Letter from the Dean of Education

As Dean of Education for Area 1 Festival/Conference 2019, I am excited to welcome you to the registration process. I know this can be an overwhelming task – there are 70 classes to choose from, and you only have seven or eight time slots to fill.  I’d like to highlight what we are offering and make a few suggestions.

If you are a new or relatively new ringer, I encourage you to take a couple of techniques classes:  101 Techniques A-Z, 102 Stopped Techniques, 103 Weaving 101, 110 Handchimes, 410 Rhythm in a Flash.  And then depending on your usual ringing position, try 105 Advanced Treble Techniques, 106 Jumpstarting the Battery, or 107 Bass Bell Techniques.

If you have more ringing experience, reviewing your technique to see if you have fallen into some bad habits is always a good idea.  So, all those classes I mentioned above are still good for you.  But if you want something a step up, try 104 Weaving at the Speed of Sound, 106 How Do I Ring That Bell?,  120 Fearless Sightreading, and 411 Complex Rhythm and Time.

We have some special guests teaching at Festival this year.  Forté, who is presenting the opening concert, will be teaching Bell Trees (115 and 116), several ensemble classes (211, 212, 213, 215, 603) as well as a class on Presentation (420) that applies to all of us, and an Ask Forté Anything Roundtable (602).  (If you haven’t seen Forté before, check them out on YouTube – you’ll be amazed!)

Debra LeBrun, formerly from MA but now from Virginia, is offering beginning solo ringing. Linda Krantz, a handbell solo artist from California, will be teaching several tracks on solo ringing, and she will perform for us in a mini-concert.  Meredith Gaines, from Texas, is offering three classes 433-435, all related to performing.  And our massed conductors are also teaching – check out 415 Composing Master Class, 510 Moklebust by Moklebust, and 601 Limericks, Lessons, Life in Handbells.

For directors, or those of you who would like to be directors, we are offering  401T Beginning Conducting, 402T Advanced Conducting, and a series of classes 403-405 Helping Ringers Grow at Every Rehearsal. Also, look at 406 Observing Massed Rehearsal Styles and Techniques, 436 Creative Uses of Bells in Worship, and 437 Processionals.

Anyone dealing with special needs population (and I include all us of who are aging in that category!),  check out 110 Handchimes: Basics to Challenges and 430 Ringing Blind.

Ringing addicts – we have you covered. There are three Festival Choir (301T-303T) tracks, as well as single session 305 Bell Berserkers .  And there is a repertoire reading session scheduled for every class period.

Handbell Musician Certification Level 1 – this year you do not have to go to National Festival to get your certification classes.  Handbell Techniques, Theory, and Conducting are all being offered, and it is possible to take all three, and still do Massed Ringing!

And then there are some old favorites:  Music Theory, bell maintenance, Managing Performance Anxiety, Marking Music, Handbell History, several roundtables, and some non-bell activities: African Drumming, Line Dancing, and Barbershop style singing.

If you can get to Festival a bit early on Thursday, we are also offering the opportunity to Visit and Play the 55-bell carillon at Simsbury United Methodist Church (class 450)!  

Have fun planning your schedule!  See you in June.

Sue Chamberlin, Dean of Education, FC 2019

Downloadable PDFs

If you prefer working with paper and pencil while you work out your class list, or would just like to have a printout of classes, we have some forms for you.

Click Here to open a PDF of the Course Selection Form

Click Here to open a PDF of the Course Schedule Worksheet

Area 1 Festival/Conference 2019 – Course Offerings

100’s Techniques
200’s Solo and Ensemble
300’s  More Ringing – Festival Choirs, etc
400’s Theory, Analysis, and other study classes
500’s Repertoire
600’s Discussion and lecture classes
700’s Non-bell classes
800’s Bell Maintenance
900’s Handbell Certification

Any class number that ends with “T” is a track, and you are required to sign up for all sessions of the track.


See also 931T Handbell Techniques Certification Track

101  Handbell Techniques from A to Z        2.1, 3.1  Sue Lee       2.3, 2.6 Jean Degan

Beginning with the basic ringing stroke, this class will review all the handbell techniques you’ve ever heard of, and perhaps introduce you to some techniques you haven’t encountered yet.  Emphasis will be on executing the techniques correctly, musically, and safely – for both you and the bells.

