amazing group of handbell musicians!

Get to Know Barb Walsh

Barb will be working alongside Ed Rollins as our clinican for Area 11 Camp.

Howdy!

My name is Barb Walsh and I live in Reno, NV, although I was raised in Northglenn, CO. I am one of your clinicians/conductors along with Ed Rollins for the Area 11 Handbell Ringers Camp in June. I’m super excited about it and am looking forward to making new handbell friends!

I was asked to write an article for the Area 11 eNewsletter on the topic of my choice. As I’m writing this, it’s November and I’m deep in the midst of planning rehearsals for our upcoming Christmas concerts. As an educator and lifelong learner, I spend a lot of time thinking about how people learn. I feel that knowing different ways people learn helps my ringers and me try different tools to learn our music more efficiently, more in depth and with greater retention. All of that then leads to the best part: being an ensemble that creates beautiful music together!

So, I’m going to share some thoughts on how we’re preparing. Maybe there’ll be something in here that might help you and your group? Maybe you wouldn’t mind sharing some of your tips/tools with me? My email is barbagehr@att.net. I look forward to hearing from you!

Here’s a possible learning sequence:

    1. Right note at the right time
      a.  right note duration/damp at the right time
      b.  with the right articulation, ie. R, LV, mart, mallet, etc.
    2. At the right tempo
    3. Awareness of your functionality within the piece, ie. melody, countermelody, harmonic importance, are you the metronome, do you provide the new tempo, do you control the tempo/dynamics/stylistic changes, etc.
    4. Awareness of the ensemble/director
      a.  are you with the ensemble?
      b.  are you playing the same style/phrasing?
    5. Can you respond and adapt to the ensemble/director?  This is where the music is created!

Being aware of how you feel when you’re practicing/rehearsing is also important for learning.  I’m paraphrasing Tom Senninger’s Learning Zone Model:

Comfort Zone – no risks, familiar, not much learning
Learning Zone – stretching limits, curiosity, new skills, most focus and attention, maximum learning
Panic Zone – curiosity and learning shut down, very little retention

Knowing which zone you’re in at any given time in a piece allows you to grow musically and make choices.  For example, if you’re in your comfort zone and bored, how can you push yourself musically?  Maybe try a different hand, use finger damping, memorize, figure out what the composer is doing, etc.  Especially good would be to open your awareness to a musical line outside of your own and your neighbors’.

If you’re in the panic zone, think about if you should alert the conductor because it’s becoming destructive.  Or, is this the time to make a note that you need to look at this on your own and let it go for now? (This is a very important skill to learn!)   Are you able to go back into the stretch zone and play only what’s important for now?

If you’re in the stretch zone, stay with it!

Hopefully, you’ll be in all the zones at some point during rehearsal.  No performance is perfect, and you’ll be experiencing all the zones there, so learning how to manage them during rehearsal is a good thing.  Remember that the goal is to enjoy making music!

Ensemble Spotlight

Area 11, Handbell Musicians of America is proud to spotlight ensembles that have made their mark (not mart!) in Area 11.

Thank you to these ensembles for their dedication to advancing the art of handbell ringing throughout Area 11.

Click on the pictures for more information on these great programs.

Youth Ensemble

Riverton High School’s Bell Choir

Community Group

Denver Bronze

Church Handbell Choir

Phoenix Ringers Handbell Choir

Area 11 Composition Contest

Area 11 is hosting a Composition Contest to create an Area-wide Anthem. The winner of this competition will receive a $250.00 honorarium.

The composition must meet the following criteria:

  • Current or Former Resident of Area 11
  • Original Composition
  • 16 – 32 measures
  • Accessible to Bell Choirs of any level and range of handbells and/or handchimes
  • Upbeat
  • Can be used as a Concert Opener
  • Able to be memorized

The deadline to submit the composition is January 1, 2023. Please submit a PDF and an optional MIDI file with your submission.

Submissions and Questions can be sent to Area 11 Chair Elect

More Events in Area 11

February 11, 2023 – Super Bell Saturday XI

Registration is now open for our 11th Annual Super Bell Saturday — a fun morning of sight reading music with the opportunity to buy the music.

