Festival Conference

Why should I go to Festival Conference at Area 1?

…to learn new things! Everyone, even the most advanced ringers can learn something new. Maybe it will be in a massed rehearsal, at a class for basic ringing, advanced techniques, an open discussion, or origami, yoga, steel or african drums, or even while chatting at mealtime.

…to meet other bell choirs, talk with other ringers and directors, and ring some of the best music available today under the most superb directors

…because if you have never experienced it before, you’re in for an unforgettable weekend with some of the nicest people, and the best bell ringing in New England.

Festival Conference 2017 Information


Group Pre-Registration is now open.  Click this link!

Individual Registration will open April 1, 2017.  Check here for the link.

Where and When?

UMASS Amherst
June 29 – July 2, 2017

Opening Concert

Columbia Handbell Ensemble, directed by Ed Rollins.

Closing Concert

The closing concert takes place on the last day of Festival Conference, and the public is welcome to attend!

Repertoire for 2017

It’s never too early to order your music for Festival Conference!  Order it now and program it for the upcoming year.  You’ll be ready and totally prepared to ring with the other 700 people who will be attending. Check your filing cabinets for these pieces–you might have them from a previous Festival Conference.

Click here to download PDF of Rehearsal Notes for all divisions


Psalm of Celebration,  McChesney L3 3-5 oct  Jeffers MJHS95383-5, MJHS9538BBrass Parts–2 Bb or C trumpets, Horn in F, Trombone, Tuba, Timpani
MJHS9538FS, Full Score/Organ Score

A New Gloria, Cathy Moklebust L3  3-5 oct MCGB213 (PLEASE SEE NOTE BELOW)

America the Beautiful, Arnold Sherman 3-6 oct L3 MRRHB0002,  MRRFS0002 Full Score, MRRBP0002 Brass parts

Soon and Very Soon by Hart Morris L3+ 3-6 oct. MHP2274 (MHP2274P=bass and drum part)


Tuya Es La Gloria, Susan (Nelson) Sylvester L2 3-5 oct. MAG35251

Danza, McChesney L1 2-3 oct MJHS9228 bells, MJHS9228B brass (brass part–2 Bb trumpets, Horn in F, Trombone, Tuba, Timpani), MJHS9228K Keyboard

We Three Kings, Kinyon L1+ 2-3 oct MAP23152


Toccata for a Joyous Day, Paul McKlveen L3, 3-5 oct. MJHS9280 (also digital direct DJHS9280

King of Kings, arr. Ward – AGEHR – AG36046

Carol of the Birds, Deb Carr L4 4-6 oct. MAG45054


Visions of Peace, Karen Buckwalter, L4+ MBEHB438 with flute 3-6 oct

Allegro from Concerto in a minor, Bach/ Vivaldi/Gramann L5 5-7 oct MAG57021

Waltz from Masquerade Suite, Griffin L4+, 5-7 oct.  MBEHB369=full score, MBEH369A=Choir 1, MBEH369B=Choir 2, MBEHB369C= Alternate Piano part for Choir 2

And All That Jazz, Nick Hanson L5 4-6 oct. MFM20492

Note regarding A New Gloria, massed ring selection:

Festival/Conference 2017 Important Notice!!

“A New Gloria”

In an attempt to save choirs money, we decided to select some pieces for this years’ Festival/Conference used at past festivals. Among those chosen is “A New Gloria” by Cathy Moklebust, previously used as a massed piece at F/C 2001 in Burlington, VT.

If you have a copy of this piece from that Festival/Conference, it quite possibly has no difficulty level printed on the cover. Promotional materials for that F/C listed it as a level 4. More recently, Jeffers had it listed as a level 3.  If you have received a new copy of “A New Gloria” for F/C 2017, you will notice that the publisher, Choristers Guild, has put the difficulty level on the cover as level 5. We have contacted Choristers Guild, and they agree it should not be a level 5 and assure us all future publications will reflect the change.

The “Handbell Notation Guide & Difficulty Levels” put out by AGEHR lists the criteria necessary for each level of difficulty. “A New Gloria” is much closer to a level 3. There are time changes but only from 3/4 to 4/4 and back. There are no sixteenth notes. There are no key changes and no hand chimes. Techniques are limited to LV, 2 shakes and 1 RT, and it has very little syncopation. The tempo varies and some are fast, but, in a massed setting, the director will only go as fast as we can play it correctly.

There are 4 opportunities throughout New England in October to attend a workshop to go over all the massed music for Festival/Conference 2017. I strongly encourage you to register online for one of these events to see for yourself how much fun ringing this music can be.