102  Stopped Techniques             2.4, 3.1        Pete Larson

Triangles, Arrows, Dots, and Plus Signs??  This hands-on techniques class will focus on proper form while playing a martellato, plucking, or with mallets.  We’ll talk about and practice Mallet Rolls (both suspended and on the table), Pluck, Tap-Pluck, Pluck-Lift, Thumb Damp, Hand Damp, Martellato, Mart-Lift, Hand Mart, and Ring-Touch.  We’ll play some practice drills and some snippets of real music where these techniques come into play.

103  Weaving 101                2.1, 3.2, 3.6       Larry Berdensey

Have you ever wanted to become a weaving maniac?  This class will begin with a review of basic weaving skills and move towards executing proper technique in order to become successful at weaving handbells. Topics will include the shoulder and table damp, the one bell change, and the center bell pass, all prerequisites in becoming a successful weaver. Participants will be able to weave a simple melody by the end of class.Be sure to bring a binder, your gloves, and your dancing shoes.

104   Weaving at the Speed of Sound        2.3, 2.6, 3.4       Dan Moore

This class is for ringers who have mastered basic weaving skills.  Participants will be guided through three, four, five (and more) bell weaving at increasing speeds.  This is not for the faint of heart! The session will emphasize body movement, bell placement, hand speed, dynamics, and weaving four-in-hand through a series of fast and fun-filled exercises.  Wear sneakers!

105  Advanced Treble Techniques        2.1, 2.4, 3.2        Diane Burke

How can I get more of these bells in my hands and still make it sound musical? Come learn the basics of 4-in-hand and Shelly ringing: WHY we do it, WHEN we do it, and most importantly, HOW we do it!  This workshop is for ringers who generally ring C6 and higher, but is open to anyone who wants to add this helpful skill to their handbell repertoire.  You can DO this!!

106  Jumpstarting the Battery            2.1, 3.2       Kim Whitehead

Ring strong with aural and visual factors beneficial to the ringer and the listener.  Explore ringing skills such as multiple bell techniques, malleting tips, and damping options which will augment the battery ringer’s skill set, increase your ingenuity and leave bass and treble ringers in awe!

107   Bass Bell Techniques            2.5, 3.2, 3.6    Ed Henderson

This session will cover many of the unique aspects of bass bell ringing.  We will explore how to make bass ringing seamless and musical, without causing any physical harm to you or to the bells.  Topics covered will include bass bell runs, musicality, bell changes, techniques, and damping. This is a hands-on class.  Bring gloves.

108   How Do I Ring That Bell?            2.5, 3.2, 3.5    Debra LeBrun

Those nasty little accidentals in the music can cause such trouble for bell ringers! We will practice all the different ways there are to play extra bells: switching bells efficiently, weaving, Shelley and 4-in-hand, and other creative solutions. We will talk about the pros and cons of the various solutions in different situations. Please bring your festival music to class.

110  Handchimes: Basics to Challenges        3.4, 3.6       Holly Cerullo

This class will review the basics of ringing handchimes – how they differ from handbells, and which handbell techniques transfer well to handchimes and which should not be used. We will explore how handchimes can be adapted to physical and learning challenges, and  will share activities for using chimes with the hearing impaired, sight impaired, learning style differences, and physical challenges. If you have any experience ringing (bells or chimes) with any of these challenges, come and share your adaptations. Let’s get handchimes and bells in the hands of everyone! Gloves are not necessary for handchime ringing but bring them in case we include some bells with our activities.

111  Call Change Ringing            2.5, 3.5        Karen James

Change ringing is the art of ringing a series of bells in a number of changes of the original order. “Call Change Ringing” differs from the usual way in that a ringer calls out a change prior to its execution. We will discuss the history of change ringing, and experience the ‘Call Change Ringing”. Please bring gloves.

115  Bell Trees Part 1                2.1, 2.3        Forté:  Megan Reishus & Dillon Ekle

Always wanted to use bell trees in your music, but didn’t know where to start? This class is for you! In this hands-on class, we will go over the basics of how to set up a simple bell tree, what equipment will help you be successful, and how you can integrate bell trees into your music. This is a great way to start on your bell tree journey whether you are a ringer or a director!

