Due to COVID-19 this event has been cancelled.

For more information please read this statement from the Chair.

Area 5 Spring Festival 2021

March 12-13, 2021

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Sandra Eithun, Guest Conductor

Joe Galyon, Conductor, College Track

Join ringers from around Area 5 for “River Ring!”, a weekend of handbell music, education, fellowship and fun!

Please read below for more detailed information. We look forward to seeing you in Fort Wayne!


This event has been cancelled. For more information read this statement from the Chair.

Register for the 2021 Spring Festival in Fort Wayne

Guest Conductor: Sandra Eithun

SANDRA EITHUN, M.M.Ed – is a graduate of Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, WI, with an emphasis in the Kodály teaching method, keyboard, and flute. She currently resides in Appleton, WI, and has been serving as Director of Music Ministry at First Congregational United Church of Christ in New London, WI since 1992. At her church, Sandra is the director of three handbell choirs, serves as choral accompanist, and organist/keyboardist. She is the director of the Silver Lake College Handbell Ensemble, an active member of the Handbell Musicians of America, and has served on their Area VII Board of Directors. She has been commissioned to write music for many events and for numerous individual handbell ensembles. Most recently, she received the honor of being given the esteemed Donald E. Allured Original Composition Award for the 2020 Week of Handbells in Bay View, MI. She has over 350 pieces for handbells in publication as well as several sacred keyboard books and teaching collections for the incorporation of handbells in the music classroom. In 2013, Sandra had the honor of working alongside Doc Severinsen and the Fox Valley Symphony to include handbells in his holiday show, “Jingle Bell Doc” at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, WI. She continues to work as a handbell clinician and conductor at numerous festivals and workshops throughout the United States.

Event Location

Grand Wayne Center
120 W Jefferson Blvd
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Event Lodging

Courtyard by Marriott – Fort Wayne Downtown
1150 S. Harrison St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

We strongly encourage registrants to use the room block in our host hotel. More information coming soon.

Festival Repertoire

Music may be purchased directly from the publishers of any music retailer. Our HIC retailers include: Heitz Handbells & Music, Jeffers Handbell Supply, and J.W. Pepper. All attendees should have legally purchased copies of all music on hand at the event. Photocopies are not allowed without proof of license or proof of purchase.

I’ve Got Peace Like a River – Eithun
– Agape 2892
– Level 2+

This Joyous Celebration – Meyer
– Beckenhorst HB570
– Level 3

A Joyous Fanfare – Gramann
– Choristers Guild CGB926
– Level 3-

Deep River – arr. Ingram
– Ring Out Press RO3322
– Level 2

That Easter Day With Joy Was Bright – Lamb
– CAGEHR AG25007
– Level 2+

Fantasy on the Old Rugged Cross – arr. Krug
– Lorenz 202098L
– Level 3-

Down by the Riverside – arr. Morris
– Agape 2684
– Level 3+

In Times and Places – Eithun
Alfred 45225
– Level 4

Exultate – Krug
– GIA G-8546
– Level 4+


Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Friday, March 12th

1:30-4:30 pm Registration and Set up
3:00-7:00 pm Vendors open
4:30-5:30 pm Early Bird Classes
5:30-700 pm Dinner on your own
7:00-8:00 pm Opening Concert
8:15-9:15 pm Massed rehearsal and Opening Bell
9:15-10:00 pm Vendors Open


Saturday, March 13th

8:00-9:00 am Massed rehearsal
9:00 am Vendors Open
9:15-10:15 am Tins rehearse; Coppers in class
10:30-11:30 am Coppers rehearse; Tins in class
11:30 am-1:00 pm Lunch on your own
1:00-2:00 pm Tins rehearse; Coppers in class
2:15-3:15 pm Coppers rehearse; Tins in class
3:30 pm Vendors Final Closing
3:45-4:30 pm Final Concert “dress” Rehearsal
5:00-6:00 pm Final Concert and Closing Bell
6:00 pm Registrants Pack and Leave
7:00 pm Out of Venue
Class Sessions

More information to come.

Opening Concert: The Notre Dame Bronze Handbell Ensemble

In 1988, the University of Notre Dame Campus Ministry purchased a two octave set of Schulmerich bells. Thirty-plus years later, the choir has expanded to cover more than five full octaves of bells and nearly six octaves of Malmark handchimes, providing music ministry to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the South Bend community, and parishes across the United States.

The ensemble consists of two choirs: the Coppers and the Bronze. The Coppers were founded in Fall 2017 to introduce students to the art of handbell ringing. The Coppers rehearse one hour a week and regularly play at dorm masses and are directed by a senior member of the Bronze.

Directed since 1997 by Karen Schneider-Kirner, the Bronze choir consists of 14 experienced graduate and undergraduate ringers who regularly play at Basilica Masses and liturgies. In Fall 2017, they were invited to perform at the inauguration of the Beijing Global Gateway in China, at Peking and Chengdu Universities and various Cathedrals. In 2014, they traveled to Toronto and Montreal and visited parishes and pilgrimage sites established by the Congregation of the Holy Cross, which founded Notre Dame . They have also extensively toured the U.S., most recently to Buffalo, NY, Minneapolis, MN and Nashville and Knoxville, TN. With their concerts, in addition to playing solo pieces, they typically involve the assembly through the singing of hymns and psalms with their bells and incorporate various instrumentalists.


First-time attendees are invited to apply for a scholarship to attend the Spring Festival. Applications are due by January 29, 2021.

Associate Conductor Program

Are you a conductor interested in working with massed handbell ensembles? Please consider applying for Area 5’s Associate Conductor Program. Our goal for this program is to identify, train, and nurture potential new conductors for massed ringing events throughout Area 5.

The 2019 Associate Conductor Patty Saunders said, “The [Associate Conductor] program supported and stretched my abilities as a director and I walked away from the weekend with a tool box useful in rehearsal planning and execution, conducting clarity, and artistic expression.”

HMA Tablet Policy

Handbell Musicians of America is committed to upholding the copyright laws of the United States and protecting the rights of our publishers, arrangers and composers. If you wish to use a tablet computer to hold your music in place of standard paper copies on a music stand, you must contact the publisher of each piece of music to first obtain permission to convert a purchased piece of music to the format required for the tablet you are using. Copies of the written permission received from publishers must be presented on request from the event organizer, event chair, or Handbell Musicians of America staff. Permission from a publisher for one piece does not imply permission for other songs from the same publisher. The title of each song used in this format must be included in the written permission received. Attendee should also have legally purchased copies of all music with them for verification. Titles originally purchased in a digital format do not require permission from the publisher, however, please have a copy of your purchase receipt available.

Cancellation Policy

Full registration amount less $15 per person will be refunded if notification is received by the late registration date. No refunds will be given for cancellations received after this date.


New to handbell festivals? Confused about registration or logistics? Our FAQ can help!


For any questions about the Spring Festival please contact Rhonda Blacklock at chair.area5@handbellmusicians.org or visit the Spring Festival FAQ.