Dear Friends,

Handbell Musicians of America is pleased to announce we are moving forward with National Seminar 2020 – with both Onsite and Virtual sessions for the safety and convenience of our participants.

Given concerns and restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the HMA National Board decided to offer both options – thus allowing each participant to make his or her own decision about how to take part. So, led by the Board’s decision, the National Seminar planning committee is working with the faculty, performers, and staff to develop great content and curriculum for those who attend in person or online.

The Virtual National Seminar 2020 will be up to our usual excellent standards. In addition, to the extent safely possible and to fulfill our partnership obligations to the Omni Orlando Resort, we still welcome registrations from those who want to attend Onsite – those who are comfortable traveling to Orlando and wish to participate in person. Of note, if you decide to attend in person, the Omni has lowered the nightly room rate to $129 and is waiving all self-parking and resort fees. For onsite attendees, HMA and the Omni hotel will implement detailed Clean & Safe procedures to protect staff, volunteers and attendees. Importantly, please consult CDC guidelines and your personal healthcare professionals. Only those who are not in any of the identified high-risk categories should consider attending in person.

National Seminar 2020 faculty have re-worked their class content for both the Onsite and Virtual learning environments. All participants can now attend up to nineteen classes live (compared to the previously offered fifteen). In addition, they will have specifically designed password-protected online access to more than 45 recorded sessions throughout the event itself and for a full week following. Sessions will be scheduled so participants from multiple time zones may participate at convenient times. Whether you attend in person or virtually, you’ll have access to the same class content and the extended week for viewing recorded sessions.

The Virtual event online platform makes it easy to track your scheduled classes, performances, vendors and all the event features that previous attendees have come to love. Those include an online silent auction, opportunities to meet with fellow handbell musicians and discuss common challenges and solutions, access to door prizes and gifts from HIC vendors, and more.

Performers are developing virtual content for evening concert experiences that will be broadcast via HMA’s YouTube channel. Since there will not be exhibits onsite, the Handbell Industry Council will host a virtual tradeshow so all participants will have access to the vendors they are used to seeing at an in-person event. HIC members will also offer their successful Showcase sessions. The Virtual event option will allow handbell musicians from around the world to participate safely and thoroughly. National Seminar will include most of the originally planned class topics as well as some new ideas that will address these unique and uncertain times.

Registration for either the Virtual or Onsite option is $175. Current registrants will be given refund options for the difference in what has already been paid. They will also be given the first opportunity to select classes and other event experiences. There will be no other further discounts nor price reductions.

HMA staff is in the process of updating the event website with a goal of launching by June 8. Registration for the new event will open June 10. Please watch your email for details.

Sincerely,

Ed Rollins
Interim Executive Director