116  Bell Trees Part 2                2.6, 3.6        Forté:  Megan Reishus & Dillon Ekle Looking for the next step in your bell tree journey? In this class, we will build from a basic knowledge of bell trees to add multiple strands (C5-C7 plus), using a bell tree keyboard layout that allows you to flexibly change between keys within the same song or concert (or just to have a familiar setup from piece to piece – even if you only ever play one piece in worship or concert – so you don’t need to start from scratch each time!), using more than two mallets at a time, and venturing into more complicated solo music. You will have plenty of time to try your hand at all of these components of bell tree ringing!

120  Fearless Sightreading            2.6, 3.2       Kristin Russo

Does the thought of sight reading a new piece of music give you hives? Learn tips and techniques to lessen your sight reading anxiety and give you greater confidence in rehearsals! Bring your gloves and an open mind.


See also Classes 115 Bell Trees Part 1, 116 Bell Trees Part 2, 602 Ask Forte Anything, and 603 Starting an Ensemble

201  Ready to Go Solo?                2.4, 2.6, 3.3       Debra LeBrun

Have you watched solo ringers and thought that you might like to give that a try? In this class we will explore the basics of solo ringing: equipment and skills needed, how to get started, and tips on playing off the table and 4-in-hand. No previous solo ringing experience is necessary, but participants should already be able to weave and ring 4-in-hand.

202T (2 sessions) Intermediate Solo Ringing    2.1 & 2.5  OR 3.5 & 3.6        Linda Krantz

So, you’ve mastered weaving and passing and are enjoying playing solos. What’s next? Traveling 4iH! The perfect melding of weaving and 4iH, this class will teach you the ins and outs of Nancy Hascall’s famed traveling four-in-hand style of solo ringing. We will also look at rehearsal techniques and performance issues, ensuring a confident performance. Be prepared to up your game!!! Required prerequisite: a working knowledge of weaving and the ring/knock (push) method of 4iH.

203T (2 sessions) Advanced Solo Ringing    3.1 & 3.2       Linda Krantz

This is it; you’re ready to take your solo ringing to the next level! This track will focus on tried and true methods of blocking an un-choreographed piece that will allow fluent and musical solo ringing, based on Nancy Hascall’s famed traveling 4iH techniques. We will be looking at rehearsal techniques, solo concert components, performance pressures and all those little things that result in a confident performance. Required prerequisite — a working (passing) knowledge of traveling 4iH.

204  Solo Coaching     2.1, 3.6  Debra LeBrun        3.1 Karen James   4.1 Linda Krantz

Come with a solo that you are working on (easy, medium, or difficult) and we will make you look and sound better!

211  Ensemble Ringing 1 : Off The Table        2.5           Forté Quartet

Weaving and displacement are important concepts for success in ensemble ringing in particular (although they can be quite useful in full-choir ringing as well). Forté will explain the reasoning behind various techniques and demonstrate their usage, and then it’s your turn to apply these ideas to your ringing! This class will be full of opportunities for hands-on practice.

212  Ensemble Ringing 2 : In-Hand        3.2           Forté Quartet

Sometimes, especially in ensemble ringing, you need more than two bells in each hand to play all of the notes on the page. In-hand techniques, including 4-in-hand, traveling 4-in-hand, and 6-in-hand, are invaluable tools to smooth out your ensemble ringing. Like the first class in this sequence, Forté will explain the reasoning behind various techniques and demonstrate their usage, and then it’s your turn to try them out!

213  Ensemble Ringing 3 : Beyond!        3.5            Forté Quartet

One of the most important components of successful ringing in any type of group is playing music that is well-suited to your ringers. In terms of ensemble ringing, there are several ways to get music – music published for ensemble where stem directions split the music into parts, music published for ensembles that are not split, and music for other instruments that can be adapted. In this class, members of Forte will show how we break down music and considerations that we take in adapting and assigning parts. Participants will also get a chance to try breaking down example passages and show/tell their peers how and why they made the decisions they did. This course will be hands on in terms of score study and work as well as in playing the broken down music to see if the breakdown worked!

215 Ensemble Coaching              3.1   Megan & Dillon    3.6 Luke & Tory       

Register your ensemble to meet with members of Forté.  Bring prepared music and/or questions and we’ll work things through or give suggestions for improvement.


301T  (3 Sessions) Bronze Festival Choir        2.1 & 3.1 & 3.5        Andy Wallace

Can’t get enough ringing?  This Bronze Festival Choir Track is a three-session track opportunity for advanced, experienced ringers who want more!  (If you are a Bronze level ringer, but registered at FC with a coppers or tins choir, you can still sign up for this ringing track.  You will miss one of your division rehearsals in order to attend all three sessions of this track.) The class will rehearse and perform a challenging level 5 to 6, five octave composition at the final mini-concert.  Attendance at all three sessions is important for musical continuity. This is a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and try a new ringing position. Music will be provided at the first session of this track.  Please bring gloves and a music binder.  A sheet music fee of $5 for this track will be charged at the time of registration.

