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   The Twelfth Tone
Area 12 Newsletter                                                                  January  2019

In This Issue
From the Chair
Southern Nevada
Southern California
San Francisco Bay Area
Composition Contest
LA Metro
Northern California
Northern Nevada
Central California
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Message from the Chair -
Scott Leggett

Happy New Year!  

As we take a collective breath after the busy holiday season of ringing, I am looking forward to all the ringing responsibilities and events ahead from now until summer.

As I think about my experience this past fall through Christmas in my role as handbell director at the Methodist church, I am certain it is one shared by many directors in churches all over. The fall began with a sudden loss of key ringers in all three of our handbell groups which were already down to the minimum number of ringers to ring traditionally-assigned music. As the weeks went along, illness struck another ringer for the remainder of the year and another seriously injured her back. What saved us and our season was to have a plan B (and C!) when choosing music and assigning positions. My plan B included choosing music for worship that can be played with different octaves, and this fall the 2-3 octave music in our library saved the day! It was easy to drop down an octave or two to accommodate last-minute ringer issues. I also try to assign G6-C7 to ringers who have the potential of not being able to ring at the last minute so I can easily ring and conduct 4iH if needed. The E4-F4 position is another one that might be easily covered by the C4-D4 ringer. In the end, all was well (with some hidden grey hair under my bald head!) with plan B working out. Hopefully this solution will help some of you in 2019!

Until next time, please check out the calendar for the upcoming Spring Rings and other events and I encourage you to register soon to help those putting on the events make them as successful as possible.

Until next time,

Scott Leggett
Southern Nevada - Alison Pruett

The 24th Las Vegas
clinician - Michael Glasgow
January 11 - 12, 2019
Boulder City Recreation Center
Details and registration packages are available at  www.harmonyhandbells.com/festival

This event is endorsed by Handbell Musicians of America

Alison Pruett
For information on Southern Nevada's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here .

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Southern California - Michèle Sharik

Hi there, SoCal!

I hope you have had an amazing holiday season and are looking forward to an even better New Year! 

In the spirit of a "fresh start for a fresh year", I'd like to share a tip with you:

A few weeks ago, I had the honor and pleasure to direct my church bell choir's weekly rehearsal. Our director was out of town and asked me to step in and lead - and we all know how difficult is is for me to step into that leadership role, haha! ;-) Anyway, during the rehearsal, I had an opportunity to talk to the ringers about marking their music. I have always been a firm believer in doing whatever is necessary to ensure success. If that means highlighting your music with a bunch of different colors, that's fine with me (as long as we don't permanently damage the music, of course). Goodness knows I mark my own music eleven ways to Sunday! However, I also cautioned them on one of the downsides of marking the music: relying on it as a crutch by reading only the markings and not the music along with the markings. The problem with that approach is if we forget to mark something, whether it's a note or a technique or whatever, then we never see it, and thus we never play it! So while yes, only YOU can decide what level of marking is appropriate for YOU, I would encourage ringers at all levels to challenge themselves to find the minimum amount of markings you actually *need* to be successful. Start with something simple and see how far you can get before you have to write something in. Remember that everyone has different learning styles and that's nothing to be ashamed of. What's important is we continually try to improve our skills as handbell musicians, even in little ways - which sounds like a great New Year's resolution to me!

May 17-18
Alex Guebert and Elizabeth Mays

This event is sponsored by Handbell Musicians of America

Happy Holidays to one and all!

My best,

Michèle Sharik
For information on Southern California's concerts,  events,
and other opportunities,  click here .  
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San Fransisco Bay Area - Kendra Scott

Hi Bay Area!

Registration for the Bay Area Spring Ring on May 3-4th is now open!  

Our clinician is Nick Hanson, who will be heading up both the Intense Ring and the Young Ringers' Workshop in addition to the massed ring. Anyone looking for an extra challenge or to inspire younger ringers should definitely sign up to participate in those tracks!

We will be featuring Larry and Carla Sue in our noontime  concert. They will also share their teaching expertise with us in bass and British four-in-hand classes. You won't want to miss it! Larry and Carla make their home in Holland, Michigan, composing and ringing 8-bell duets, though Larry will be familiar to Bay Area ringers from his time ringing and directing here. 

Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, 2019


Nick Hanson

This event is endorsed by Handbell Musicians of America

Happy ringing!

Kendra Scott

For information on San Francisco  Bay Area's concerts, events,  and other opportunities,  click here .

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Composition Contest
The Area 12 Composition Contest
has returned!  

The Handbell Musicians of America Area 12 Composition Contest strives to expand the handbell repertoire with interesting and accessible compositions, while providing a tool for learning and enjoyment at the Area's biennial conference. T he winning composition will be performed at Red, White, and Bells!

Summary of the Rules
  • Composition Contest applicants need not be a member of Handbell Musicians of America.
  • Only one composition will be chosen.
  • Composition may be for Division A, B, C, or Combined Massed Choir.
  • Compositions may or may not add additional secondary instruments.
  • The winning Composition Contest entry shall be considered for publication.
  • If the adjudication panel deems no piece acceptable, no prize shall be awarded.
  • All compositions must be received no later than February 28, 2019.
We invite interested composers to visit the Composition Contest page on our website for full details. 

Have questions?
Los Angeles Metro - Sharon Guilliams

Happy New Year, LA Metro Region!

I am writing this article on Christmas night.  All the hubbub is done and I have time to count the many many blessings I have. 

Thank you to the folks that added events to the Area 12 website and to those that added your handbell choir's website. You may add your spring concerts to the calendar of events as well on the Area 12 website. At the bottom of the homepage, you simply click on " Submit your event." (I apologize last month the link I provided was not correct.)

Today, in the hour or so that I was simply in a food coma, I watched a portion of the LA County Holiday Celebration on PBS. I was very pleased that I heard handbells twice! One of the choirs was "Harmonic Bronze" from the Acton/Aqua Dolce Unified School District and the other was a choir that rang and sang a piece. Both were very good and represented our region well.

Based on scheduling conflicts of personnel and availability of the venue we found for the LA Metro Spring Ring, this year we will most likely be having a workshop/event in early June where we can read new Fall/Christmas music, offer some classes, and provide an opportunity for choirs and individuals to perform their concert pieces one last time. (I am looking at pinning down the 2020 Spring Ring by this February!)

At least four church handbell programs and four educational handbell programs have been identified in our LA Metro Region that are not HMA members. Please send me any information on groups you know of that may not be members. We want to reach out to these folks and find out how we can help them and grow our numbers.
I confess I got a bit overwhelmed trying to pin down a date for the spring ring, such that I did not have as much time as I wanted to dive into pearls of wisdom from the HMA resources, but stay tuned. While I know your holiday season was most likely hectic, I hope that you found inspiration in the music you provided.

As always, if there is something I can help with, please let me know.
Sharon Guilliams
For information on LA Metro's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here.
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Northern California - Sandi Walker-Tansley
The Amazing Connection Between
Paradise Lutheran Church
of Paradise, California
Castle Church Handbell Choir
of Wittenberg, Germany

Submitted by
Nancy Schmitt, Shasta Lake, CA.

In 2011, The Carillons of Redding, California, traveled to Wittenberg, Germany to help Castle Church start a bell choir because of a generous donation of 2 octaves of bells from Paradise Lutheran Church which were at one time owned and used by that church.
Just this past October, the Castle Church Handbell Choir was able to return the visit and travel to Redding and share their gifts of handbell ringing with the congregation of St. James Lutheran Church. Since their trip was in October, they arrived after the devastating Carr Fire. Then, in November, came the Camp Fire which was centered in Paradise. The town suffered great losses.

This news reached the wonderful members of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Just recently, I received word from Sarah Herzer, director of Castle Church Handbell Choir. She wrote, "We have been so shocked here in Wittenberg to hear of the terrible fires in Paradise and Northern California. We have decided to have our annual Christmas Concert (Dec. 22) as a benefit for the fire aid in Paradise. The church council has also passed a donation that will add to our total donations.  It is strange that we were in Redding between the terrible fires of Redding and Paradise. Our thoughts and prayers are with the many people who have experienced loss and with those who are helping. Our ringing of those bells donated to us from Paradise Lutheran Church holds a special place in our hearts."

