October 2, 2020
Greetings Area 12!
It is my honor to serve as your new Chair and to lead the fantastic and capable members of the Area 12 board. Many thanks to Scott Leggett for his leadership over the last two years! At our board meeting a few weeks back, we officially welcomed Gretchen Rauch as our new Communications Director, Tess Houston as Events Chair, Beth Mays as Education Director, and KatRyn Howell as Historian. As we discussed old and new business, I noticed many of our conversations centered around the uncertainty of what is to come.
It's clear now that we will be dealing with the pandemic for longer than any of us initially hoped. And as we inch into autumn, gradual changes are upon us. For some of us, schools have reopened, but many have remained closed. Many of our churches meet online or outdoors. Some groups have resumed rehearsing, while others are just getting off the ground. It seems impossible to predict the future when community health guidelines change weekly. How then can we plan our ringing seasons?

There is no one right answer to this question because every ensemble has different needs. Our practice facilities might be unavailable, we may have ringers who are high-risk, or maybe there are no performance venues open for holiday gigs. Some of us can't wait to ring again, and some of us are quite happy to wait it out. We have to be flexible and take every challenge as it comes. To that end, here are some links to resources to help you in planning a season that fits your group's needs. Thank you to Karen Carlisle and others for compiling the repertoire lists! And even if you're not rehearsing, you can stay connected by attending one of the many virtual get-togethers we have planned around Area 12!

May you find peace and joy in your music making —

Kendra Symonds
Gail Berg
Your Area 12 board met virtually September 19 and 20. We covered Kendra's transition to chair, focused our efforts on assigned tasks, discussed conference venues and potential candidates for elected positions, and revised the board meeting schedule (increasing frequency to quarterly, adding virtual meetings). A new social media liaison position has been added. We hope to fill both this position and that of membership director soon. Our next meeting will be held virtually on January 3.

Submitted, Gail Berg, Secretary
Area 12 Bell Table Talk
We will be meeting via Zoom on the second Wednesday (7:00 p.m. Pacific Time) and fourth Sunday (3:00 p.m. Pacific Time) of each month to talk about various subjects that apply to our handbell life. If you have topics you would like to suggest, please email Events Chair, Tessique Houston.

Oct. 14, 7:00 - The Virtual Bell Choir
Oct. 25, 3:00 - SiP and Ring with P.L. Grove
Nov. 11, 7:00 - subject TBA
Nov. 22, 3:00 - subject TBA

Meeting ID: 849 5779 5583
Passcode: 209656
Sharon Guilliams
Love recognizes no barriers.
It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls
to arrive at its destination full of hope.
— Maya Angelou
For those of us that love handbells, COVID certainly has put a few barriers, hurdles, fences, and walls in our way to get to ringing handbells. At the most recent Area 12 Board meeting, we decided we would make a conscious effort to think about what we CAN do. So, let me invite you to participate in LA Metro’s Christmas Handbells – Virtual Massed Ring Event.

The end result of this event will be virtual handbell ensemble videos of both John Behnke’s The First Noel and Alex Guebert’s Carol of the Bells.   

Our clinician is Alex Guebert, whose thoughtful direction brings out the very best in the music and the handbell musicians. Anyone can participate in this event (no geographic boundaries). During the Advent and Christmas seasons your church CAN have bigger handbell pieces presented. We have made arrangements with both publishers to make this possible.The virtual ensemble pieces will be a part of the Pasadena Symphony’s Home for the Holidays virtual concert. 

Usually the first question asked is how will this work? Just like in Spring Rings, participants will be expected to purchase the music ahead of time and learn their parts. On November 21, the virtual massed ring (workshop) will consist of multiple pre-recorded rehearsal segments that participants ring along with. These segments will be viewed from the ringer’s perspective, just like if you were at a Spring Ring, but better, because you won’t have to move or lean to see around someone that is 6’5”.