302T  (3 Sessions) Coppers Plus Festival Choir    2.4 & 2.6 & 3.4        Kimberly Strepka

Want to stretch just a little outside your usual Coppers comfort zone?  This Coppers Plus Festival Choir Track is a three-session track opportunity for experienced ringers who can’t get enough ringing!  The class will rehearse and perform a challenging level 4, five octave composition at the final mini-concert. Attendance at all three sessions in important for musical continuity.  This is a great opportunity to try a new ringing position. Music will be provided at the first session of this track. Please bring gloves and a music binder. A sheet music fee of $5 for this track will be charged at the time of registration.

303T  (3 Sessions) Coppers Festival Choir    2.3 & 2.5 & 3.3        Kimberly Whitehead

For Coppers level ringers who want an additional ringing challenge, this Coppers Festival Choir Track is a three-session opportunity to rehearse and perform a challenging level 3 composition at the final mini-concert.  (Experienced ringers who are registered with a tins choir can sign up for this track, but you will miss one tins division rehearsal in order to attend all three sessions of this track.) Attendance at all three sessions in important for musical continuity.  This is a great opportunity to try a new ringing position. Music will be provided at the first session of this track. Please bring gloves and a music binder.  A sheet music fee of $5 for this track will be charged at the time of registration.

305  Bell Berserkers         2.4 Larry Berdensey            3.5, 4.1 Pete Larson

Can’t get enough? Come learn a new piece in a high-energy environment. In one class, you and your cohorts will learn a new piece of music (level 3 or higher), and get it as close to performance-ready perfection as you can, including all the musicality and energy you can muster. Engineered for animated adults and teens. Bring your gloves and a smile. Leave satisfied with a fun piece of music to keep. Each instructor will present a different piece of music. A sheet music fee of $5 for this course will be charged at the time of registration.


See also 932T Theory Certification Track and 933T Conducting Certification Track

401T  (2 Sessions)  Beginning Conducting        2.5 & 3.2            Joy Toll-Chandler

Called on to move from ringer to conductor? Not quite ready for your Certification Conducting class? This Introduction to Conducting class will help you learn about beat patterns, entrances and cut-offs, dynamics, score preparation – and, of course, how to use that baton! (we will use the hand/arm positions taught at the certification classes)

402T  (3 Sessions) Advanced Conducting    2.1 & 2.5 & 3.5      Karen Leonard

A conductor is a communicator of music who enables the performers to express the composer’s intentions. We must bring the music to life from the printed page. This is a three-session track designed for directors or ringers with some previous conducting experience. We will explore some ideas about how to communicate through gesture, technique, and teaching. Bring a baton if you use one (one will be available to borrow if you want to experiment), gloves for ringing, and a smile! 😉

403-405 HELPING RINGERS GROW – at every rehearsal!       Karen Leonard

What things do I want my ringers to learn to make rehearsals go more smoothly and to make my life easier? Our goal as handbell ringers and directors should be to become handbell musicians. How can we use each rehearsal to advance that goal? This is a three session class (see below) where we will examine 1. Music Literacy, 2. Score Study, and 3. Group Dynamics. Come to one, two, or all three sessions and get some ideas on how to empower yourself – whether a ringer or director – to be a better handbell musician!

403   Helping Ringers Grow Part 1 – Music Literacy    2.3      Karen Leonard

Music Literacy — notation, marking music, counting, dynamics, bell technique symbols, etc.

404  Helping Ringers Grow Part 2 – Score Study        2.6, 3.1    Karen Leonard

Score Study for Ringers and Directors – What can ringers do on their own with some guidance to help the process and grow as a musician at the same time.

