Next Area 12 Board Meeting (virtual):
Special | January 15, 2022 ••• Saturday 12:30 - 5:30 pm
Kendra Symonds
Season's Greetings!
The holiday season is upon us! Many of us are in the thick of rehearsals for holiday services and concerts around our communities! Or maybe you're busy baking holiday goodies to share with your fellow ringers? Or if you're like me, you're spending all your free time chasing after your baby son Oscar. Please post your holiday events on our Area 12 Calendar so we can join your celebrations! And if you want to share your favorite holiday recipes with us, we wouldn't turn those down either.

Lastly, it is my great pleasure to introduce our new Central California Regional Coordinator, Kenneth Mackie! If you're in the Cen Cal area, please reach out to him at and let him know how you're doing!

Happy ringing!


Red, White & Bells is sponsored by Handbell Musicians of America, dedicated to uniting people through the musical art of handbell and handchime ringing.
Bronzer here! -  hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I got to cook the turkey on the Trager. It turned out crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Martalina did a great job on all the fixin’s and dessert. This Thanksgiving we pulled out some of our scrapbooks and boy does that take me back. Area 12 sure knows how to have fun! And the hairstyles!! As we get to decorating for Christmas, I can’t help but reflect on how I love to see children and youth at Christmas. There is still that sense of wonder and amazement that somehow, we lose as adults. Right up there with seeing youth at Christmas is seeing youth ring at handbell conferences and festivals. This summer I got to see Barbara Walsh conduct Distinctly Teen. They did a fabulous job. You could tell they were having a good time and the parents and directors were beaming with pride. And did you know that the Area 12 Conference, Red, White & Bells will have Barbara Walsh as the Youth Conference and Division C conductor. I want to share a message from Barbara to the youth out there. Please pass the message on to your youth.

I love conducting any groups, but I especially love the energy, creativity, and camaraderie that the youth and teens bring to the table (pun intended!). We have really fun pieces to ring, some of which are perfect for our theme - Red, White & Bells. Did I mention the conference over 4th of July weekend and that we’ll get to see the Vegas fireworks show? Anyway, one of the pieces we’re playing is Katy Perry’s “Firework” arranged by Michael Glasgow. How perfect is that?! 

Don’t worry if you’re the only one from your group who can go. We’ll have bells available for you and I’ll be sending you helpful tips for learning your music on your own.
Also, you don’t have to restrict your participation to just the Youth Conference. You are more than welcome to participate in the Ringer’s Conference. I really hope to see you there!
You can find information about the Youth Conference and the entire conference at

I hope this holiday season you can take a moment and savor a bell concert or two and let the music restore a sense of wonder and amazement that the season is all about. Bronzer

P.S. Unlike Martalina, who has been practicing the conference music till I am sick of hearing it, I am waiting, hoping that we have the 6th and 7th octave so I can play in the bass!
Regional Updates
Barbara Walsh
For information on Northern Nevada concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
What if you (as a ringer) or your group (as a conductor) is stumbling over particular rhythms? Here are some ideas to try:

  • Isolate the rhythm/measure and loop it, meaning tap/count it several times in a row without stopping.  Then try tapping just your notes each time you loop it.  This will help put it in your muscle memory.
  • Write in the counting on your music. Sounds obvious, but so many times we think we’ll remember and we don’t when we’re under pressure.
  • If you’re the conductor, try writing out the rhythm on the board or chart paper along with the counting. Most people are visual learners and need to see what you’re talking about. Often there is a problem with tracking (moving your eyes through the rhythm). If you’re able to point as you count and tap, they’ll be able to line up all three learning styles – visual, aural, and kinisthetic at the same time.
Often the issues happen when the notes are “smaller” than the beat, like eighth or sixteenth notes. Especially for kids, that idea can be pretty abstract. This is where subdivision comes in. (Subdivide or die!” is one of my favorite sayings.) It can be abstract for adults as well, but usually we just get lazy. This is where some of our fifth grade math comes in. What’s the least common factor of the measure/piece – meaning is the smallest rhythm note eighth notes? Then we should be counting 1&2&. Are they sixteenth notes? Then we should be counting 1e&a2e&a. If you break it down into something more concrete, it makes it easier to explain, demonstrate, feel and do. 

As an example, Tintab is working on Brian Childers’ “Fantasy on Ukrainian Bell Carol” and the rhythms (in 6/8) aren’t just in unison, but each “voice” has a different and sometimes complicated rhythm at the same time making it difficult to get a “tight” ensemble. I made charts for us to tap and count together just to make sure we were all comfortable with the rhythms and how we were going to count them. Then we layered the different rhythms with different groups of people. The commonality of counting the subdivision together is what is helping us to have a tight ensemble. Here’s a picture of the charts:

One of the other things that we’re battling is being on the front or the backside of the subdivisions. To help combat this, we locate the “anchor points” in the rhythm, which are usually the beats, and play just those. When we have those established aurally, visually and physically, they build a nice framework for us to fit those off beats into.