After the video segments, there will be panel discussions in which participants can ask questions about the rehearsal video. There will also be a video that will serve as the recording track for the participants. Once the workshop is over, you will be asked to record your part for both of the pieces and submit your video(s).
Then the magic happens! On Sunday, December 6, we will have a short “Watch Party” for the participants to get together, view the virtual ensemble pieces, and celebrate this unique effort. After the watch party, we will provide access to download the videos for participants to use.

This may sound a little scary, but we will walk you through the process and have instructions. In fact, there will be a video on how to record your submission available prior to the workshop that will be shown and discussed during the workshop. You CAN do this.

If you are seeing any barriers, fences, or hurdles to your participation, please contact me at LAMetro.Area12@handbellmusicians.org. I will do my best to turn your ”I can’t participate because...” into your ”I CAN participate, I just need to…”. Example, ”I can’t participate because I don’t have bells.” In the LA Metro Region, we have folks that are willing to lend you bells! And, for those not in the LA Metro Region, I am sure that the HMA Area Leadership in your Area would be happy to help get bells into your hands. I know that in some cases economics is an issue. There are scholarships available so that you can purchase the music and pay the participation fee.

Registration opens October 15, 2020. More information can be found at: http://area12.handbellmusicians.org/christmas-handbells/
This event is sponsored by Handbell Musicians of America.
For information on LA Metro's concerts, events,  
and other opportunities, click here.  
Regional Updates
Michèle Sharik
For information on Southern California concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  

Hi there, SoCal!

It felt weird not starting up my church bell group’s weekly rehearsals this fall. We’ve had weekly fellowship via Zoom since March, but I really miss getting together in person and making music together. We are doing some virtual and/or small group projects this fall—and I’m thankful I have the skills to make that happen—but it still feels weird. 

Have any of you started in person rehearsals? If so, please drop me a line and tell me what steps you’re taking to ensure everyone’s safety. And if you have links to virtual projects you’ve done, please share those, too!

I am very excited that the LA Metro Region is hosting a Virtual Massed Ring event in November! It’s open to everyone, everywhere, so I’m hoping that some of my SoCal peeps will register. The clinician is Alex Guebert, who many of you will remember was the clinician for our Spring Rings in 2019 and 2016, so it’s sure to be a great event! See the LA Metro article in this newsletter for more information. 

I hope to hear how you’re ringing this fall, and also hope to see some of you at the LA Metro event next month.

My Best,
A full-service handbell store
with music and accessories:

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bell tree items
Malmark products

visit us at

6603 Queen Ave S, Suite S
Richfield, MN 55423

Masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer, rehearsals; but nowhere to go. The Carillons Handbell Choir of Redding normally plays at three churches every month during our ringing season but two of those churches are closed because of the pandemic and the other church just recently opened. The Redding Handbell Festival for October was canceled. Our community holiday performances have been cancelled for November and December. We started asking ourselves, “What can we do?” Since we are all anxious to return to ringing and want to share our bell music we decided that the next best thing to do until we can return to in-person ringing for church or out in the community would be to record some of our songs that could then be used in the churches’ online services and possibly other places. We made our first recording recently and look forward to the time when we can offer more music either through recordings or in person. 


Nancy Schmitt
Your Far Northern California Liaison 
Nancy Schmidt
For information on Northern California concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
Christine Anderson
For information on Central California concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
Happy Autumn, CenCal!

Normally we’d all be dusting off our bells and getting ready to work on Christmas music. I hope you’re going out on faith and already doing this preparation. How did your bells fare over the long hiatus? Are they terribly tarnished? Time to put a sock over your hand and start polishing with Blue Magic Metal Polish—the now preferred polish. If you have Malmark bells, what color are the springs? If yellow or orange, your bells probably need a good refurbishing. Is there gunk inside your Schulmerich bells? Same opinion, :-) Now is a great time to get those bells in the best condition for this ringing season.

I’d love to know who is ringing again, and if you’re able to schedule workshops or concerts. Please let me hear from my fellow CenCal ringers/directors!

