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Volume 14 • Issue 4 • Fall 2021
Nancy Roberts-Small – Desert Sub-Area Chair
Hello, I’m Nancy Roberts-Small and I am the new chair for the Desert sub-area of Area 11. I recently retired from teaching in the Albuquerque public and private school systems. During my career, I taught special education, band, orchestra and handbells mostly at the middle school level. And I survived to tell the tale and thrive another day! Kudos to the middle school teachers out there. I know…
I have worked with children and youth at Central United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, teaching Sunday School, choir and handbells. I have participated in many Vacation Bible Schools and church music camps. I teach handbells and handchimes at Music on the Mountain, a week-long summer music experience for 6th-12th graders at Sacramento Assembly, in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico.
I enjoy swimming, hiking, cooking, baking, custom wedding cake creation. I am also a geek about Drum and Bugle Corps. I play clarinet with Albuquerque’s Ballut Abyad Shrine Concert Band and with Central Sinfonia. Of course, I enjoy handbells. I started ringing handbells during our country’s bicentennial year, when a three-octave set of Malmarks was gifted to her church’s congregation. And it was pretty cool. A lifetime lifeline to music-making was born.
Upon returning to New Mexico to attend graduate school, I rejoined Mass ApPeal Handbell Choir, directed by Central’s then new director, Gail Downey. Since then, I have used those experiences to help shape my personal and professional musical endeavors. Shout out to Gail Downey!
I currently direct and play with Mass ApPeal Handbell Choir, a multigenerational choir at Central United Methodist Church in Albuquerque. I enjoy ringing ensembles with her husband, Don and their two sons, Eric and Glenn, when they are home from college. Don and I also play with Enchantment Albuquerque Handbell Ensemble, an auditioned community group based in Albuquerque.
I am looking forward to visiting with the people who make (and want to make!) the Desert sub-area of Area 11 go – New Mexico and Arizona, that’s you! I want to work with both “idea people” and people with hands and feet.
Desert area bell ringers, step up. Make eye contact! Lend a hand! Find your bells! Host an event! Attend an event! The more people we have participating, the more momentum and buzz we will create. This is how we can revitalize the Desert sub-area of Area 11. One or two people can’t do it. Together, we are stronger. Together, we can reinvigorate the love of ringing handbells in the states of New Mexico and Arizona. Involvement, community, support and participation feels better with handbells in your hands!
Ready, set, ring! Please let me know how I can help you so that, together, we can realize our area’s potential!
Jumping in with Both Feet….Again!
So long, farewell, auf Weidersehen, good night. I hate to go and leave this pretty sight…(I hope that as you read that, you couldn’t help but sing it to that well-known melody in your head!)
I do hate to go and leave this pretty sight of the Area 11 board and all of you! So I decided not to really leave, but just change positions on the board! While I’m saying “goodbye” or “good night” to being the Area 11 Communications Chair, I’m saying “hello” to being the Area 11 Event Planner!
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as the Communications Chair since I took on that position in 2013! It’s been a pleasure to create the newsletters and send emails and even post on Facebook! Even though I haven’t met many of you in person, I feel like I know you just by seeing your names every time I sent out an email! I hope you all felt a little connection to me during these past 8 ½ years as you would see my name pop up in your email inbox! And for those of you I have had the good fortune of meeting in person, I loved that moment of realization when we saw each other’s faces and were able to put a face with the name! And then being able to continue that handbell friendship has been the cherry on top!
Another one of my favorite parts of being the Communications Chair was receiving emails back from you! I absolutely loved being the point of contact for so many of you as you had questions or comments for the board and being able to help you in any way I could. I also enjoyed receiving comments on things you enjoyed reading about in the newsletters! We definitely do have a wonderful Area with terrific things going on!
And, of course, I have loved serving on the Area 11 Board with so many other fine people over the years! I’ve made great friends and learned so much from each of them!
So now as I take on the role of Event Planner for Area 11, a whole new opportunity comes my way as I jump in with both feet again! I get to continue working with wonderful board members and local committee members as I take the lead in planning our big Area 11 Festivals we have once every two years! I’ve already started planning our RINGING UP 2022 Festival that will take place June 23-26, 2022 in Tempe, Arizona! I’m so excited for this new opportunity and a new way to get to know even more of you in the Area! I’ll also be available as a resource to help local event chair-people as they plan their Spring Events and any other events in Area 11!
I’m looking forward to seeing all of you RINGING UP in 2022! So come along with me and jump in with both feet in your participation! You won’t regret it!
Katie Gant – Communications Chair
I am very excited to be moving into this new position on the Area 11 board and I know I have some big shoes to fill.
Big shout out and thank you to Mary for all the support and help she has given me already! I hope you like my personal touches and I would love to hear your feedback or even feature you in an upcoming newsletter!
Ringers Roundup on September 25, 2021 was great! We hope you can join us next year to brush-up on your ringing skills and get some new ideas for your groups!
January 29, 2022 – Super Bell Saturday
Join us for our 10th annual Super Bell Saturday — a fun morning of sight reading music with the opportunity to buy the music. More information and registration from to come!
March & May 2022 – Spring Ring
Find out about the Spring Ring near you on our Area 11 Events Page
Utah, Northern Colorado, and Wyoming have dates and locations set and ready to go. More information available on our website and registration will be open soon!
June 23-26, 2022 – Area 11 Festival – Ringing Up!
Save the date now because you won’t want to miss this one!
Ellie Hodder will be our Festival Clinician leading us through our RINGING UP rehearsals and a wonderful final concert at the conclusion of the festival.
One of the definitions of the word magnify according to the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary is to make great or greater; to increase the apparent dimensions of a body.
In what ways can we magnify handbells in Area 11? How can we grow our numbers of ringers and add more bell choirs so many more people can have the joy of ringing bells in their lives?
A good example is what is happening in the Alpine area in Utah. Originally a bell choir was started at Lehi Junior High School and as a new teacher Jill Smith came into the established bell choir in 2013 more bells were added to have a 5 octave-set. Then with her support, bells were added to the Lehi High School program. From there as the High School was divided, Skyridge High School with teacher Kirsten Richards purchased some bells and started a class.
Last spring another division created Willowcreek Junior High with teacher Carl Johansen, and they now have purchased bells and have a bell program. Jill has mentored these new teachers.
Last Saturday at the Ringers Round-up there were 9 students from each of these three schools all ringing and having a great time. They have selected two pieces of music they can perform together in an annual October concert.
One teacher mentoring other teachers was the impetus to get these choirs on board. This gives these students an opportunity to learn a musical instrument and gain social skills by participation in a group. Let us all look for ways to magnify and enlarge our bell choirs. Whether it is helping another choir get started with information about purchasing bells, informing someone of some bells sitting idle in a school/church that could possibly be purchased or by mentoring them.
LeAnna Willmore, Chair-Elect, Area 11
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Articles for Newsletter
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.