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Looking for a Handbell Choir to Perform for Your Special Occasion or Function?
Many of our choirs would be happy to add a special touch to your next occasion or function. Tell us about your event and we will put you in touch with a choir near you.

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Descriptions

Workshops

General Interest Workshops

Directors’ Workshop – open to Directors and Assistant Directors

Tin Level

Copper A

Copper B

Bronze

General Interest Workshops

These are non-ringing classes. They are open to all registrants.

Boomwhackers
Boomwhackers are colourful plastic tubes, each tuned to different notes of a scale. They are played as percussion instruments, and together, they make music – a little like bells but way simpler. Playing boomwhackers develops your sense of rhythm and you get to bang things, which is a lot of fun. To see boomwhackers in action, Google: Harvard boomwhackers Pink Panther (2)
Handbell and Handchime Maintenance – with Barbara Peaker
Get a better understanding of the mechanics behind handbells and handchimes and learn what to do when things go wrong. This workshop will cover basic maintenance and repair, cleaning, and polishing, and tips on making adjustments to keep your bells and handchimes in top ringing condition. Participants are invited to bring a sick or unhappy bell that can be worked on. Both Malmark and Schulmerich bells are welcome.
Line Dancing – Find Your Inner Country
New this year! Line dancing and bell ringing are a lot a like – they both involve music, coordination, choreography, and a good sense of rhythm. For those who want to move around after all that standing on the ringing floor or just want to try something different, come and take an hour of line dancing and find your inner country. Suitable for beginners. Participants should wear comfortable shoes.
Simple Self Defense – with Naomi Kelley
Everyone should know a few simple moves of self-defence. Even if you never need them, the knowledge that you are not helpless may give you confidence in a threatening situation. If you can point your finger or stomp your foot and wave hello you can learn these simple techniques. Learn how and where to strike for best effect. (It’s not where you think!).
Yoga
Take a break from the excitement and activity of Festival and slip into an oasis of tranquility. Increase strength, flexibility, and stability with a session of gentle yoga. Focus on the breath and reconnect your body, mind and spirit. Leave feeling calm, centred, and re-energized. Suitable for beginners. Participants should dress comfortably and bring water and a yoga mat.

 Of Interest to Directors, but Open to All:

Conducting for Amateur Musicians
This class is of special interest to amateur bell choir directors who want to communicate more effectively with their ringers. You will learn about clarity in basic conducting patterns, how to initiate and finish cleanly, techniques for conducting fermata, and gestures for signalling changes in tempo and dynamics.
Towards Harmony: Spirituality and Handbell Choirs – with Debbie Fingas
Handbell ringers are special people – dedicated and passionate. Is that because of who they are or is there something about ringing in a group that fosters commitment and caring? Within the church, handbell choirs contribute to the musical life of the congregation and become a vehicle for ministry. This workshop explores how ringing connects people to one another and promotes a deeper spirituality. Choir directors and Ministers of Music will find this topic of special interest. The class is open to all.

Directors’ Workshop

Open to Directors and Assistant Directors

Directors’ Workshop – with Terry Head
This workshop is open to Choir Directors and Assistant Directors. Join Terry as he shares tips and insights on topics such as rehearsal techniques, score study, music interpretation, and choosing the right music for your choir. Terry’s extensive background in all things musical and handbells in particular will make this an interesting and informative session.

Tin Workshops

These are the workshops available to Tin-level ringers.

