June 23-26, 2022 | University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT

picture of Brian Childers

Brian Childers
Massed and Tins Choirs

Brian's Bio

Brian Childers is an accomplished composer, conductor, and clinician. His choral, instrumental, and handbell works are performed throughout the world. He is in demand as a featured clinician at music conferences and workshops across the nation.  In 2019, he was named Music Advisor for Handbell Musicians of America, a position designed to promote the great music in the AGEHR Catalogue.

Brian earned the bachelor of music degree in piano performance from Appalachian State University and the master of divinity degree in church music from the M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University. From 2012-2015, he served as Artistic Director of the Queen City Ringers, a Community Handbell Ensemble based in Charlotte, NC. He has served churches throughout the Southeast, building vibrant programs for choirs, handbells and instrumentalists at each.

Brian is married to Keely Childers, a professional counselor and has two adult children, Hannah and Spencer, both of whom served as drum majors in their respective high school and college marching bands. Brian is an avid runner and a rabid fan of the San Antonio Spurs.

Brian accepts commissions in the concert band, choral, handbell and piano genres. He enjoys partnering with others in creating and shaping music that is meaningful, expressive and timely. His first book, “Ringing Deeply” a devotional book for directors, and ringers, has been received with strong reviews and is now in its second printing. You can learn more about “Ringing Deeply” and Brian’s compositions and conducting schedule at BrianChilders.org.

picture of Stephanie Rhoades

Stephanie Rhoades
Copper and Bronze choirs

Stephanie's Biography

Stephanie Rhoades has been the Conductor and Artistic Director of Concert Bells of Fort Worth, an auditioned community handbell ensemble, since 2003. Ms. Rhoades recently joined the staff of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church (Dallas) as Worship and Music Coordinator and Handbell Director. Over the past twenty-five years she has directed vocal and handbell choirs of all ages in churches across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

With a reputation as an effective and engaging teacher, she has been a clinician and guest director for numerous workshops and festivals across the US. In the past few years she conducted two events for Handbell Musicians of America: the All-Star choir at National Seminar in 2018 and Distinctly Bronze East in 2020. Recently she was invited to represent the US at the International Handbell Symposium which will be held in Nashville, TN during the first week of August 2022.

Ms. Rhoades holds a BA degree in music from Yale University and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Her non-musical interests include teaching fitness classes, cycling, training for triathlons, and scuba diving.



Step 1: You or your group must have an HMA membership and use the membership number to obtain a group registration number.
All individuals, including those attending on their own or with a partial group, will need a group registration number to register as an attendee.  Bronze orphan ringers do not have to complete a group registration.  Bronze Orphan Ringers must complete and submit a bronze orphan application, and will receive a group registration number when the application is approved.


Step 2: Individuals register themselves as an attendee using the group registration number.  Housing choices and class selections will be made by each individual completing an attendee registration.

  • Step 2a: PRE-Registration (optional):
  • Step 2b: Regular Registration
      • Feb 6-28, 2022: Early-bird discounted Attendee Registration (link pending)
      • March 1-31, 2022: Non-discounted Attendee Registration (link payment)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to insurance requirements, the University of Hartford will be providing all tables for the massed ringing floor. Therefore table rental is mandatory, but will be included at no additional charge. Total linear feet is needed to be provided during registration.

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Conference Fees and Housing (And Parking)

The registration fees listed below for regular Festival/Conference attendees cover housing, all meals from Thursday dinner through Sunday lunch, and all workshops, classes, rehearsals, and scheduled events. You may choose single or double occupancy. Additional charges will apply for music and special workshops. All registered participants will receive a complimentary Festival/Conference t-shirt.
Ringer Commuters
You may live close to Hartford, or you may prefer to stay in facilities other than college dorms. The Commuter option is a reduced registration fee that will provide you with lunch, dinner and all Festival activities, but requires that you make your own arrangements for housing and breakfast. Additional charges will apply for music and special workshops. All registered participants will receive a complimentary Festival/Conference t-shirt.
Chaperones / Non-Ringing Companions
Participants under age 18 must be chaperoned; one adult (age 21+) chaperone must be present for every 6 ringers under 18. Chaperones will meet briefly at the beginning of F/C to learn expectations and emergency and disciplinary procedures. Adults attending only as chaperones may register at the reduced rate listed above, but may not attend classes or ring in the Festival. Non-ringing companions may also register at the Chaperone rate.  All registered participants will receive a complimentary Festival/Conference t-shirt.
(all plans include meals, classes, T-shirt and pin)

Attending as (and staying in housing)

[for description of housing options see below]

Early Bird Registration*

(MUST submit $200**
Deposit by Jan 15)

Regular Registration (March 1 – March 31)


Single (Hawk & A/B Complexes) $495 $525
Single (Park River***) $525 $555
Double (Hawk & A/B Complexes) $465 $495
Chaperone (Single) $405 $435
Chaperone (Double) $325 $355
Commuter $320 $350

Important Note about parking  Parking will be available in the university parking lots for a one-time $25 parking fee per vehicle, and will be payable to the UHART Campus Safety Office. This fee applies to all vehicles, whether you are staying on campus or attending as a commuter. This is a change from previous festivals.

