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   The Twelfth Tone
Area 12 Newsletter                                                               Dec e mber 2018

In This Issue
From the Chair
Southern Nevada
LA Metro
San Francisco Bay Area
Southern California
Composition Contest
Central California
Northern Nevada
Northern California
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2018 Publishing Year

The Twelfth Tone is published 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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Message from the Chair -
Scott Leggett

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas seems like it is just arriving too fast with so much to do, so much music to learn and perform, and never enough time to do everything we planned in our minds to accomplish. But instead of focusing on the doing, we need to turn around and focus on all the giving we do this time of year, and the gift of music is one of humanity's most unique and precious gifts.

I think about the giving of music and how it was exemplified at the recent memorial service for Mel Tully. He was beloved by so many and, at his service, with the overflowing attendance of loved ones and friends, a very special handbell offering was given by ringers from all over Area 12,  many our board members and me included. Barb Walsh graciously offered to pull together and direct this memorial choir and with her vision of what the musical offering should be in its presentation and emotion, she inspired all of us to play with such a focused intensity and deep feeling that the music leapt off the page and filled that sanctuary with overwhelming comfort and joy. As I finished playing and started to walk back to our pew, I found myself gasping for air as I think I held my breath for most of the performance as every note was so deliberate with focus, meaning, and emotion, I couldn't do anything else, not even breathe.

I thank Barb Walsh for her gift to the family of Mel Tully and I wish for all of you to remember the gift of music you have to offer the world and know that it is a treasure to be shared.

'Til next time,

Scott Leggett
Communiqué - Barbara Meinke
Do You Hear What I Hear?

The Bells of Hope, at Hope Lutheran Church, my church, in Temecula, CA, just yesterday, played a processional and one piece to open a community presentation of Handel's Messiah. This is a repeat invitation for us and a great opportunity to minister in the community. Like most live productions, it had its "behind the scenes" issues!

The day before, one of my ringers had to back out. We all know that story. I made a few calls to find a sub, but there are only a couple who live near enough and have the skills to pinch hit on such short notice, and it's cold and flu season, and holiday activities abound already, so none were available. I had to ring the part myself. 

Most of us perform at tables in some kind of bent or curved configuration. We hear and see each other better that way! But this event was going to fill the church and we had to play along the side aisle, in a straight line, all 30 feet of tables with five octaves of bells and chimes. We were going to have to play that processional without a director (me) to keep it all together. We were going to have to listen like we have not listened before!

Does any of this sound familiar?

Our performance went well. Well enough, anyway. What I didn't expect was the audience clapping earnestly before we played the last two chords of the lovely jazz ending of Joel Raney's We Gather Together They had heard far more than we thought we had played. 

This is a gift. This is part of what handbells is all about. I hope your holiday offerings will infuse peace and joy into your world, and transcend the pitches and rhythms on the page and the limitations of our minds and bodies. May your audiences hear what you mean, what you feel, what God wants them to hear!

Holiday blessings,

Barbara Meinke
Communications Director/The Twelfth Tone
Southern Nevada - Alison Pruett

The 24th Las Vegas
clinician - Michael Glasgow
January 11 - 12, 2019
Boulder City Recreation Center
Details and registration packages are available at  www.harmonyhandbells.com/festival

This event is endorsed by Handbell Musicians of America

Alison Pruett
For information on Southern Nevada's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here .

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Los Angeles Metro - Sharon Guilliams

Happy Holidays, LA Metro Region!

As I write this article, my group has just completed our first performance of the season. We had a massed ring event and rang at our local outlet mall. The concert was free to the public with the idea to spread some holiday cheer. More than 20 folks representing seven different churches and multiple community handbell choirs came together. While I always stress about it (is everyone going to show up and will it work out?), it always ends up being great, both for the audience and for me. It puts me in the right frame of mind to make it through Christmas. I am so thankful for the handbell folks in my life and that I found handbells, or handbells found me!

