Linda RutherfordThis article written by Linda Rutherford, Area 9 Treasurer

Happy New Year! We made it through the Christmas season, and I hope yours was happy and peaceful in spite of all the services and events during that time of the year.

I spent Christmas with relatives in San Antonio. My cousin and I were talking about traveling. She told me about a trip she is taking with a friend, and then she asked me about trips that I had made recently or was thinking of taking in the new year. I started thinking about the incredible trips I have made over the years and realized that a majority of them have been handbell related. I have had an opportunity to make music with ringers from all over the United States, Scotland, and Italy with performances taking place in beautiful cathedrals and churches. As a result, I have friendships with handbell musicians near and far. Many times I did not know anyone in the group or who my roommate would be until I met everyone at the airport.

I was curious how the musicians in my handbell group felt about their experiences at festivals. So I asked. When I received their comments, I was elated that they enjoyed hearing hundreds of handbells ringing together while knowing that each handbell musician invested time, talent, and energy into the performance. I also read about my choir’s appreciation for the opportunity to meet people from other areas, see how different people set up their choirs, and seeing new instruments.

The one comment I read in almost every answer was about the opportunity to ring with a different conductor – hearing their interpretation of a piece or performing the conductor’s composition. (That has been a special treat for me as well.)

My favorite comments were the ones about our choir – seeing friends at weekly rehearsals and being a part of the lives of fellow musicians.

My reading took me on a journey of laughter, tears, and smiles. It is a memory I will not forget anytime soon.

I hope you have had an opportunity to experience these feelings. Try it, you might like it.