Patty HighlandThis article written by Patty Highland, Area 9 Chair

It seems like the right season to be asking this, as we are in the midst of holiday preparations, parties, activities, and other good cheer. Why ring and add to the busyness of the season?

Take a moment to pause and think about why you ring or lead a group of ringers. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Given time to pause, many may ask, “Why do I ring? What’s in it for me?”

Many experience the joy of music-making in community, the satisfaction of creating beautiful or glorious music, or solemn, lyrical, soul-touching music with others. Many experience the satisfaction of ‘finally playing that challenging section correctly!’ We feel the honor and gratitude of the audience’s applause after a well-played song. We feel pride in watching or helping others grow in their skills and art.

Many of us also experience the peace from spending time in rehearsal, even a hard, intense, and/or challenging rehearsal. Getting to step away from the worries and cares of the day, and allowing oneself to be fully engaged in music-making is a gift. Often, ringers comment about the importance of this “time away” for other cares, as they seek to find a balance between various activities in their life. This “time away” is a precious gift!

Given time to pause, some may ask, “Why do I ring? Does my ringing give anything to others?” (This perhaps translates into “Why do people come to listen to handbell concerts?“)

Handbell Ensembles offer music produced by a beautiful instrument – lovely to listen to when played well (which is true for all instruments!). Ensembles can offer music of various emotions and styles -music to touch the hearts and souls of the listener. Watching an ensemble ‘live’ also offers a visual experience, where the beauty shown by the act of ringing enhances the overall musical experience. (Conversely, a ‘less-than-beautiful’ visual experience can distract from the overall musical experience, if we aren’t mindful.) Music can improve the mood of the listener and transport them to new levels of peace, joy, and everything in between. Music in worship can lift up the worshippers in praise and joy or can help to settle their hearts and minds in peace and prayer. And music played can be a gift given back to the creator of music.

I invite you, during this holiday season of ringing, to remember WHY you ring, and FOR WHOM you ring.

Ring with Hope, with Love, with Peace, and with Joy!

Hope to see you soon at a handbell event!