As I have begun my tenure as the LA Metro coordinator, it has caused me to dig a bit deeper into what Handbell Musicians of America has to offer. In the coming months, I will share with you a few "Did You Know?" items. So for December:

  • Did you know you can have your handbell choir's website listed on the HMA website? I did not, and added South County Community Handbell Choirs to the list. Please consider adding yours. Right now there are only 6 choirs listed in the LA Metro Region.
  • Did you know your events can be published on the HMA Area 12 website? I added my three November and December events in less than ten minutes. Please add your events. Right now it looks like my choir is the only active choir in the Region, and I know that is not true.    
You may ask, "Why should I do this?"  The more exposure your group has, the more opportunities may come your way and/or the more people you can reach.

Being the engineer I am, we now have the Region's membership mapped onto Google Maps. This makes it easy to see where everyone is. It is actually sorta fun! One of the things I would like to do is add a layer to this map that shows those churches/organizations that have bell choirs but are not members of HMA and then add a layer of schools that have handbell choirs but are not a part of HMA. I know of at least five churches and three schools that have bell programs in my area. So here is the challenge for LA Metro HMA members. The first two people that send me a legitimate listing of five churches and/or schools that have bell programs that are not HMA members will receive a prize. The name of the church or school and the director's name is required. I'll report back on who the winners are next month. And even if you don't know five, any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated.

We are still working on a place to have the LA Metro Spring Ring, so if you have any ideas, please contact me. And as always, if there is anything I can do to help you, please let me know.
Sharon Guilliams
For information on LA Metro's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here.
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San Fransisco Bay Area - Kendra Scott

Dear Bay Area,

The repertoire is posted on the Bay Area Spring Ring website! Registration will be available soon! 

Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, 2019


Nick Hanson

This event is endorsed by Handbell Musicians of America

Check out the events calendar for holiday concerts in your area!

Happy ringing!

Kendra Scott

For information on San Francisco  Bay Area's concerts, events,  and other opportunities,  click here .

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Southern California - Michèle Sharik

Hi there, SoCal!

I am excited about the upcoming 2019 SoCal Spring Ring -  this year's event is jam-packed with great stuff! In addition to our regular massed ringing with Alex Guebert, he'll also be directing Bronze Vision for those ringers who want to play more challenging music. PLUS, for the first time this year, we'll have a Beginner's Track directed by Elizabeth Mays for those groups and individuals who want to focus more on skill-building while still participating in some of the massed ringing. We'll also offer a class in Change Ringing by SoCal's own Jane Booth, leader of the Encinitas Handbell Change Ringers (who will also demo their awesome skills at the event's public concert). See the registration paperwork for all the details.

May 17-18
Alex Guebert and Elizabeth Mays

This event is sponsored by Handbell Musicians of America

Meanwhile, it's the holiday season and I know many of you are planning to play in the community and in your church, so please submit online or send that information to me for inclusion on the Area 12 calendar. Many people travel during the holidays and may be visiting other churches for Advent or Christmas Eve services. Let's help them find YOU so they can enjoy the holiday just a bit more.

As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments or need help with anything handbell-related. I'm here for YOU!

My best,

Michèle Sharik
For information on Southern California's concerts,  events,
and other opportunities,  click here .  
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Composition Contest
The Area 12 Composition Contest
has returned!  

The Handbell Musicians of America Area 12 Composition Contest strives to expand the handbell repertoire with interesting and accessible compositions, while providing a tool for learning and enjoyment at the Area's biennial conference. T he winning composition will be performed at Red, White, and Bells!

Summary of the Rules
  • Composition Contest applicants need not be a member of Handbell Musicians of America.
  • Only one composition will be chosen.
  • Composition may be for Division A, B, C, or Combined Massed Choir.
  • Compositions may or may not add additional secondary instruments.
  • The winning Composition Contest entry shall be considered for publication.
  • If the adjudication panel deems no piece acceptable, no prize shall be awarded.
  • All compositions must be received no later than February 28, 2019.
We invite interested composers to visit the Composition Contest page on our website for full details. 