Beyond Basic Bell Techniques
This workshop is for new ringers interested in expanding their ringing skills. The session will include a review of the basic ringing technique, followed by an exploration of the more common ringing techniques such as thumb damp, echo, martellato, and tower swing, etc. Participants will be able to practice the techniques and will learn the musical symbol for each.
Getting Started with a New Piece of Music
Starting a new piece of music is like heading out on a road trip. This workshop will give you the skills to decode the road map of what lies ahead. Where are the starts and stops? Where are the bumps? What about speed traps? How can you prepare yourself and what do you need to take with you?
It’s About Chime: Introduction to Handchimes
Handchimes have a unique and captivating sound that is much different from handbells. This workshop will introduce new ringers to handchimes and demonstrate proper technique for ringing and handling these often under-valued instruments.
Music Reading for Beginners
This class is for ringers with little or no formal music training. Learn the difference between key signatures and time signatures and discover how the lines, dots, and squiggles on the page are converted into music.
Rudiments of Rhythm for Beginners
Counting and rhythm are fundamental to bell ringing, but figuring out a rhythm is not always easy. This workshop will explore how to interpret the time signature and how to count simple and compound rhythms. Learn techniques for figuring out rhythms, and practice them by ringing some examples.

Copper A Workshops

These are the workshops available to Copper A-level ringers.

Getting Started with a New Piece of Music
Starting a new piece of music is like heading out on a road trip. This workshop will give you the skills to decode the road map of what lies ahead. Where are the starts and stops? Where are the bumps? What about speed traps? How can you prepare yourself and what do you need to take with you?
Chime After Chime
Hand chimes have a unique and captivating sound all their own. Their mellow tone adds colour and texture to music and provides an attractive contrast to the open sound of the handbell. Handchimes are not just skinny handbells and bell ringing techniques are not always appropriate for playing chimes. This workshop will describe what handchimes can and cannot do, demonstrate proper technique, and include suggestions on how to incorporate chimes into your handbell program.
Fringe Benefits: Ringers Who Can Weave
This introductory workshop will demonstrate how to make bell switches smoothly and quickly so you can ring accidentals with ease. Using one of five basic weaving patterns and their variations, you will learn how to move your body to avoid crossing hands, how to damp while weaving, and how to pass a bell to another ringer when navigating a difficult passage.
Introduction to Four-in-Hand
This workshop is for copper ringers who would like to try four-in-hand and Shelley ringing. Learn the basics of how to hold, ring, and damp your bells. It’s easier than it looks! So give it a try and take your ringing to the next level. Ringers are asked to bring any 4 bells from C6 up.
Mallet Mania
This practical workshop will cover the basics of how to grip mallets, which mallets to use, and where to strike the bell. You will learn how to mallet evenly and smoothly using single and multiple bells, how to transition back and forth between bells and mallets, and how to play suspended mallets with precision.
Mastering the Staccato – Short and Sweet
Welcome to the world of the short note. This session will explore how to execute the staccato note using various percussive techniques such as the pluck, martellato, ring touch, mart lift, thumb damp, mallet, and more. Learn how to play staccato notes on time, with precision, and with the right dynamic.
Music Reading for Beginners
This class is for ringers with little or no formal music training. Learn the difference between key signatures and time signatures and discover how the lines, dots, and squiggles on the page are converted into music.
Read and Ring
For the Copper A ringer who just wants to ring. Read and ring through a variety of Level 1+ to Level 2 music. Bell positions are not assigned and ringers should come prepared to ring whatever position is open.
Rhythmic Ensemble in Bell Choirs – Getting it Together
The bell choir has many moving parts and yet in performance the goal is to sound like a single instrument. This is accomplished through “rhythmic ensemble” or playing together precisely. Come and explore techniques that can help ringers achieve a cleaner more unified sound.
Sight Ringing
Learn tips and strategies that will enhance your ability to sight read comfortably. Then work on your sight ringing skills as you play through L1 to L1+ music. Bell positions are not assigned and ringers should come prepared to ring whatever position is open.
Syncopation: Getting Control of Your Stresses – with Ron Parker
Back by popular demand!! Music teacher extraordinaire, Ron Parker of Cobourg, will present his top-rated workshop on syncopation and rhythm. Syncopation is the musical rhythm in which stress is given to the off beat (weak beat) rather than the strong beat. In this workshop you will learn the keys to unlocking rhythmic challenges including triplets and syncopation. You don’t want to miss this fun and informative session.
What? Watch the Conductor?! – with J.-C. Coolen
We’re often told to “Watch the Conductor” but how do you do that and not lose your place in the music? What does all the hand waving mean anyway? Watching the conductor is a learned skill and you can master it with a few handy tips and a little practice. Discover exactly what a conductor’s hand gestures mean and how watching the conductor can help your bell choir make better music together. Massed rehearsal at Festival is an excellent opportunity to practice your newly acquired skills.