* EARLY BIRD Deadline for Deposits is January 15.Early Bird Registration and final payment will be in February.

** SCHOLARSHIPS: If you want to apply for a scholarship and can’t afford the $200 deposit right away, choose the ‘mail in a check’ option before the January 15 deadline, and indicate on your mail-in form that you are applying for a scholarship.

*** No Doubles are available in Park River.

Housing Descriptions
Hawk Hall – Each room is a double occupancy room with one M’s and one W’s restroom with shower facilities per floor. There is an elevator leading to each floor. The entire building is air conditioned. These rooms will be assigned on a first-come/first-served basis. Singles will be given their own room, using the shared restroom.
Residential Complexes A/B – Each room is a double occupancy room with one M’s and one W’s restroom with shower facilities per floor. We will be using only the first two floors of each building. Each room has its own air conditioning unit. These rooms will be assigned after we have reached capacity at Hawk Hall. Singles will be given their own room, using the shared restroom.
Park River: Space is limited. Each room is part of a 4-room suite with a common area and a shared bathroom. Residents will be assigned a single room ensuite that shares a common area and bathroom with the 3 other residents in their suite.
Special Needs/Handicapped Accessibility
Most of the UHartford campus is handicapped accessible. The dining hall, dormitories and ringing arena are close to each other and are handicapped accessible. Those with mobility impairments will be given a special information packet about handicapped parking and handicapped entrances on campus, but you need to let us know about your special needs during the Attendee Registration process. We can provide refrigerators in dorm lounges for those who have medication that needs refrigeration. Please indicate if you have this need on your registration form. Special dietary, housing or accessibility needs must be detailed during the registration process, as adequate time must be provided to accommodate these needs.

Rooms will include linens for the bed.  A Light Blanket, top sheet, bottom sheet, pillow and pillow case and 2 bath towels are provided. The rooms contain a bed, desk, and dresser.  They are not furnished with toiletries, desk lights, or kitchen housewares.
Laundry Rooms are available in each dormitory. There is no charge for laundry.

Bathrooms will have shower curtains and toilet paper provided.

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Cancellation Policy

Registration cancellation/refund requests must be made via email to registrar.area1@handbellmusicians.org on or before May 15, 2022. You will receive a full refund minus a $20 per-participant processing fee. No refunds can be made for cancellations received after May 15.
A registration may be transferred to another person; however, class selections cannot be changed. Housing assignments may be changed based on availability at that time. A class exchange system will be in place during the Festival/Conference to facilitate class changes.

Scholarship Information

Scholarships are available on a variety of levels. If you are in need of financial assistance in order to attend this event, please review the scholarship information and application directions on our scholarships page.


COVID-19 Precautions and Policies

We will be adhering to the University of Hartford’s requirements based on what phase we are as a state and nationally.  The University of Hartford’s updated policies can be found at https://www.hartford.edu/healthy-hawks/offices-operations/campus-access.aspx

As of January 1, 2022, those policies include:

  • All attendees will need to be fully vaccinated, which we anticipate will include boosters as well. Exemptions will not be granted.
  • You will be required to upload a copy of your proof of vaccination card during registration.
  • Masks will be required for all indoor spaces. No exceptions.
  • Plexiglass available to guests in Commons Dining Hall to create barrier within guests if desired (not required)
  • Sanitizer available in all locations for guests
  • While on campus, you will need to complete the LiveSafe Health Survey (see link for details).

For the Closing concert:

Audience members will be asked to show proof of vaccination before entering the venue. They will also be asked to complete a LiveSafe Health Survey. To save time, they can download the app and complete the survey.

University of Hartford Campus

The University of Hartford (UHart) is a scenic and suburban 350-acre campus located at the juncture of three municipalities—the City of Hartford, and the towns of Bloomfield and West Hartford. The physical address is 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut. For detailed driving directions, visit https://www.hartford.edu/visitingcampus/getting_campus/default.aspx

Click the campus map to see the venues Festival Conference will be utilizing.