405  Helping Ringers Grow Part 3 – Group Dynamics    3.2        Karen Leonard

Group Dynamics – playing together, letting mistakes go, keeping your place, playing music – not just notes

406  Observing Massed Rehearsal Styles and Techniques      2.1, 2.2        Dan Moore

This forum is an opportunity for directors to learn by observation.  A guided observation period will be followed by a discussion of our massed directors’ rehearsal techniques and style, rehearsal pace, verbal and non-verbal (conducting gestures) instructions. Bring your music and a pencil.   (2.1 Moklebust – Coppers;  2.2 McChesney – Massed)

409  Introduction to Music Theory        2.6, 3.5       Jane Nolan

Other than playing the notes on the page, what do you know about the music in front of you? Have you ever considered how much more musical your experience could be if you understood a little more about music in general? Give me an hour and I promise you a “painless” increased understanding of music theory as it pertains to your ringing experience. Please bring your binder of Festival music and gloves.

410  Rhythm in a Flash                2.1, 2.4, 2.6, 3.5      Holly Cerullo

This is a series of flash card rhythm learning games. Using several, one measure flash cards, we will play several different games. We will use clapping, body movements, and ringing to indicate each rhythm. The rhythms range from simple, level one, to challenging, level 4 and the games are varied from simple clapping to group cooperation. This is a fun way to practice note reading, rhythm, and working together. All  you need is a pair of gloves.

411   Complex Rhythm and Time        2.4, 3.2, 3.5           Lauren Larson

This class is a deep dive into some more complicated rhythms and time signatures. We’ll  step away from the bells and focus on the beat with claps and taps. Example include two on three rhythm, 7/8 time, and that pesky five notes in a beat. Bring your own example of a rhythmic struggle, and we’ll work it out together.

415  Composing Master Class            2.5                        Cathy Moklebust

This session is a unique opportunity for composers to hear their compositions played on handbells, and for ringers to sight-read unpublished music in the presence of the composer!  Composer Cathy Moklebust will provide her critique of the compositions and give advice about the process of composing for handbells. When you register for this class, please indicate if you are a composer bringing a composition to be rung or participating only as a ringer; ringers are welcome!

420  Presentation                 3.1, 3,4             Luke Nabeta & Tory Marting

Handbells are a distinctly visual instrument, enthralling audiences through both sound and sight.  Directors and ringers are encouraged to come learn how to broaden the appeal of their performances through applying a new lens of visual unity to their ringing.  Whether you’ve been in bells for one year or fifty, you will hear new, straightforward ideas on how to help your audience connect with your music on a new level as you turn your songs into works of art.

430  Ringing Blind                        2.4,  2.6     Vera Dumova

The class is intended for sighted teachers to understand the process of teaching blind/visually impaired handbell ringers. Beginning with the anatomy of a bell, the class will cover  basic concepts such as proper grip, ringing and damping. While practicing techniques, participants will focus on different rhythmic patterns using alternate hands. Based on the number of participants, short melodies/exercises will be played in small group settings.

431  Marking Your Music            2.4, 3.5          Carlene Ruesenberg

Have you ever forgotten to pick up a bell in time for a bell change?  Have you ever put a marking on your music that didn’t make sense to you at the next rehearsal?  Then this class is for you! We’ll explore consistent and concise ways to mark your music that are so that you can easily remember what they mean from rehearsal to rehearsal.  Then, you can go beyond the notes and make music.

432  Managing Performance Anxiety        2.5, 3.5                   Diane Burke

“Whether you think you can or you can’t … you’re right!”  You know the feeling – first you miss a note, then you begin to doubt yourself, then you make a mistake, and suddenly the whole piece is falling apart and you can’t wait for it to be over!  Let’s explore some ways to prepare differently, recover with confidence, and move on to a strong finish so you can actually ENJOY your performance, and maybe even help those around you to do the same.

433  Playing the Truth & Living the Music    3.3, 3.6             Meredith Gaines

Whether you stand in front or behind a handbell table, enhancing musicianship is a goal for everyone! Taking techniques used in Stanislavski theatrical training, come discover nuances and activities to include in your preparations and rehearsal process that will bring a new level of artistry to everyone. Every musician can benefit from the process of growing performance techniques through rehearsal, physical means of expression, and putting it all together!

434  Once Upon A Time: The Art of Musical Storytelling        2.5, 3.1         Meredith Gaines

Much has been written about the efficacy of storytelling in our world. Our music benefits from storytelling, whether there is accompanying text or not, as we transport our listeners to another place using story. Join us as we explore a simple step by step process of incorporating storytelling into all of your music … and live happily ever after!

435  The Balancing Act                2.4, 2.6       Meredith Gaines

Combining the skills of concentration with the skills of relaxation can be a crazy balancing act! Join us to learn some techniques used by actors on the stage to hone their concentration while staying relaxed and away from the dreaded ‘performance nerves.’