Copper B

Copper B ringers may choose:

Any three workshops from General Interest or regular Copper B-level workshops (below),

OR

The Performance Ringing Track – “X-treme Ringing – For Ringers Who Just Want to Ring.” This is a NEW three-session track for advanced Copper B ringers looking for a challenge. It replaces all other workshops.

The following are the regular workshops available to Copper B-level ringers:

Advanced Bell Techniques – a.k.a. The Deadly Combos
This session will look at what to do when the music calls for two different techniques at the same time, such as malleting with one hand and marting with the other, or ringing different rhythms with each hand, or switching quickly between bells, chimes, and mallets. You will practice different drills to build coordination, confidence, and problem-solving skills.
Chime After Chime
Handchimes have a unique and captivating sound all their own. Their mellow tone adds colour and texture to music and provides an attractive contrast to the open sound of the handbell. Handchimes are not just skinny handbells and bell ringing techniques are not always appropriate for playing chimes. This workshop will describe what handchimes can and cannot do, demonstrate proper technique, and include suggestions on how to incorporate chimes into your handbell program.
 Introduction to Four-in-Hand
This workshop is for copper ringers who would like to try four-in-hand and Shelley ringing. Learn the basics of how to hold, ring, and damp your bells. It’s easier than it looks! So give it a try and take your ringing to the next level. Ringers are asked to bring any 4 bells from C6 up.
Mallet Mania
This practical workshop will cover the basics of how to grip mallets, which mallets to use, and where to strike the bell. You will learn how to mallet evenly and smoothly using single and multiple bells, how to transition back and forth between bells and mallets, and how to play suspended mallets with precision. Advanced techniques will include suspended malleting with multiple bells, mallet rolls, and tips on maintaining a steady tempo in lengthy malleted passages.
Read and Ring
For the Copper B ringer who just wants to ring. Read and ring through a variety of Level 2+ to Level 3 music. Bell positions are not assigned and ringers should come prepared to ring whatever position is open.
Rhythmic Ensemble in Bell Choirs – Getting It Together
The bell choir has many moving parts and yet in performance the goal is to sound like a single instrument. This is accomplished through “rhythmic ensemble” or playing together precisely. Come and explore techniques that can help ringers achieve a cleaner more unified sound.
Ringing for Soloists and Small Ensembles: doing more with less – heather nicholson
Ringing as a soloist or in a small ensemble is different from regular ringing both physically and mentally. This class will explore strategies for bell placement, different ringing styles and modified damping techniques, and will offer tips on how to add body movement and choreography to create a dramatic presentation. Join heather nicholson, an accomplished soloist, for a hands-on session on this exciting form of ringing.
Sight Ringing
Learn tips and strategies to enhance your ability to sight read comfortably. Work on your sight ringing skills as you ring through L2 – L2+ music. Bell positions are not assigned and ringers should come prepared to ring whatever position is open.
Syncopation – Getting Control of Your Stresses – Ron Parker
Back by popular demand!! Music teacher extraordinaire, Ron Parker of Cobourg will present his top-rated workshop on syncopation and rhythm. Syncopation is the musical rhythm in which stress is given to the off beat (weak beat) rather than the strong beat. In this workshop you will learn the keys to unlocking rhythmic challenges including triplets and syncopation. You don’t want to miss this fun and informative session.
Dream Weaving – Don’t Get Weft Out
Make bell switches smoothly and quickly using one of five basic weaving patterns and their variations. Ring accidentals effortlessly and navigate difficult passages without dropping bells, crossing arms, or leaving notes out. Learn how to damp while weaving and how to pass a bell smoothly to another ringer when you need a helping hand.
What? Watch the Conductor?! – with J.-C. Coolen
We’re often told to “watch the conductor” but how do you do that and not lose your place in the music? What does all the hand waving mean anyway? Watching the conductor is a learned skill that you can master with a few handy tips and a little practice. Discover exactly what a conductor’s hand gestures mean and how watching the conductor can help your bell choir make better music together. Massed rehearsal at Festival is an excellent opportunity to practice your newly acquired skills.

