Patrick Meyer joined Area 5 at our 2023 Spring Festival in South Bend, Indiana as our inaugural Emerging Composer. When asked to reflect on his experience he said,

This has been quite a journey for all of us, hasn’t it?…to finally assemble together, to ring, to teach & learn, to rekindle old friendships and create new ones…all for the common enjoyment of handbells.

It was in early 2020 that I was contacted by Rhonda Blacklock that Area 5 was starting a new program—The Emerging Composer—featuring “up and coming” handbell composers, and that I was chosen to be the first one to receive such an honor!

Then COVID hit, and out of an abundance of caution, handbell events were cancelled, and rescheduled to this point in time…This Joyous Celebration!

It, indeed, was a joyous celebration! As a composer, it is humbling to hear your works being performed—especially with a group of that size for the mass ringing. For those that aspire to write for handbells and getting published, it is important to do your research of the publishers. Some publishers won’t even publish handbell works. Check out their recent works from their catalog—see what is “selling.” Above all else, don’t get upset about receiving a rejection notice. There are more publishers out there. Just keep working on your craft. Enjoy your journey. If you have a “song in your heart”, let the world know about it—they need to hear it, too!

I was really impressed with the professionalism that was on display over the weekend! The instructors knew their material and presented it in a way that gave ringers the “tools” for improving their performances. Stephanie Rhoades and Joe Galyon, Festival and Bronze Track conductors respectively, skillfully guided their choirs. And in keeping with the joyful celebration, Joyful Sound, under the direction of June Hannah, presented an inspirational performance!

My hat goes off to Connie Nicholson and the Area 5 Board of Directors for all their hard work in achieving a very successful weekend for all its attendees.

Patrick W. Meyer (ASCAP)

Area 5 would like to thank Patrick for his time and talents in making our South Bend festival a success!

Patrick Meyer (right) spoke to the assembled ringers prior to the rehearsal of his piece (above), and led discussions with attendees about composing and publishing (below).