436  Creative Uses of Bells in Worship        3.3, 3.5         Bridget Scarlatto

Looking to expand your use of handbells beyond a monthly anthem? Would you like to explore creative and innovative ways to incorporate handbells into a worship service? This class will explore several ways of getting your bells seen and heard more often in worship, including options for children, creative programming, and bell descants for hymns. Participants are asked to bring a binder to hold their music.

437  Processionals                2.3, 3.4        Karen James

Do you always need to be standing behind the tables? Short patterns that repeat and join other layers of patterns develop into beautiful harmonic levels of sound that can be played anywhere. Experience the freedom of ringing in an open space! In this class we will explore playing, creating, teaching processionals, and the NEW RAGE …. Bell Sticks!  From simple to complex, we’ll discover various ways to get ringers to the table, including how to create a “surround sound.”  Please bring gloves to class.

450  Visit and Play Carillon at Simsbury UMC      1.1, 1.2        Bridget Scarlato

This is your opportunity to climb the tower (steep, narrow stairs) to see the 55 bell carillon at Simsbury United Methodist Church in Simsbury, CT.  You will learn about the history of the carillon, technique for playing the bells, and change ringing. You will then have a chance to ring first the practice carillon and then the real one.  You need to provide your own transportation to the church which is about 20 minutes from University of Hartford campus.


501  Music for Advent/Christmas  Levels 2-3 (2 and 3 oct)    2.1        Harriet Forman

This session features seasonal music by noted composers and arrangers and is accessible for smaller choirs. Some selections are playable on hand chimes alone.

502   Music for Lent/Easter  All Levels (2 – 5 oct)         2.3    Ed Henderson

The play list for this session includes several classic settings. and many new renditions of Lenten/Easter music by leading composers. Several  selections include optional handchimes, keyboard, chorus, and other instrumentation.

503  New Compositions  All Levels (3 – 5/6 oct)             2.4, 3.4      Colin Nagle

Explore exciting new handbell compositions and arrangements published within the last 15 months. This session includes a broad spectrum of music suitable for church or concert use. (The same packet of music will be used for both sessions.)

504  Processionals   All Levels (3-5 oct)                2.5    Sue Lee

This session is presented as a companion session to Karen James’ class 437 Processionals & Bell Trees and will  include both collections and individual processionals..

506   Music for Advent/Christmas Levels 3-5  (3-6 oct)        3.1    Debra Lebrun

This session includes seasonal music for intermediate and advanced handbell choirs. Several selections include optional hand chimes, synthesizer and/or percussion.

507   Pop, Rock, Show Tunes    All levels (3-5 oct)        3.2    Gina Williams

From Broadway to Beatles and everything in between, there will be something to jazz up your Pops concert. Many selections include optional rhythm sections, synthesizer, and electric bass.

508  Hymn Tunes for Handbells  All Levels (3-5 oct)         2.6, 3.3  David Warfield  

This session will present musical and historical perspective for hymn tune arrangements.  The session may also address the harmonic/melodic structure  of the hymns and how they are incorporated into the arrangement. (The same packet of music will be used for both sessions.)

510 Music by Moklebust  All Levels                3.5    Cathy Moklebust

Join noted composer/arranger/conductor to read through many of her most recent publications.

511  Ringing Across Cultures  Level 1-3 (2 – 5 oct)        3.6        Diane Burke

Highlighting the music of different countries and cultures, and music of social impact, this session will include a variety of Level 1-3  (2-3 octave / 3-5 octave) pieces Expand the global diversity of your concert or worship experience by adding some of these titles to your repertoire.


601  Limericks, Lessons, Life in Handbells    2.5, 3.5        Kevin McChesney

Entertaining limericks and lessons on handbells, lessons that are generally not found or only taught in passing in other classes and events. A fun collection of ideas for a strong program, including: dealing with mistakes, what writers would love for you to know about their music but may never have told you, nine techniques that GUARANTEE a ringer can master their part, to count or not to count, and many more facets of technique, musicianship, and spirit that you may never have thought of before!

