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Volume 17  •  Issue 1  •  New Year 2024

Notes from the Chair

January and February feel like a time to begin anew after a busy Christmas Season.

It’s that time to find new music. I have spent many hours looking at websites and listening to recordings that provide a preview of the music. Another excellent resource is National Seminar performances or other handbell directors that can suggest their favorite music. Attending events to hear those pieces and making new connections with other directors is one of the great benefits of our HMA events.

There are so many good sources available from music publishers, and right now, there is an abundance of composing, transcribing, and arranging new handbell pieces. If you select a piece and find it is not working for your choir, don’t do it! I have made selections for our ensemble, and after we rehearsed the piece for several weeks, I knew I had to pull it.

It may be a time of recruitment for you. Recruiting can be most successful from within your ringers. This is the time of year that my choir has auditions. I have a half-page requirement, including information about our rehearsal and concert schedule, expected attendance percentage, and requirements for our particular ensemble. I share the document with each interested person, and if they feel they fit the requirements, they receive an application. Would this work for your ensemble?

What about time to plan your rehearsal? Make a lesson plan like teachers in school do. Plan your announcements so you remember to keep them short. Include short warm-ups and stretches for each rehearsal. Determine the order of your music and what you want to accomplish during that rehearsal. By letting the ringers know what you want to achieve at the beginning of each piece of music, you and the ringers will be more focused. But remember, be ready to abandon your plan if something else in the music should take priority. Take note of what you need to add to the plan for the next rehearsal. And, of course, do not forget to stay positive and show your appreciation for the ringers and their efforts.

Your board is planning for success. There is still time to sign up for an Area 11 Read and Ring on Saturday, February 10. Don’t forget to register for the Area 11 Ringing Up Festival in Salt Lake City before the early bird deadline of February 15th. And finally, plan to register and attend the upcoming Spring Ring in your state.

Keep Ringing.

LeAnna Willmore, Area 11 Chair

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Read and Ring 2024

Registration Still Open

Date: Saturday, February 10, 2024

Time: 9am-12pm (local time)
Location: List of locations around Area 11 See List Here

Join us for our annual Read and Ring — a fun morning of sight reading music with the opportunity to buy the music.

$12.00 – HMA Members      $15.00 – Non-Members

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Ringing Up Festival 2024

Early Bird deadline FAST Approaching!  Save Money if you register by February 15th.
The General Daily Schedule and some Classes have been posted on the Festival Website!  
Your ONE STOP “All In One Information” TAB has also been added!
Festival By the Numbers:

Non-Refundable Deposit of $200 due at time of registration. (Check or PayPal)Balance due by May 1, 2024.

Early Bird Registration Fee (by February 15, 2024) $399.00 
Registration Fee (from February 16 and May 1, 2024$450.00 

Guest Only Registration (before May 1, 2024) $300.00 (includes ALL concerts and Festival Meals, may not attend classes or rehearsals)

Festival T-shirts are available for purchase for $15  Adult Small through 3XL (six sizes available)

Saturday ONLY Registration: $150

Although we hope you will want to have the Full Festival experience, a Saturday ONLY option is available, which includes six classes, ringing track observation for Saturday ONLY, and Saturday lunch. Professional Development Credit is available for educators through Area 11 HMA for 8 hours!  Tickets to the Saturday Evening Ring of Fame Banquet are available for an additional fee. Registration must be paid in full online or postmarked on or before May 1, 2024.  

Saturday Evening Ring of Fame Banquet ONLY  $85.00

Follow our social media for fun behind-the-scenes information.

Any questions- email Events Chair: Anne Kleve


Ensemble Spotlight

Based in Colorado Springs, Forté is an advanced quartet marked by artistry, energy, and dedication to their craft. In pursuit of musical excellence, Forté strives to explore, innovate, inspire, and glorify God through the gift of music. The musicians of Forté – Luke Nabeta, Megan Reishus, Dillon Ekle, and Tory Marting – continually challenge themselves to “Rethink Possible,” expanding their musical and performance horizons and adding original compositions and arrangements to their ever-expanding repertoire, while challenging audiences’ perceptions of what handbells can really do. Since forming in 2007, Forté has had an increasingly active schedule of concerts and recordings, made possible with the help of their growing team of monthly supporters. They have been featured performers and faculty at Handbell Musicians of America events, have presented several successful tours across the country, and released three CDs and a DVD of music videos filmed around the state of Colorado. Forte Website

Spring Rings

All five states have an upcoming Spring Ring. Click Here or on the image to get more details!

Happy 2024!

Our love of handbells is in the air with all of the wonderful events we have coming up next week and the next few months! Our Area 11 board has been working hard to make sure we have a successful upcoming year. Next weekend, we have our annual Read and Ring. Previously known as Super Bell Saturday, this is a wonderful event to test your local sight reading skills and connect with other ringers in your area. I always look forward to this event as it gives me an opportunity to ring new music and test my skills! There is something really special about everyone in the Area coming together on the same day to ring music. Our area and ensembles are better when we work together. That is truly what makes a handbell choir special—multiple individuals working together to make beautiful music. Our area is better when we come together to attend events, grow our ensembles, and connect with others who enjoy the art of handbell ringing.

Starting in March, we have our Spring Rings in Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. Spring Rings are a wonderful event to work with different conductors, meet new ringers, and perform in a massed ensemble for the community. This is a wonderful outreach event to spread our love of handbells in each of our states! If you haven’t registered yet, I’d highly recommend checking out your state and registering. It’s an amazing opportunity and tons of fun! While you’re on the website, don’t forget to check out our Area 11 Ringing Up Festival in Salt Lake City, UT this June! It’s going to be an incredible event!

Don’t forget that HMA members get a special registration price on all of our events! If you have any membership questions or you’re curious about joining, I am always here to help! I hope everyone has a wonderful start to the new year and a fun Spring Ring and Sight Reading Saturday!

Love and Bells,

Anne Kelley

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News from National

The National Seminar Site is Now Live!

Bookmark this site for all things related to our summer activities in Hartford:


  • Classes – 63 to choose from
  • Ringing Opportunities – beginning, intermediate, advanced, All-Star
  • Handbell Commons – see which Exhibiting Partners are attending and who is offering showcases
  • Master Series details
  • Distinctly Teen information
  • And so much more!

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Upcoming Board Meetings

February 5, 2024 – 7:30pm 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.