Sandi Walker-Tansley

For information on Northern California's concerts, events,  and other opportunities,  click here !
Northern Nevada - Barb Walsh

On Score Preparation
(part 4)

Are you a tempo setter? Ideally, the conductor sets all the tempos, and  the ringers carry out the wishes of the conductor. The reality is the tempo setter  is the ringer(s) who plays the 2nd note of the phrase/measure, especially if it's an eighth  note or smaller. Presumably, we play the downbeats together because we can see the  ictus (the point of the beat) that the conductor is directing - and that's assuming people  are looking and aware of what the conductor is doing. However, even when that's  happening, there are differences of opinion. The key to this is to subdivide, which means  think in smaller increments, like instead of quarter notes, think/feel eighth or even sixteenth  notes. As you look through your music, notice if your notes are those tempo setting  notes, especially during and just after ritardandos, accelerandos, fermatas, caesuras, or  anything else that changes the tempo. If you're a conductor, make sure to establish eye  contact with that ringer and clearly conduct what you want. Both ringer and conductor  should mark tempo changes in their score; Fred Gramann is famous for his "watch boxes"  - drawing a square around an entire measure. I like drawing eye glasses (I'm horrible at  drawing; my folder partner wondered why I was drawing a bra!), but whatever works for  you is good.
Dynamic changes should be marked as well. I personally do better with drawing in "hairpins" rather than just reading cresc. or decresc., especially if it's over more than a couple of measures.

Check for bell techniques other than ringing. If you need mallets or a singing stick, write that on the front of your music by the bells/chimes used chart so you are sure to have them accessible. I also write in what bells I start with at the beginning. I've been caught way too many times assuming that I start with the bells in the key signature! Getting into and out of the techniques is usually the hardest part, so I try to figure that out ahead of time (even without bells) and write in any reminders. I also use bell techniques as a "gathering point." If I get lost, then when I hear that technique (or rhythm, tempo change, etc.), I can get back on track.

Lastly, the most frustrating and important part of score preparation is page turns! If you're lucky enough to have a folder partner, then usually one of you can get the page turned, but you need to determine who will be turning the page. I'm a fan of dog-earring the pages, but whatever method you use, make it a habit to physically prepare all the
turns before starting the piece. Determine when you'll be turning the pages. If it's going to be cutting it close, write down what's on the other side of the page. Sometimes the only chance you have to turn the page is way before, so you can always write down those later measures at the top of the following page.

Here's to better ringing through score preparation!

Barbara Walsh
For information on Northern Nevada's concerts, events,
and other opportunities, click here
Central California - Christine Anderson

Is your handbell ensemble traveling any time in the future? Here is a handbell packing tip!

Do you want to consolidate some of your bells to have fewer cases to tote? Have you thought about dividing bells up and placing them in ringers' carry-ons? I have a lot of experience traveling with handbells for both soloists and ensembles and have some pretty funny stories about adventures on the road and in the sky! But logistically, something I do on every trip is to pack some bells in tote bags or a carry-on nestled in cozies I've knit. This year, while shopping at Ace Hardware, I found the ideal bell cozies and they are super cute, especially for Christmas travel! The larger ones are wine bottle cozies (I use them from G4-B4), and the smaller ones are beer can cozies. They are double knit and protect my bells from harm when jostled in a suitcase. Who knew???

I hope all your handbell performances are going well and that you're looking forward to a bright new year of fun ringing and learning. 

Happy New Year!

Christine Anderson

For information on Central California's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here .
Hawaii - Karen Carlisle
Karen Carlisle
Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)!

There is nothing like Christmas as a director, ringer, or church musician! Most of us get a little breather between Christmas and New Year's Day. Since I had a total of 11 performances by Christmas Eve and have two more upcoming on January 5 th  and 6th,  I welcome the couple weeks off! 

So, is it really time off? Well, no, I'm planning for upcoming spring season and even next fall! 

I hope your 2019 is blessed with much ringing and happiness.

Karen Carlisle

For information on Hawaii's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here .