Copper B Performance Ringing Track – Please read carefully

“X-treme Ringing – For Ringers Who Just Want to Ring”

This program is intended for advanced Copper B ringers who:

  • can consistently and confidently ring L3+ music
  • are comfortable with complex rhythms
  • can ring treble bells four-in-hand with ease
  • can perform a range of ringing techniques

Directed by Susan Carscadden-Mifsud, this program will provide an intense ringing experience for the serious ringer who enjoys learning difficult new music on a fast track.

Enrolment is limited to a maximum of thirteen ringers. Registration deadline is midnight, February 28, 2019.

Please list your top three preferred ringing positions.

  • Positions are available from C3 to C8, with octave doubling at the top (5-Octaves)
  • Every effort will be made to accommodate your preference but ringers should be prepared to ring adjacent to their preferred position.
  • You will be contacted by March 30, 2019 with your bell assignments.

NOTE: PARTICIPANTS MUST COMMIT TO ATTENDING ALL THREE SESSIONS, including the first session on Thursday, June 6, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (before first massed rehearsal).

Participants are expected to purchase the music beforehand and prepare their parts well before arriving at Festival. The group will perform at a Mini-Ring concert.

The music selection is: And All Will Clap Their Hands, by Lee Afdahl.

To hear an audio clip and view the score, please visit: https://www.handbellworld.com/music/MusicPiece.cfm?Piece=14495

Bronze

These are the workshops available to Bronze level ringers.

Advanced Bell Techniques – a.k.a. The Deadly Combos
This session will develop your skill at using two different techniques at the same time, such as malleting with one hand and marting with the other, ringing different rhythms with each hand, switching in and out of four-in-hand and Shelley passages, and ringing four-in-hand while marting with the other hand. Practice drills will help build confidence and problem-solving skills.
Read and Ring
For the bronze level ringer who just wants to ring. Read and ring through a variety of Level 3+ to Level 4 music. Bell positions are not assigned and ringers should come prepared to ring whatever position is open.
Rhythmic Mash-Up – Ron Parker
Join Ron Parker for a fun and challenging workshop on rhythmic complexities. Tap one rhythm while clapping another, practice switching from simple to compound to complex rhythms and back again, play hemiolas and complex syncopations. All in a day’s work for a bell ringer!
Sight Ringing
Learn tips and strategies that will enhance your ability to sight read comfortably. Then work on your sight ringing skills as you play through L3 – L3+ music. Bell positions are not assigned and ringers should come prepared to ring whatever position is open.
Ringing for Soloists and Small Ensembles: Doing More with Less – with heather nicholson
Ringing alone or in a small ensemble differs from regular ringing both physically and mentally. Devising strategies for bell placement, modifying ringing styles and damping techniques, and adding body movement and choreography are just a few of the challenges you need to address when ringing by yourself or with one or two of your closest friends. Join heather nicholson, an accomplished soloist, for a hands-on session on this exciting form of ringing.
Dream Weaving – Don’t Get Weft Out
Make bell switches smoothly and quickly using one of five basic weaving patterns and their variations. Ring accidentals effortlessly and navigate difficult passages without dropping bells, crossing arms or leaving notes out. Learn how to damp while weaving and how to pass a bell smoothly to another ringer when you need a helping hand.

If you have decided on your workshops and are ready to register . . .