We are pleased to announce the addition of two new Honorary Life members this year at National Seminar in Anaheim, California. These dedicated individuals have devoted many years of their lives to growing and improving the art of handbell and handchime ringing and to furthering the mission of Handbell Musicians of America.

Louise Frier

In 1981, Louise Frier conceived of the bell tree technique while watching teens put away bells. She authored a manual on how to ring bell trees and began teaching the technique.


She composed and arranged music specifically for bell trees, and many of her compositions were packaged in a unique combination of bell tree, chimes, and malleted bass. Bell trees are now used as solos, duets, trios, as well as accompanying full choirs  ̶  all because of the foundation first laid by Louise Frier. Louise recognized what could have simply been a bunch of teenagers goofing off as a potential new handbell technique. She created that technique, saw it through to a new art form, wrote compositions for it, and was continually willing to teach it to others.

Joan Shull

Joan Shull began directing handbells in 1966 in Manhattan, Kansas. Her teachers were Dick Litterst, Mary Kettlehut, Ellen Jane Lorenz, and Don Allured, and she soon had a thriving church program.


Joan immersed herself in the world of handbells, attending events annually, mentoring new ringers and directors, developing the Area VIII resource library, and serving on the Area VIII board. Joan served as historian of the Guild and wrote and edited columns and articles for the Overtones. She served as the editor of the Overtones historical volume and was most known for penning a column known as Bach, Beethoven and ?  Joan also was responsible for creating the Tempo Setters videos, and co-authored the Oxford definition of handbells.

CLICK HERE to learn more about our other Honorary Life Members