Another issue we are having is being prepared for those tricky rhythms. A good solution is to make sure you’re subdividing before those rhythms and to read ahead. For this, I made flashcards and as they’re tapping and counting one, I flip to the next one so that they have to finish one rhythm and look ahead for the next. It can become quite a competitive game! Here’s a picture of the flashcards:
I hope these ideas help you to think of more ways to improve rhythm reading skills. Please share if you do!

Sharon Guilliams
For information on LA Metro's concerts, events,  
and other opportunities, click here.  
Spring Ring and Ring, Read, and Rejoice are sponsored by Handbell Musicians of America, dedicated to uniting people through the musical art of handbell and handchime ringing.
Happy Holidays to one and all,

 I hope your preparations for holiday ringing are making good progress and that your offerings of music touch people’s hearts as well as your own heart. Sometimes as a director, in all the hubbub, I forget to remember to soak in the music and what it can bring to my own heart.

I’m still getting back into the routine of planning, rehearsing, performing, all at once. I started my Christmas planning in July, but still COVID throws a wrinkle into things. Normally we have the audience sing Silent Night as we play the beloved song. But this year, it is not to be. This revelation came to me in mid-November - time to PIVOT. With a little help from Facebook friends (Stevie Berryman), we are going to have someone “sign” the song and ask folks to really reflect on the words. I am actually very excited about this. A high school student is going to do the signing. And truly how often do we just sing the words by rote memory and not think about the message?

But while we are busy with holiday music, some of us are thinking about Spring and even summer. For those HMA members in the LA Metro and SoCal regions you should have received a postcard in the mail announcing our respective Spring rings. (Many thanks to Michele Sharik.) The LA Metro Spring Ring is on April 2, 2022, in Claremont and has two fabulous clinicians, Matthew Compton and Erik Der. We have titled the spring ring, Freedom to Ring based on one of the pieces, Fervent Freedom and being able once again to come together and do what we love, ring. The pieces selected can fit easily into your spring planning. We do have divisional pieces in addition to the massed ring pieces, so no matter where you are at on your ringing journey, there is a place for you. Groups and individual ringers are more than welcome. More information can be found at LAMetro 2022 Spring Ring | Handbell Musicians of America Area 12.
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Nancy Schmidt
For information on Northern California concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
Bountiful Appreciation!

"Thank you so much." "We really appreciate you coming." "Your music raised our spirits." "You made us feel like we were home." "We look forward to you coming back soon."

Over and over we heard these comments from the veterans at the Redding Veterans Home when we, the Carillons Handbell Choir of Redding, CA, performed there on November 18. We felt blessed as well to be able to go out into the community and offer our music once again. We played general songs, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and patriotic songs. We recognized the veterans who had served in each of the five branches of the military service as we put out our small American flags. 

We rang two performances so more veterans could attend because of social distancing. It was a wonderful night of ringing!
Michèle Sharik
For information on Southern California concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
SoCal Spring Ring is sponsored by Handbell Musicians of America, dedicated to uniting people through the musical art of handbell and handchime ringing.
Happy holidays, SoCal –

Advent has started; can you feel the anticipation and excitement in the air? I've already received inquiries about Christmas handbell events in Southern California, so please let me know if your bells are ringing anywhere or any time—this includes church services as well as concerts or appearances at public holiday events.

Speaking of anticipation and excitement: by now, most of you should have received a postcard about our annual Spring Ring in May, as well as LA Metro's Freedom to Ring event in April. Both events feature music from Area 12's biennial conference Red, White, & Bells, both events have outstanding clinicians, and both events are guaranteed to be a lot of fun, so choose the event that best matches your schedule or—for maximum fun—attend BOTH events!

2022 SoCal Spring Ring
May 14, 2022
St. Thomas More Catholic Church
Oceanside, CA 92056

Details and registration are available here.

I hope you and your loved ones have a beautiful holiday season. 

My best,
Marquise Usher
For information on Bay Area concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
Hello Bay Area!
Happy December! The month when musicians everywhere spread joy and happiness (times a million!) through music. Every year we fill our living rooms, concert halls, church sanctuaries, restaurant patios, and our shopping centers with the wonderful sound of music during the holidays. In the last two years we had to spend so much time apart. However, through music we remained connected. Directors were getting creative and composers were thinking out of the box. Teachers adapted their curriculum for online teaching and discovered a lot of useful online tools for the classroom. 

Some began solo ringing for the first time and others became the whole ensemble! We even had folks collaborating from different parts of the world to make music! We learned a lot about sharing music online and which software and equipment fit our various needs. Our audio and visual technician friends were paramount to so many of our recording projects and streaming events. And kudos to those who decided they needed to learn these skills.

I'm incredibly grateful to all of you who continued to find ways to make and share music with the rest of us. And I can't wait to see what videos and concerts happen this month!

Happy Holidays!

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Teachers: Would you like the use of a three 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 six 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.
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Area 12 Board
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We have an open position for
Area 12 Historian. Love scrapbooking? Taking pictures? Learning from and sharing information with other ringers? This might just be the job for you! Contact Kendra if you want to know more about this position.
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