Happy Ringing,
Christine Anderson
Marquise Usher
Hey Bay Area, 
As some of us are gearing up to provide music for worship services again, you might come across new or strange obstacles. At one of the churches where I direct handbells, we are holding outdoor services. One of my musicians developed a rational fear of accidentally dropping a bell or four onto the ground while she 4-in-hands. So I decided to teach her interlocked 4-in-hand which creates a more stable seat for the handbells. It was great that she was able to learn a new skill and apply it immediately. Just one more item for her handbell ringing toolbox! 

If you come across any obstacles or want to share an interesting story, please reach out to me. I'd love to help troubleshoot, share a good laugh, or teach you how to interlock your handbells!
For information on Bay Area concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
Barbara Walsh
For information on Northern Nevada concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  

I really enjoyed doing the Director as Teacher workshop with Tess and all of our great attendees! We're in the planning stages right now for the next directors' workshop. What would you like this workshop to include? Just about anything goes, so don't be shy and please let Tess or me know.

Has your bell group started up? If so, how are you coping with the COVID restrictions? What are your goals? The more we share, the more we can learn and adapt each others' ideas to what might work with our groups. Tintab Chamber Ringers has just started rehearsing. The church we normally rehearse in is still not open, so our first rehearsal was in my garage!

Fortunately, Good Luck MacBeth Theater has opened their doors to us and we just had our first rehearsal there. It was great! We're trying out a new schedule: rehearse four songs for two weeks and then record them on the third week. I'll let you know how it goes!
Hello Handbell Friends, 

2020 has marked a number of changes, including some changes on our Area 12 Handbell Board. I am very pleased to now be serving as Education Director for Area 12. It was an honor to serve as Historian these past years, and I look forward to continuing the wonderful connections and friendships I have made along the way, and make new ones!

For those who do not know me well, let me give you a brief background. I am highly passionate about bells in education. I have a Bachelor's degree in Music with handbells from the University of Redlands. Following my Bachelor's degree, I completed two Masters in Music degrees at Azusa Pacific University—one in Conducting and one in Handbell Performance. I am a founding member of the community handbell ensemble Timbré, and also a solo ringer. I'm the former Music Director at Westchester United Methodist Church in Southern California. I enjoy teaching handbells at workshops and events and have done so across the United States. I also love hearing new ideas, so if you have any ideas about how to promote handbells in education, please send me your suggestions at education.area12@handbellmusicians.org.  

Also don't forget that Area 12 has bell and chime sets available to loan. Schools who are looking to start handbell programs and need equipment loaned can reach out to education.area12@handbellmusicians.org for more information about our loan program. Now is a great time to get these programs started, as bells and chimes can be a great alternative to choirs and bands which have been classified as "super-spreaders." Area 12 also has great resources available on how to ring safely using CDC and social distancing guidelines.  

I look forward to the handbell community moving forward in these crazy times. I hope everyone is able to stay safe and take care of each other. May we continue to come together in music.  

Beth Mays
Teachers, would you like the use of a 3-octave set of handbells or handchimes to add interest and a new dimension to your music class?

Area 12 encourages schools and other educational institutions, both public and private, to develop educational programs using handbells and handchimes.

To support the development of such programs, Area 12 has two 3-octave sets of handbells and three 3-octave sets of handchimes for loan.

To learn more about the responsibilities and procedures for participating in this program, click here.
Alison Pruett
For information on Southern Nevada concerts, events, and other opportunities, 
click here.  
Sandi Walker-Tansley
For information on NorCal concerts, events, and other opportunities, 
click here.  

Karen Carlisle
For information on Hawaii concerts, events, and other opportunities, 
click here.  
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The Twelfth Tone is published the first of each month, except July, by Area 12 of the Handbell Musicians of America (The Guild). The Guild is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the musical art of handbell/handchime ringing through education, community, and communication. The editor of this publication reserves the right to reject or modify copy.

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