Is there someone special you know who tirelessly promotes handbells and HMA for Area1? Is there a teacher or director who had the patience and took the extra time to get you and your handbell group up to speed? Just how much do they love and promote handbells? Area 1 wants to know about them and reward them. The level of some of our Area 1 talent rises above all others. And those are the people we will honor with the Area 1 Leadership Award, named for Margaret Shurcliff, who began the history of handbells in America right here in New England. Beginning with ten handbells and ringing with her children on Christmas 1926 at Beacon Hill in Boston, then later inviting friends and their friends to her kitchen table to ring with other adults; then arranging for others to get sets of bells and setting up massed rings; continuing with the formation of the New England Guild and finally expanding to the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers in 1954, Margaret worked tirelessly for over 30 years to promote handbells. Although we may not match Margaret’s level of dedication again for some time, many individuals continue to work hard to make the art of handbell ringing easy and enjoyable. The Award is modeled after the national Handbell Musicians of America Honorary Life Membership Award. Past recipients of the Area 1 Award are Phil Brown of St Johnsbury VT,  Dan Moore of Rumford RI, and Edward Henderson of Tewksbury, MA.

The Area 1 Board will present the next Shurcliff Award at the 2021 Festival/Conference at the University of Hartford. But first, we need nominees. You may download a nomination form at Area 1’s website: As defined in the procedure for the award, all nominations should be sent to the Area 1 Secretary. The Area 1 Chair has delegated an ad hoc, anonymous committee of three Area 1 members who will receive and evaluate all nominations for eligibility. This committee will present the qualifying nominations to the Board for vote. More than one award may be given in cases of tie votes or not awarded at all if no nominees qualify or a majority of the Board vote is not carried. Please download your Nomination Form, enlist friends and fellow ringers to help complete the form, and return with your backup documentation to the Area 1 Secretary by the December 31 deadline. (Note: Form must be received by December 31, 2020)