602  Ask Forté Anything Round Table        4.1, 4.2        Forté Quartet

“Ask Forté Anything: Your chance to ask questions, our chance to make up answers!” This casual round-table discussion with the Forté Handbell Quartet is the perfect environment for you to throw out your questions about any bell topic under the sun, as well as to sit back and enjoy conversation aimed to inspire you to Rethink Possible! We are always learning more about this great instrument of ours, so we encourage you to come join your fellow ringers with a desire to both share your experience and to learn from the experience of others!

603  Starting an Ensemble            2.3, 2.6         Luke Nabeta & Tory Marting

Perhaps you and some friends are ready to explore a new level of bell ringing. Maybe you aren’t able to find a full thirteen people with an interest in forming a new group! Regardless of circumstance, you’ve found yourself intrigued by the idea of ensemble ringing, and we’d love to send you in the right direction! We’ll be covering every aspect of the topic, from music choices, assignments and planning, to the unique requirements from ringers in areas such as adapting/advancing skills, working as a unified group, and learning to work through common difficulties unique to ensemble.

604  Young Adults in Handbell Ringing        2.4        Kristen Russo & Rachel Cerullo

Handbells are beloved from ages 8 to 80! But why does it seem that Area 1 events are missing attendees in that infamous 18-24 demographic? This class is a round table discussion open to anyone looking to speak/discuss/brainstorm about how to include more young adults in handbell ringing. Are you a college student who finds it hard to maintain a presence in Area 1? Do you have an interest in or experience with college handbell ensembles? Do you have ideas about how to involve more young ringers in Area 1? Bring your anecdotes, ideas, and personal experiences.   Note: you can eat lunch and attend this Round Table at the same time.

605  Community Choir Round Table                 3.4          Ed Henderson

No need to reinvent the wheel. Come learn from those that have gone before you. Want to start a new choir? Want to solve a particular problem within your choir? Want to take your choir in a new direction? Want to apply for non-profit status? Want to incorporate? Want to get insurance? What are the most effective types of advertising? We have many very successful Community Choirs in Area 1 so come and learn from them.  Note: you can eat lunch and attend this Round Table at the same time.

606   Handbell History/Lore             2.5, 3.3         Jean Degan

Why is Area 1 called “Area 1”? Because it all began right here in New England! As a participant in this Festival/Conference, you are a part of handbell history. Learn about the first festivals, the New England Guild, the evolution to AGEHR and Handbell Musicians of America, and the vision of the handbell pioneers who got us to this place in our history. There’s a fascinating tale behind each picture in the Area 1 archives.

607  Producing a Successful Handbell Recording                   2.5      Dan Moore

What’s the value of an extra set of eyes and ears?  The greatest conductors and performers in the world rely on  trusted and qualified producers to help them through a recording process. Each genre of music has producers who specialize in ensembles (large and small) or soloists – from popular to classical- and often, recording handbells can be particularly tricky. This session will outline the role of a producer and his/her relationship with the conductor and the ensemble from before the first ‘take’, to final product. Even if you have never contemplated recording your handbell choir, this session will prove to be very helpful.


701  Introduction to African Drumming         2.1, 3.1, 3.5            Kim Visbaras

Take a break from standing at the bell tables to sit and learn basic components of an African drum rhythm!  A brief cultural history and basic introduction of drum strokes will lead to learning, in a single session, some of the basic rhythms of an African dance.  There will be djembes, congas and tubanos available, but if you have access to an African drum, please bring it to Festival.  This class will not perform in any mini-concert.

702T (3 Sessions)  African Drumming Track (Performance)     2.5 & 3.2 & 3.6           Kim Visbaras

This energetic 3 track session will have you movin’ and groovin’ to the multi-layers of a West African celebratory rhythm, which will involve djembes, congas, tubanos, and a host of accompanying percussion instruments (including a few new ones!).  After the third class, you will be asked to perform in the final Saturday mini-concert, which is always a blast!  No need for gloves or music, but bring your own drum if you own one or can borrow one.   There will be a limited number of drums available for this track.  Lets Rock!!!!

705 Line Dancing                  3.2, 3.3, 3.5, 3.6     Christine Chito

Put down your bells and come learn basic Line Dancing steps and new dances from a master teacher and world champion (2019 Country Couples Champion).  Fun for all ages and abilities. Please wear leather soled shoes, or dance in stocking feet.

706    Barbershop-style a cappella Singing      2.4, 2.6, 3.3         Bill Degan  

Open to women and men, this workshop will involve singing!  We will start by learning some “tags.” or the fun endings of songs.  Then, we can try whole songs.  Many hymns have been arranged, so next we’ll try one of these which you may find useful at church!  If the group would like to try a barbershop classic tune, we’ll have that option, too, depending on time.


