Welcome to the home page of the Handbell Musicians of America, Area 2
("The Guild, Area 2",) website! We have a lot of information for you and
hope that you will enjoy your stay. If you have any questions or find that links
or resources are not performing as you anticipate, please let us know so that
corrections can be made. We also are on facebook!
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Welcome! And thank you for your continued interest in English Handbells
in Area 2 (states of NJ, NY, PA and the province of ON)!
This is now the legacy website of Area 2. You arrived here because
you remembered the old website address or because you clicked or entered a
link you had from previous pages or documents.
To get to the new site (which is now the current site),
Othewise, if you are looking for something on the legacy site, please continue by using
the navigation bars above.
Note that there will be no further development on this website.
Area 2 2015 Composition Contest Announced
2015 Area 2 Composition Contest Window Now Open through May 1st, 2014!
Area 2 wants to notify all composers that the current 2015 Composition Contest window
now open through May 1, 2014. As a reminder, there are two categories, one for Young Ringers and
one for the Festival Conference. Both categories are eligible for a prize of $1000.
The submission method allows submitters to send in their entry
either by mail/courier or electronically via the Internet. With the Internet option, you can take
advantage of working on your submission all the way through the end of the day on May 1. So fret
no more in the struggle to close up the submission and getting it in on time!
You now are afforded an additional day or two to fine tune your creation. Please remember, however,
that all email sent via the Internet based on a best effort by the Internet providers and does not
include any mechanism for tracking your submission. Please keep this in mind as you approach the
Find out more about the Area 2 Composition Contest
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Do We Make a Difference? You Bet We Do!
Sometime, after spending so much of our personal time, effort and yes – money, we wonder
whether the work we have done has had any impact at all. Certainly, that is one
factor that causes each of us to hesitate when asked to contribute to
Area 2 Board positions and activities. But if you think that way, that there
is little return for the effort, that no one really cares, then we challenge you to think again.
For the past six years, Area 2 has been sponsoring efforts to make use of handchimes in Romania.
Now, we want to share with you another endeavor that is also taking place in Area 2 and having
positive effects both at home and abroad. We present the THE SOUTHMINSTER RINGERS, what they are doing
directly for others, and what they are doing for themselves. The Southminster Ringers are a "team" of
High Schoolers who annually crank up the program once again even though every year they have lost their
leaders to graduation. They are blessed with a caring congregation, but more than that, they have learned
to work diligently to fund the program that they have developed, wish to retain, and pass on to those that follow.
As a measure of pride, youth bell ringers often want to look distinctive. A classy look binds them together
and gives them something to defend through personal responsibility. We, as adults, so often forget that building
young persons requires us to give up authority and grant them accountablility. So as this group has fun together,
they work, and work hard, to make sure that the fun is rightfully earned.
Thirty six years ago. the Southminster Ringers proudly adopted the Royal Candian Air Force Tartan kilt as
their uniform, accenting the Scottish Heritage of the Presbyterian Church. Look into the eyes of these ringers,
and you will see pride in how they carry and comport themselves with others of all ages.
Ha! We got it connected to the Brinks Truck! Pull hard!
But the distinctive outfit is only one item that sets this group apart. Locally, the ringers are active in the
Pittsburgh area. The ringers begin each year with fun together at the Ligonier Highland Games (and the annual
tug-of-war, generally, won by the girls, with the assistance of some local competitors – see photo). Then they get to work.
The heritage the carry is one of sharing. The repertoire is varied and challenging. As a result of their
musical product, many original compositions have been written for them. Like most of our bell choirs, they
play at all kinds of venues, both inside and outside, and they travel extensively and love to share their
music and their enthusiasm with everyone they meet!
Ligonier Games Benefit Concert|
Quality is what they are after. By Christmas time, they are ready and are fairly busy with demand for concerts.
Nevertheless, one special venue stands out each December: the Allegheny County Jail. Have you and your choirs moved beyond
the safe havens of the church and visited hospitals and jails? The ringers look forward to this event
each year and they rarely play for a more appreciative audience. They see, they hear, they learn and they care.
Then its back to more work for the real fun is yet to be had.
The Southminster Ringers will be leaving for The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania in a few
weeks as they begin their 23rd International Tour. Over the years they have taken handbells to
ringers these countries and have regularly returned to re-visit those ensembles
to help them in their ringing journeys. Last summer, five Southminster Alumni took a 4˝ octave set of bells
to the Czech Republic and spent a week teaching handbells and English to 20 eager young students. When
Southminster arrives in Europe this summer, they will begin their tour this year working with
those same ringers and helping them progress even further in their ringing knowledge.
As the movie "field of Dreams" so aptly put it, if you build it, they will come! So the next time you
have an opportunity to work with young ringers, think about this story and say "Yes”. Believe us, the experience
is worth more than double the energy!