From the chair:
Dear Area 12,

Spring has sprung! Many of us are preparing Easter music of some sort or enjoying Spring Break! The Area 12 Board met recently and rekindled many projects that were on hold due to the pandemic. You'll read about them here in the coming months! I also wanted to take a moment to say WELCOME! to Andrew Scher, our new Social Media Liaison, who will be curating handbell content for us on our various social media platforms. Our board elections are underway and we will be able to announce the outcome next month! In other news, I am gearing up to have a baby in mid- to late April and am looking forward to the adventures of being a new parent!  Spring is often a time of new beginnings and Area 12 is no exception!

Wishing you all health, happiness, and beautiful music this season!

Kendra Symonds
Tessique Houston
Area 12 Elections | Last chance to vote!
Election will close on Monday, April 5, 2021!

Our very first electronic election in Area 12 is drawing to a close! If you haven't yet voted, you have four more days…

Our Slate of Candidates and their bios can be found on the Area 12 website here

The election process itself will be hosted on the Handbell Musicians of America server and can be accessed at this link 

You need to be a current member and have a website account on Handbell Musicians of America to access this ballot (sub-memberships and student memberships do NOT have voting privileges). ALL memberships renew in MARCH, so if you did not yet renew your membership, you MUST do so before you can vote.

If you have any questions about the process, or need assistance in creating a website account for Handbell Musicians of America, please contact Tessique Houston -
Area 12 Bell Table Talk
We will be meeting on the second Wednesday and fourth Sunday of each month. Please let Tessique Houston know of any topics you'd like us to cover. 
This month: Viewers Choice
Wed. April 14 - 7:00 p.m.
Sun. April 25 - 3:00 p.m.
Notes from the March Board Meeting
Gail Berg
Your Area 12 Board of Directors met March 19 and 20, virtually, to take care of business. We welcomed aboard the first Social Media liaison, Andrew Scher. Thank you to Christine Anderson for her service as Central California Regional Coordinator. We have some leads on a new Cen Cal RC that we will be reaching out to. The board spent a lot of time reviewing the 13 year old Rules of Procedure which need to be updated based on the recently approved Bylaws. We are also working on a number of future events including the Area 12 Red White and Bells 2022 in Las Vegas, an upcoming solo and small ensemble adventure, and discussing possible venues for the 2024 conference.

Submitted, Gail Berg, Secretary
A new workshop! Watch for details next month!
Regional Updates
Marquise Usher
For information on Bay Area concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
Hey Bay Area!

Spring is upon us! We've had some rain and even some hail. I love the rain, but it came with a surge of wild mustard weed! However, the vibrant yellow flowers covering the hillside of my backyard are lovely and offer quite a spectacular sight from my bedroom window. 

Yes, Spring rain brings May flowers and weeds...but we also know that Spring means Spring Ring! As you already know, the Bay Area Spring Ring has been postponed until 2022. I'm sure we were all looking forward to some massed ringing. Hold onto that anticipation! Look out for updates! And in the meantime, keep your eye on the Area 12 calendar for other events happening in the area.

Until next time!
Barbara Walsh
For information on Northern Nevada concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  

The 19th Annual Sierra Spring Ring - Digital Edition was fun! Tintab had people joining from across the US and even had Malcolm Wilson participating from Scotland! You can still view the livestream on Tintab's YouTube channel at and then watch all the Tips and Tricks by going to Here's the one for Arnold Sherman's "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee": . Just click on the "bubbles" and it will take you to another video showing a tip for playing that part. 

We're thinking (and hoping!) that next year's Sierra Spring Ring will be a hybrid event, meaning both in-person and digital. If you have suggestions as to what you'd like to see, please let me know!

Nancy Schmitt
For information on Northern California concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
Redding Handbell Festival
Saturday October 16, 2021
CrossPointe Community Church
Redding, CA

Massed Director: Tessique Houston
Red Zone Director: Barb Walsh

Registration fee: $35.00 per ringer

The event includes massed ringing, classes, and a final concert
This is an endorsed event through Handbell Musicians of America
Please find registration forms in the Northern California section of the Area 12 calendar
A full-service handbell store
with music and accessories:

gloves • gifts
maintenance items
mallets • binders
bell tree items
Malmark products

visit us at

6603 Queen Ave S, Suite S
Richfield, MN 55423

Sharon Guilliams
For information on LA Metro's concerts, events,  
and other opportunities, click here.  
Hope all is well, LA Metro,

This is Part 2 of what can we do to help colleges receive better ringers/help our ringers be better. For those that did not read last month’s article, in the last few years three college directors in the LA Metro Area have retired. I reached out to two of the three, as well as one current director, and asked them what “bad habits” youth are bringing to their programs. I then asked the same question to some students of those directors.  
Last month I shared the non-technical memories that were shared by students. This month, I want to share a few of the “technical” items.

