ringEr-Notes July 2012

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Articles By Ringers, For Ringers

Going to Events

By Hannah Brown

Hello!  I’m Hannah Brown.  I will be a freshman this fall atLiberty-Benton School near Findlay, Ohio.  I have many, MANY, hobbies, and one of them is ringing handbells.  I play in the Wesleyan Ringers adult handbell choir at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Findlay. I looked forward to Wednesday night rehearsals, where I help with the Joybells, our church’s children’s choir, and then ringing E-F4 with the adults, where I ring to my heart’s content.

Handbells were introduced to me at an early age, since my mother was a ringer and my wonderful grandmother, Martha Avery, was the director.  I was taken to rehearsals ever since I could be carried in my car seat.  I was given the opportunity to ring when I was in the third grade, and I’ve been ringing ever since.

I had heard my grandmother tell about all the friends she had all over the United States, which included many composers. When my grandma suggested that I attend an Area 5 young ringers event, I was thrilled.  I got to go to Columbus for my first massed ringing experience.  It was fun to meet some of the Area officers, who encouraged me a lot. Since then I’ve attended an event in Lexington, and my sister and I both attended an Area 5 event near Cedar Point.  My greatest experience was going to Distinctly Teen in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last summer.  Wow, we were certainly challenged by the music, but I had such great fun learning from Mrs. Mathis and fellow ringers. It was super to meet other kids who have a passion for ringing as I do, and it was a thrill to meet composers and take great classes from experienced teachers.  I especially liked meeting Jason Krug and ringing his “Compassion.” Of course we also had fun with pizza time and swimming, and a visit to the Mall of America wasn’t all bad either.

I’m so looking forward to attending DT this summer in Cincinnati and ringing with Carlos Avila.  Carlos has chosen some challenging music for us, but I know we will have a super time learning from him.  It will be great to see some of the friends I met in Minnesota, and I’m looking forward to ringing the National Anthem at a Cincinnati Reds game. My future goal is to ring at Distinctly Bronze some day.

—Hannah Brown

About Hannah

Hanna Brown is a freshman at Liberty-Benton High School in Findlay, Ohio, where she is a member of 4-H and plays volleyball and softball. Besides ringing handbells, she enjoys drawing, writing, painting, singing, and crocheting.

We are pleased to have Carols Avila directing this year’s Distinctly Teen at National Seminar in Cincinnati, July 19-21.  This event is designed for individual young ringers (8th-12th grade) who wish to stretch their ringing skills and challenge their musicianship. Participants will spend 2 ½ days working on intermediate to advanced repertoire and developing skills in handbell technique and general musicianship.




Do YOU have a story to share about your handbell and handchime ringing experiences?

Do you know a RINGER with a great anecdote?

If you answered yes to either or both of these questions then we want to hear from you!

Please contact Rima Greer.


Two-Question Interviews with Handbell Notables

This Month’s Personality: Nancy Lutz

How did you first become involved in the handbell community?

Nancy Lutz

As a sweet, young 30-something, the handbell director at our church asked me to help her by subbing in the teen ensemble at my church. Of course, I quickly discovered that ringing handbells was a whole lot of fun!  We had no adult group at that time…did we think grown ups were too old to play this musical instrument?  In a few years, the teen program tanked and the bells went into the closet for nearly a decade. Linda Minnotte eventually changed that and put together the first adult team and, of course, I rang.  One sad day, her job changed, preventing her from continuing as director and apparently I appeared to be the person best able to count to four. Directing was love at beat one. I’d spent all my life looking for ‘my instrument,’ the one on which I could excel, never suspecting it was a baton!

Joining AGEHR in 1994, I attended my first event- the National Seminar in Greenville, SC in 1998. I met Janet Carlson and Judy Dinkler who told me all about Area 2 and how I was ‘the kind of person who should get involved.’  I told them I would love to get involved.  WOW…Janet called me in September, telling me about this wonderful new opportunity they wanted me to consider.  GASP, the opportunity was to represent Area 2 on the AGEHR National Board of Directors!  I agreed to run.  Not only did I win that election, I’ve been going to those meetings ever since… Yes, it’s definitely time to retire, Nancy. 


Do you have an anecdote or funny story from your experiences with the handbell community?

A situation that could have terrible, ended up having a very funny twist.  Each spring, the handbell teams at Mt. Lebanon UMC present a wonderful event called Berries ‘n’ Bells, a concert with dessert. The audience sits cabaret style at round tables in our fellowship hall. One year as I was fussing over some last minute detail, I noticed a dear older friend. Wanting to greet him, I moved quickly toward his table, tripping over the low podium that was in the way. My three-point landing on top of it involved hyper extending my right thumb. Sooooooooooo, as people were enjoying their berry pie and ice cream, I was in the kitchen with my conducting hand packed in ice!   What to do?  Worst case scenario, tape the baton to my hand…nothing wrong with my arm, I’m thinking. Fortunately, the pain subsided and I was able to hold my baton, with only my dignity a bit damaged.

That was Friday night. Move to the Sunday a.m. warm up rehearsal for morning worship in the sanctuary. Uncharacteristically, I was late arriving that morning, allowing my ringers to pull off the perfect gag. I walked down the center aisle, and there’s the offending podium, rigged with yellow caution tape and flashing red lights!  The ‘gotcha’ was complete!

About Nancy

Nancy Lutz is the founding Artistic Director of Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Ringers, fulfilling a long-time vision of creating a premier community handbell ensemble inWestern Pennsylvania. Nancy is also Director of Handbells atMt.LebanonUnitedMethodistChurch in suburbanPittsburgh where she leads two excellent adult ensembles and a graded program for children and teens.

 Nancy has been deeply involved in AGEHR/Handbell Musicians of America since 1998 and has served in one capacity or other on the Board of Directors since 1999, presently serving as the appointed secretary. She will retire from this position on September 30, 2012.

 Mentoring new handbell directors and other handbell ensembles is of particular interest to Nancy. She enjoys leading workshops for directors and ringers, doing so extensively throughout Area 2. 

 Nancy is a founding director of the Western Pennsylvania Handbell Festival, an event for beginning and intermediate level handbell ensembles which holds an annual festival each spring. She has been honored to direct this festival along with several others.