NOTE, this is a change from the previous festival.  Parking will be available in the university parking lots for a one-time $25 parking fee per vehicle, and will be payable to the UHART Campus Safety Office. This fee applies to all vehicles, whether you are staying on campus or attending as a commuter.

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Festival Repertoire

All participants are expected to purchase and rehearse the repertoire prior to attending Festival Conference. Photocopies of music are NOT permitted on the ringing floor.


  • Celebration on Azmon Brian Childers, Lorenz 20/1628L
  • Come Lift Your Hearts on High, arr. Dan Edwards, Alfred/Jubilate Group 44601
  • Dona Nobis Pacem, with cello, arr. Kevin McChesney, Choristers Guild CGB782
  • This Joyful Eastertide, with trumpet, arr. Ron Mallory, Alfred 46234


  • Acclamation in G Minor, Karen Thompson, AGEHR Publishing G23046
  • I’m Just a Poor Wayfaring Stranger, arr. Tammy Waldrop, Agape/Hope Publishing 2343
  • Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart, arr. Sandra Eithun, Lorenz 20/1947L


  • Compassion, Jason Krug, Beckenhorst HB382
  • Toccata on King’s Weston, Matthew Compton, Agape/Hope Publishing 2767
  • Wade in the Water, arr. Benjamin Tucker, Alfred 45230


  • Celtic Queen, Catherine McMichael, Camelia Music CM0016
  • A Festive Toll, Chris Burton, Beckenhorst HB640
  • Let Everything that Breathes, Praise the Lord, Cathy Moklebust, Choristers Guild CGB1147
  • Reflections, Karen Buckwalter, AGEHR Publishing AG36022

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Rehearsal Notes

Rehearsal notes are important!  They help manage expectations on both sides of the table.

Click here to download the PDF of massed and tins rehearsal notes from Brian Childers. (https://area1.handbellmusicians.org/files/2021/12/Area-1-Festival-Rehearsal-Notes.docx_.pdf)

Click Here to download the PDF of coppers and bronze rehearsal notes from Stephanie Rhoades. (https://area1.handbellmusicians.org/files/2022/01/Area1_FC22_Bronze_Coppers_Rehearsal_Notes.pdf)

Festival/Conference Schedule

Schedule is listed on a separate page.

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Course Offerings

Class list available on a separate page.

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Festival/Conference Faculty

Faculty for Festival Conference is listed on a separate page.

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Closing Concert Info

COVID-19 INFO: Audience members will be asked to show proof of vaccination before entering the venue. They will also be asked to complete the LiveSafe Health Survey. To save time, they can download the app and complete the survey. (see link for details)

On Sunday, June 26, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm, a Closing Concert will be held in the Chase Family Arena. This concert is free and open to the public and will feature music rung by all the participating ringers!  At the conclusion of this concert, a free-will offering will be gratefully accepted to benefit the Bradford Endowment Fund, which provides scholarships to handbell ringers and directors attending a regional or national conference or seminar.

If you would like to order a recording of the Closing Concert, you may do so online (link to come).

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, ballroom dancing, ear training baseball, how to be a one person handbell choir (using the Acapella app), 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.

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What is Massed Ringing?

If you have never witnessed or participated in a Massed Ring, you are in for a spectacular experience! Imagine the floor of a college basketball arena, packed with 1000 feet of pad-covered tables, 3 choirs across, 10 rows deep, populated with 500+ handbell ringers, all ringing in sync under the baton of one director. The visuals are amazing, the sound is inspiring, and the encounter is unforgettable.

Most importantly, massed ringing is an opportunity for personal growth. In a situation where you have multiple choirs all ringing the same piece of music, you can feel confident to reach a step or two beyond your usual ringing comfort level, knowing that there are many other ringers who will cover for mistakes and fill in missing notes.

Every ringer should experience a Massed Ring, and there is no better place to do that than Festival Conference.

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Ringing Divisions Explained

Tins – A division of massed ringing for beginning/emerging choirs that are generally ringing Level 1-2 music.

Coppers – A division of massed ringing for intermediate/more seasoned choirs that are generally comfortable ringing Level 2-3 music.

Bronze – A division of massed ringing for advanced skill-level choirs that are generally comfortable ringing Level 4-5 music.

For more information about the The Handbell and Handchime Music Difficulty Level System, visit https://handbellmusicians.org/music-resources/agehr-music-2/notation-guide/

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Bronze Division Info for 2022


Please visit the special page we have for all things bronze division.

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