With the cooler air and colorful leaves arriving, it’s wonderful to see that this fall most of us are once again playing for Sunday worship, planning concerts and festivals. October 1 is when changes occur on the Area 5 board. Most of the board has served an extra year due to COVID-19, which resulted in the 2021 election moving to 2022. We are grateful for those leaving the board, as they brought many talents and knowledge as well as devoted both their time and energy to Area 5. Rhonda Blacklock, as chair, brought strong leadership and has been a wonderful mentor for me. Those leaving the board are: Rhonda Blacklock, Dave Baker, Patty Saunders, Susan Stephenson, Sarah Stoel, Kelly Johns, and Rob Hrezo.  We have many new faces and some remaining on the board. Click here to meet our new members. We are very excited to get started, and we hope you take advantage of our upcoming events.

The best way to stay informed about Area 5 is to explore our website, where you can sign-up to receive Area 5 News through email. Our website includes our new COVID-19 policy, information on scholarships and chime grant programs, festivals, registration, fall events in Michigan and Indiana, and much more. You can also follow us on social media via the Area 5 Facebook, our state Facebook pages, Instagram or Twitter.

In January 2023, Area 5 will have a booth at the IMEA (Indiana Music Education Association) to promote handbells in schools, including offering two scholarships for the All-State Indiana Handbell Choir. During MLK Jr. weekend, January 14-15, 2023, we are excited to offer Inspiring 2023 for ringers aged 18-29, where we will be investing in our future ringers. We have kept expenses at a minimum, so please encourage anyone that you know in this age group to register. The ringers will present a free concert at the First Presbyterian Theater in Fort Wayne, Indiana on January 15 at 4:00 PM. We would love to have you come and support this event.

March 17-18, 2023 we will have Ringin’ the Irish at the Century Center in South Bend, Indiana. We are delighted to have Stephanie Rhoades come to Area 5 as our conductor. We are also highlighting Patrick Meyer as our emerging composer and offering a bronze track with Joe Galyon at this event. Bronze ringers, be sure to check out the application and audition process for this event.

In closing, Inspiring 2023, Ringin’ the Irish, along with the bronze track, are all open for registration, so be sure to check out our website for all the information. It was such a joy to be ringing together and be with our handbell community this past spring. Feel free to send me an email or contact other Area 5 board members if you have any questions, as we’re here to help. I hope to see you in 2023, and as our tagline for South Bend says, “May the music rise up to meet you!”

See you soon and take care,

Connie Nicholson