Both of the directors that have since retired mentioned marking music. They are not talking about the marking of dynamics etc. They are talking about highlighting/writing letters above the notes. This leads to missing durations of notes and missing notes that are not marked. I confess that I started out, way back when, using the highlighting with kids to give them a jump start, but I did try and remove the crutch within one year of starting. One college director shared the following, which cemented in my head that I will never start out with highlighting ever again.
“The biggest problem is marking music, in almost any form. This is a habit difficult to break. Ringers of all ages can learn to read notes and rhythms. Some directors see marking music as a short-cut to music making. The problem is that the ringer is looking at a circle or color which does not inform duration or technique. The analogy I use is: marking music is like giving a crutch to an infant to help them learn to walk sooner!”  
One ex-student shared that they came in as a “wrist” ringer (flicking the wrist to get the bell to ring) and that was quickly pointed out and the habit had to be broken. The handbell community has come a long way in understanding how to make our instrument “sing” in healthy ways.

Another student/now director indicated – 
"As a teacher, I have found that the most common problem in new ringers is simply a lack of understanding how the clapper works, and that manifests as clunky and bad technique. New ringers, especially young ones, find a clumsy motion that makes a sound, stick with it, and never try to refine it. I like to start from the very first rehearsal with a proper understanding of the clapper mechanism. I have them hold the bell (after teaching proper holding technique) pretty far out, with the arm almost fully outstretched, and bell collar sitting loosely. Then, I show how to lightly clench the fingers, and how that can make the clapper activate. Even that small movement can make the bell sound. You don't have to punch with your arm! All it takes is your fingers moving -- not even a wrist movement is needed. Once they learn how subtle the instrument can be, they are eager to try louder sounds. I then show them proper circles, and I do a demonstration with a C4 and G4 rung together, once without a circle, then again with a proper circle. They can always hear that the proper technique yields a better sound.”
One of the retired college directors shared -
“Another important concept to me is proper technique. In their enthusiasm, some ringers slam their bells at the audience. It's a little harsh! Since our handbell tables are on wheels, it is very easy to rotate the tables so everyone can watch the other ringers and also look at their own handbells. We can ring chords (with rests) and see and hear the effect. This is also helpful in matching circles for short or long notes.”
So, as we are able to get back to ringing, let’s all review a bit of technique with our ringers. I have found that different people have their aha moments with different words and/or demonstrations, so keep striving for improvement. Next month I will share the final portions of the input I recieved.
Michèle Sharik
For information on Southern California concerts, events, and other opportunities, click here.  
Happy Springtime, SoCal!

Things are looking up, with ever-increasing access to vaccines and the resulting reduction in cases, and I've seen that some handbell groups and organizations are planning live in-person concerts and other events for this fall. How exciting to know that the time we'll be able to ring together again is coming!

My own church group has started rehearsing via Zoom, rather than only having weekly Zoom fellowship, to work on a piece for Eastertide. And while we are still planning for that to be a virtual project (because we most likely won't be able to rehearse together in person until this fall at the earliest), it's great to finally see some optimism and hope in people's faces after the uncertainty and grief of 2020.

I really am looking forward to teaching and performing at National Seminar this summer. Last month, I told you about the three Area 12 performers appearing there, but did you know that Area 12 is well-represented in the event's faculty, too? It's true! There are at least four Area 12 members who will be teaching there: Christian Guebert, Elizabeth Mays, Christine Anderson, & I will be sharing our handbell and other musical knowledge with the attendees. Some of the classes will be offered both live and virtually, so, even if you can't travel to Arizona for any reason, you can still take advantage of this amazing membership benefit. Plus, both in-person and virtual attendees may view recordings of the virtual classes until July 25! 

Stay safe and sane out there, everybody; the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight!

Until next month,
My best,
Our National Organization (click logos to get more info!)
The Twelfth Tone is published on or around 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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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.
Area 12 Board
Elected Officers

Chair Elect
Past Chair

We have an open board position in the area of Membership. Do you have a passion for handbells, are good at details, and enjoy connecting with people? You might just be perfect for the job! Contact us!
Appointed Officers


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Central California
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Los Angeles Metro
Northern California
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San Francisco Bay Area
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