We have 7 locations throughout the five states in Area 11 where we will gather together. 

Register Today!     Super Bell Saturday Event Page

State Spring Rings – March-May, 2023

We are very excited to announce that we will have a Spring Ring in all five Area 11 states this year. Find out more details for your state on our website!

State Spring Rings

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Area 11 Bulletin Board

Malmark Chimes for Sale - Arizona

6 Octave Malmark Chimes for Sale in Tucson, AZ – Contact Margi Zearly for more information

Schulmerich Bells for Sale - Utah

3-octave set of Schulmerich bells in great condition with cases, library of music, and additional accessories available for sale in Centerville, Utah – Contact Peggy Saunders for more information.

Do you have an upcoming concert, equipment for sale, or auditions for your ensemble in Area 11? 

Complete the Area 11 Bulletin Board Submission Form on our website!

Happy Holidays!

It’s the most magical and musical time of the year! Every year our friends host a Holiday Party where we celebrate the season and exchange Secret Santa gifts. My favorite part of this event is catching up with friends who I haven’t seen in a while. While it’s the most magical time of the year, it’s also the BUSIEST time of the year! With holiday concerts, gigs, extra performances in church, etc. it can be challenging to set aside time to check in with our friends and loved ones. Typically we use our spare time to buy presents, attend Holiday events, prep for concerts, or just take a minute to relax. Why not invite a friend to tag along and help out?

I encourage you this month to invite someone to join you with a holiday task. Whether it’s baking cookies, attending a Handbell concert, shopping for presents, looking at Christmas lights, or just grabbing a cup of warm tea or hot chocolate. This is a great time to connect with someone you haven’t seen in a while. While you’re at it, why not tell them about everything a Handbell Musicians of America membership has to offer? A membership is a wonderful holiday gift! What’s better than saving money on workshops, National and Area events, and getting lots of free resources? The best part is you don’t have to worry about size or style. An HMA membership fits everyone!

If you need conversation starters or have questions about gifting a membership, feel free to email me at: chairelect.area11@handbellmusicians.org

On behalf of my bell choir, our Area 11 Leadership Team, and my family. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday season!

Love and Bells,

Anne Kelley

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News from National

National Seminar 2023

Join us at the Westin Irving Convention Center as Los Colinas in Irving, TX (part of DFW metroplex), for National Seminar 2023.

Event dates are Tuesday, July 11 through Saturday, July 15.

Pre-register with a $125 deposit by November 30, and freeze the registration fee at $350.

Also, those who opt for pre-registration will have the chance to register for the full event classes and tracks before everyone else. Full event registration will be available February 17, 2023.

HMA Advent Calendar

Check in every day until Christmas and open a door on the calendar to find a treat.

These may be printables, such as crafts or puzzles; videos with performances, stories, and special messages; trivia questions that give you a chance to enter drawings for prizes; and more.

Ring-a-Thon

The 3rd Annual Ring-a-Thon is here! Join us on YouTube on December 13th from 4pm-10pm ET.

There will be lots of music, interviews, fun, prizes, and opportunities to give.  Invite your non-handbell friends and family to see what the handbell world is all about.

Virtual Winter Workshop

Friday, January 27, 2023 – Sunday, January 29, 2023

Join us for Handbell Musicians of America’s Virtual Winter Workshop. This is an opportunity to work with a wide range of expert instructors on an assortment of handbell-related topics all presented online. Take advantage of this chance to learn, grow, and share your enthusiasm from the comfort of your own home.

The only equipment required is your computer and a solid internet connection. Having bells at home may enhance the experience of some of the courses but are not required. Participants will have access to recordings of all the workshop classes for 30 days following the event.

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Upcoming Board Meetings

January 6th – 5pm MST

Newsletter Archive

Click here to see any of our previous newsletters from 2012-2021.

Articles for Newsletter

Want to share an exciting experience or tips and tricks with our handbell community?

Deadline to add articles for the newsletter is the 25th of the previous  month.  Articles may be submitted  to the Communications Chair in .doc format and with an picture of the author in .jpg format.