Have questions?
Central California - Christine Anderson

So... here's a story to entertain you while taking a break from your normal programming. I was sitting on a plane, minding my own business, and pulled out my 
Overtones to read. The lady sitting next to me glanced over and pulled out her own  Overtones  and we both burst out laughing! What were the odds? It made that flight a lot more enjoyable!

Please check the Area 12 calendar for upcoming concerts and remember: some events may be closer to you than you think, so check all the area posts.

Not much to report in CenCal. Are y'all keeping your events a secret?

Happy Ringing!

Christine Anderson

For information on Central California's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here .
Northern Nevada - Barb Walsh

On Score Preparation
(part 3)

In addition to learning how to learn, being in Kindergarten meant learning how to play well with others. Just like being in a handbell ensemble, right? Score preparation can help us be better ensemble musicians, too.
Of course, one of the first things we do (or should do!) when looking at a new piece of music is to check the key signature and mark all the bell changes before we actually need the bell. Playing the right note at the right time is very important, but knowing how your notes function within the chord will determine how you ring it. Previously, we discussed how the melody and countermelodies need to be brought out, but often the root of the chord, especially in the bass, will need to be louder to help balance the ensemble sound. We often shyly play those accidentals because we're afraid they'll be wrong, but usually those notes are important harmonically and add a lot of interest and should be played louder. Notes that outline a scale or help identify if a piece is major or minor should also be brought out.
The harmonic texture is important, too. If there are block chords, it can be a challenge to play them together. Yes, you should watch the conductor, but you should also be aware of the ringers who are playing the chords with you and strike your bell the same time they do. Also, if your bell is physically lower, say behind the folder, then your bell won't be heard if everyone else is ringing above the folder. If the texture is arpeggios, then you'll need to be even more aware of the subdivision of the beat. That's not just for those playing the eighth note arpeggios, but also for those playing the quarter notes - if you're not thinking and listening to those eighth notes, those quarter notes tend to rush and the downbeats are no longer together.
Speaking of downbeats, in addition to making sure you can play those difficult rhythms, don't forget to mark in the downbeats where the chords most often line up. Even doing it with eighth note arpeggios may help you to process faster when you play so that you can look up and play as an ensemble, which of course is the whole point!
Next time, we'll talk about who actually sets the tempo. You may think it's the conductor, but...
Barbara Walsh
For information on Northern Nevada's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here
Hawaii - Karen Carlisle
Karen Carlisle

Mele Kalikimaka!

As we all gear up into the holiday season of concerts and playing in worship, I call this the crazy busy season. I am thankful for what I have going into the season. This year I am thinking of those that are not able to be with family. I work in a residential facility that currently has six adolescent boys who are not able to go home for the holidays. They always do a Christmas performance for their families, probation officers, state workers, and staff. They go all out. This year we have added handbells to their performance! I have been working with them for about five weeks. It is such a great feeling and they are loving it so much! They are excited each week and have the tables set up before I even arrive. We have about one more week and they have four pieces almost ready to share. They can't wait to show their families. I love seeing what handbells can do for our youth: the growing confidence, satisfaction and positivity from learning a new skill. They are so excited, I have had to tighten assembly screws each week! If you ever work with kids with Conduct Disorder, let's just say it's really loud! After going home, I do relish the quiet! I am really proud of them.

Mele Mai Paki Lima is scheduled do a concert for the boy's small audience, but that is what we are all about. What a joy that handbells bring during the season and all year long. 

Karen Carlisle

For information on Hawaii's concerts, events,
and other opportunities,  click here .
Northern California - Sandi Walker-Tansley

Sandi Walker-Tansley

For information on Northern California's concerts, events,  and other opportunities,  click here !