Kari DaelkeThis article written by Kari Daelke, Area 9 At-Large Board Member

Spring has sprung! Beautiful wildflowers are appearing along roadways, trees are leafing out, and flowering trees are showing their pink and white blossoms. They are a joy to behold; and if you think about it, a fabulous reward for enduring the gray and brown of winter.

Spring is also a time for nurture and preparation. For gardeners, it is time to plan and plant flower and vegetable gardens. Farmers are also getting ready to prepare their fields for the sowing of seeds.

One of the best parts of being part of a handbell group is the sense of community it brings. We love to ring and SHARE the gift of music with others. Just as a farmer or gardener tends and nurtures their fields to produce a bountiful harvest or showcase a beautiful landscape, what can we do as handbell ringers and enthusiasts to fertilize the handbell community?

SEEK out learning opportunities. Be an instructor or student. Check the event calendars on the HMA National website or your local area event calendar. Interested in being an instructor, workshop leader or mentor? Do you have a workshop or learning event ideas? Contact Jill Fite, Area 9 Education Chair. The Area 9 board would love to help make your great ideas happen.

HELP by volunteering your time or making a financial contribution to a local handbell group. From handbell groups with functional and/or intellectual disabilities such as the Brookwood Community in Houston and Mosaic in Dallas to established community groups across the area, there are many ways you can nurture the art of handbell ringing. Many handbell groups have websites or a social media presence that will help you contact them to find out about opportunities to donate.

ATTEND a handbell concert as an audience member or go listen to another choir at a different church perhaps with a different worship style. Watching and listening to another group ring can be enlightening. Did they do anything cool that you would like to try? Enjoy the music and then think about what from the performance you can use to enhance your own ringing. Remember, the more support we show each other, the more we can grow as a handbell musician and as a community.

REACH out to fellow handbell ringers. Did you just attend a handbell concert? Take the opportunity after the performance to say “hi” and introduce yourself. You never know what kind of connection you might make. When attending a festival or workshop, make an effort to go sit with people you don’t know and start or join in the conversation. Who knows, you might make a friend, find a subbing opportunity or a possible sub for your own group.

ENJOY the fruits of your efforts and the beautiful handbell community garden you helped grow.