If you have any questions, please contact Jane Nolan at janesjazz@comcast.net


Please Click here to download special information regarding the Bronze division

Conference Fees and Housing

IMPORTANT NOTICE: For the first time ever, Handbell Musicians of America has budgeted some money for a Festival/Conference Scholarship that is strictly need-based. This scholarship is evaluated separately from the Bradford Scholarship, which can only be given used by a person once, and is not need-based. If you or someone you know really wants to go, but will not be able to attend without financial assistance, please download and send in this form:

New for 2017: Apply for Festival Conference Scholarship

Attend as: Early Bird Price After April 30, 2017 (+$30)
Commuter $255 $285
Attendee (Double Occupany) $350 $380
Attendee (Single Occupancy) $390 $420
Chaperone (Double Occupancy) $250 $280

Add an additional $75 for air conditioning. All fees will be increased by $30 for registrations submitted after April 30, 2017.

About our Conductors

Deb Carr (Massed and Tins)

debcarrDr. Deborah Carr, past director and co-founder of the Columbia Handbell Ensemble (CHE), received a B.S. degree in Vocal Music Education in 1977, a M.Ed. in School Psychology in 1992, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 1996, all from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She began ringing in Monroe, Louisiana in 1982. Since 1984, she has resided in Columbia, Missouri where she initiated a five-octave bell program at Missouri United Methodist church and directed youth and bell choirs at Community United Methodist Church. During her tenure as director, the CHE performed for the AGEHR Area VIII Conference , the AGEHR National Director’s Conference, the AGEHR National Ringers Conference, and the International Handbell Exposition.

A highly respected conductor/clinician, Deborah has directed mass choirs for the National AGEHR Conferences and has served as conductor/clinician for international, national, regional and state conferences in Canada, Iowa, Minnesota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Arkansas, New Hampshire and Oregon. Recognized nationally for her musical seminars designed to advance performance skills of performing ensembles, her classes in the developmental approach to ringing at more advanced levels have been well received by directors and ringers. Deborah is a faculty member in the department of Educational, School & Counseling Psychology at the University of Missouri- Columbia and is the Coordinator for the Office of Charter School Sponsorship. Her research interests are devoted to teacher and educator stress, organizational cognition, and educational policy. She is married to Ed Rollins, current conductor of the Columbia Handbell Ensemble, and has two grown children, Ryan and Emily Stoll.

Ed Rollins – Coppers and Bronze

edrollinsEd Rollins is associate pastor for music and administration at First Baptist Church of Columbia, Missouri, where he has served for 22 years. He oversees seven choirs/ensembles and is executive director of the church’s Odyssey Chamber Music Series. Administratively, Ed has oversight of the church operating budget, facility needs, personnel, and a seven-million-dollar endowment.  Ed is co-founder, bass bell ringer and current conductor of the highly acclaimed Columbia Handbell Ensemble.

As a long time active member of Handbell Musicians of America, Ed has served the Guild on many levels, including Missouri State Chair, Area VIII Chair (1986-96), area representative to the national executive committee and area representative to the national board. He is currently the Chairman of the National Board.  In addition, he has been a clinician/coordinator/conductor for Guild events in 20 states.



NOTE:  These instructions have been updated.  Use these instructions, NOT the ones that were published in the November issue of Fundamental Tone.

Please find below the instructions for submitting your video audition for acceptance as a Bronze Division choir at the upcoming Area 1 Festival Conference. Videos can be submitted beginning 12/1/16, and will not be accepted after 1/15/17.

All choirs and directors will receive emailed feedback from the committee chair no later than January 31, 2017. Content will include an overall performance evaluation along with the score breakdown of each rubric category. An explanation of the audition rubric may be found at http://area1.handbellmusicians.org/files/2012/10/FC-2017-Bronze-Division-Information.pdf. Choirs are solely measured against the rubric and not each other. Should the reviewing committee deem that the submitting choir is not prepared to participate in the Bronze division, the choir may choose to ring in the Coppers division, or may be asked to work on specific issues with an Area 1 mentor, and then submit a new video within four weeks of notification.

Videos must be uploaded to YouTube. They can be set to “Unlisted” if you do not want them to be public. A link to the video should be emailed to Sue Wilber at events.area1@handbellmusicians.org.

* Log in to your Google account. * Visit www.youtube.com and click the “Upload” button in the upper right corner.
* Choose either “Public” or “Unlisted” from the privacy drop-down box.
* Select the movie file to upload.
* Email the link to the video to events.area1@handbellmusicians.org

DO NOT remove the video until you hear back from the review committee! If removed prematurely, reviewers will not be able to view your video.

If you have any questions regarding the audition process, please contact Sue Wilber at events.area1@handbellmusicians.org.

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