801   Malmark Maintenance             3.1, 3.2              Dan Moore

You’ll be surprised by how quick and easy it is (five easy steps) to take excellent care of your Malmark handbells! From simple adjustments to more complex parts replacement, Malmark instruments are very ‘user friendly’ and you can keep your Malmark handbells and Choirchimes® working smoothly for years! Bring your tools (if you have them) and problem handbells or Choirchimes® with you to class. Choirchime® and handbell maintenance guide will be available for all participants.

802   Schulmerich Maintenance         2.5, 3.2           Sue Chamberlin

Get to know your instrument! This hands-on class will be especially useful for those who are the designated “fixers” or equipment managers of their ensembles. During this class you will disassemble, and then properly reassemble a Schulmerich handbell so you will know the parts and their function. Learn how to make adjustments and keep your bells and chimes in smooth, effortless working order. Tips and tricks on disassembly for cleaning or for replacement of broken parts will be provided. Bring a bell (G4-B5 range) and your tool kit.  You may also bring other problem bells and Melody Chimes to class and we’ll work on them.


The Handbell Musicians of America Certification has been developed as a comprehensive curriculum program designed to address all levels of training and experience with handbell and handchime instruments. For more information on the Certification program go to: http://certification.handbellmusicians.org/   Level 1 Certification consists of four courses:  Handbell History, Handbell Techniques 1, Music Theory 1, and Conducting 1.  Handbell History can be completed on-line, but you might find 606 Handbell History/Lore and 111 Call Change Ringing helpful in preparing for the Handbell History online test.  The other three courses can all be taken at Festival/Conference 2019.

931T  (3 Sessions) Certification: Handbell Techniques Level I  2.6 & 3.1 & 3.5 Sue Chamberlin

Handbell Techniques is one of the courses required for Certification. It examines basic handbell and handchime ringing and damping techniques, with an emphasis on ergonomic principles and sound production. More details about this specific class may be found at http://certification.handbellmusicians.org/handbell-techniques/

The instruction for this class is offered during Sessions (a) and (b) of this three-session track. You do not have to be enrolled in the Certification program to take the class, but you DO have to be enrolled BEFORE taking the class if you want it to count towards Certification. If you are taking the class for Certification, you will arrange for a 15-minute evaluation time with the instructor to be held during the third session, Session (c), of this track course. If you have any questions about this class or about Certification, you may contact the instructor, Sue Chamberlin at suecham1585@hotmail.com

932T (4 Sessions)  Certification: Music Theory Level 1    2.1 & 2.5 & 3.2 & 4.1  Carlene Ruesenberg

Music theory is one of the courses required for certification. Please go to the website to familiarize yourself with all of the topics covered, as well as read over the course outline and syllabus. There will be a written test, ear-training test, and an individual rhythm test.. http://certification.handbellmusicians.org/music-theory/.

You do not have to be enrolled in the Certification program to take the class, but you DO have to be enrolled BEFORE taking the class if you want it to count towards Certification. If you are interested in testing out of Theory Level 1, you can sign up for only session 4.1 and take the test.  If you have any questions about this class or about Certification, you may contact the instructor, Carlene Ruesenberg at Chair.area1@handbellmusicians.org

933T (4 Sessions)  Certification: Conducting Level 1     2.3 &3.4 & 3.6 & 4.2      Joy Toll-Chandler

Conducting is one of the courses required for certification. Conducting 1 reviews the basics (please note that this is not an introduction to conducting class) – posture, stance, use of a baton and non-conducting hand gestures, all in common meters. Additional topics include critical listening, score study, and memorization. More details about this specific class may be found at http://certification.handbellmusicians.org/conducting/.

Please note that there are two required scores to bring- as well as a baton. There is also a video submission requirement – deadline is May 24.  Please check the above link for details on both.

The instruction for this class is offered during the first 3 sessions of this four session track. You do not have to be enrolled in the Certification program to take the class, but you DO have to be enrolled BEFORE taking the class if you want it to count towards Certification. If you are taking the class for Certification, you will arrange for a 10-minute evaluation time with the instructor to be held during the fourth session 4.2 of this track course. If you have any questions about this class or about Certification, you may contact the instructor, Joy Toll-Chandler at joytoll@hotmail.com