Patty HighlandThis article was written by Patty Highland, Area 9 Secretary

Back to Ringing

As we approach the end of summer, many of us anticipate with great joy the return to our musical ensembles and to ringing handbells again. I appreciate a summer break, but I always look forward to starting handbell rehearsals for the new season. I look forward to both the music and the fellowship that a handbell ensemble offers to its members. Simply put: I look forward to sharing music with my friends!

Back to Smiling

If you have rung in one of my handbell ensembles, you would have heard me say to the ringers “remember to smile” as we prepare to ring our music for others. Smile? Really? The ringers remind me that they are concentrating on just getting the correct hand to ring, at the correct time, and at the correct dynamic level. Smile too? Really? YES!!

As an audience member, I am much more engaged with a performing ensemble when their whole being reflects what they are musically communicating. Watching a handbell ensemble ring a song of praise and joy, while having stern faces or “concentration” on their faces, leads me to think that these performers have not internalized the message they are ringing. They look like they don’t believe or understand what they are trying to communicate. Their performance does not draw me in like it could.

The music we ring shares a message – an emotion, a representation of some text or idea, or some musical beauty. Our physical bodies should also represent that emotion, text, and/or beauty. If we are ringing a song of joy, then our faces and bodies should reflect that sense of joy. If we are ringing a song of meditation or peacefulness, then our faces and movements should reflect that sense of peace, as well. If we enjoy what we are doing, then we need to make sure our faces reflect that enjoyment, instead of making ringing look like hard work, a huge challenge, or “not much fun.” And, finally, when we smile, the smiling actually lifts our own spirits and attitudes, making us feel better and happier, which also draws in the audience to our performance of the music.

SMILE! It’s time to get BACK TO RINGING and back to doing what we enjoy!