Dear Friends,

As you may have heard by now, the Area 5 Spring Festival scheduled for 2024 in Battle Creek, Mich., was canceled due to renovation issues at the ringing site and hotel. (Long story short: Our hotel canceled our plans with them and had no suitable alternatives to offer.) I know this is disappointing news, but I hope you’ll appreciate the silver lining: we’ve had more time to look ahead to our 2025 Spring Festival in Columbus, Ohio! Our conductor for that event will be Fred Gramann. We are thrilled to have the maestro joining us to conduct an Area 5 Spring Festival. Mark your calendars for April 25-26, 2025. You won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, I encourage you to take advantage of the myriad local festival offerings taking place this year. The Eaton Rapids Handbell Festival is coming up later this month with a stellar lineup: Brenda Austin, Greig Ashurst, Kyle Webber, and The Detroit Handbell Ensemble.

Our Area 5 Inspiring! event for young adult ringers (18-29) will take place for a second year, this time in the gorgeous Ruth Lilly Performance Hall at the University of Indianapolis, conducted by Kyle Webber. This event is a great opportunity for networking and social interaction for young adult ringers looking to build their skills musically and enrich their lives socially with others who love to ring. Registration is open now. Join us!

We’re introducing a new event aimed at community ensembles on April 13, 2024, called Masterclass. Community groups will gather in Columbus, Ohio, to play a few pieces from their own prepared repertoire for clinician Dean Wagner. Dean will offer coaching, advice, and feedback for the groups, the directors, and the audience. The “audience” will be composed of the other participating ensembles’ members and directors. Registration opens soon. Stay tuned for more details.

Finally, two local spring festivals will provide opportunities for you to gather together with others in a massed ringing environment. The Central Indiana Handbell Festival will take place in Indianapolis on April 20, 2024, with Kyle Webber conducting, and the Ring Cincinnati Handbell Festival will take place on April 27, 2024, with Joe Galyon conducting. As always, stay tuned to our Events page on the Area 5 website for updates and more events to come!

Area 5 Board Member Transitions

It’s always tough to say goodbye to board members concluding their terms, but we are excited to welcome new folks who are ready to serve you in the years to come. I hope you’ll join me in thanking our outgoing board members for their years of service and dedication in support of handbell and handchime education in our Area. We will miss our friends and colleagues at our meetings, but we’ll be thrilled to see them participating at our events and continuing to thrive in their home bases, as we know they will!

Our incoming board members, who begin their terms on Oct. 1, are:

Jarod Ogier (chair)
Shannon Hardiek (chair-elect)
Jane Snow (secretary)
Eleanor Coffin (webmaster)
Jonathan Martz (communications)
Hannah Wheaton (Michigan state chair)

We’re excited to get to work for you! I know I speak for the rest of the board when I say we can’t wait to see you around the Area and we look forward to getting to know you, learning about your programs and activities, and doing our best to support you.

Ring on!