In early March I finished a rehearsal with the Columbia Handbell Ensemble, wished them well and said, “see you next week.” There was no thought that we might not have a rehearsal the next week or in the following months because of Covid-19, but our reality changed in a rapid manner. Just 90 days later over 112,000 fellow Americans have lost their life to this horrible disease. We have altered how we shop, teach, govern, make music and interact. Handbell programs across the world have been shut down and events cancelled to help ensure the safety of our members, their families and those around them.
Instead of succumbing to despair and depression, handbell ringers across America began to find ways to stay in touch and to continue to ring. The HMA Event Planning Team began to make plans for a summer Seminar that might look different, but one that still allowed for instruction and interaction. The Handbell Industry Council took the lead in developing a Safety Guideline for the return of ringing, whenever that may be. The Handbell Musicians of America staff and National Board continued to work on strategic plans that are adaptable for a variety of different scenarios based on changes that may need to occur because of the pandemic. Our members began to stay connected through a series of weekly Happy Hours.
as Covid-19 continues to evolve, we seek the guidance of the CDC and local health organizations to make informed decisions regarding our return to ringing. Please know that we will always follow the recommendations of the CDC and other governing authorities. In that light, here are some tips regarding the prevention of the virus itself: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html.
The pandemic may not be disappearing any time soon, but neither is our resolve to ultimately return to ringing and making music together. Until that time, we will gather virtually and spend time rethinking our fall activities and our return to ringing.
Keep safe and be well.
Interim Executive Director