Spring Festival Frequently Asked Questions

Revised April 10, 2023.

COVID-19 Policy for Area 5 Spring Festivals
We want a safe and healthy environment for everyone who attends an Area 5 event. Therefore, we have established the following guidelines in response to COVID-19. Please click the link to read the full policy.
What is the Area 5 Spring Festival?

Area 5 Spring Festivals are two-day massed ringing events open to all Handbell Musicians of America members, held annually in March or April. Attendees rehearse together under the baton of the Guest Conductor, culminating in a final concert at the end of the event. It’s an opportunity to learn from and fellowship with other members of the handbell community.

In addition to massed rehearsals, a Spring Festival may also include classes and seminars, handbell vendors, and an opening concert by a well-known choir, soloist, or small ensemble. Each Spring Festival will vary. Please visit the Events Calendar for upcoming festival dates and details.

What is the schedule for the Spring Festival?
In general, a Spring Festival starts on Friday afternoon and continues through Saturday early-evening, concluding with the closing concert. The specific schedule will be published online closer to the event and will be available in the program booklet provided to all attendees.
Are any meals provided at the Spring Festival?
Unless otherwise stated, all meals during the Spring Festival are on your own.
Repertoire is listed for the Spring Festival. Do I need to purchase it?

You are responsible for purchasing and rehearsing the music prior to the event. All choirs must learn the massed repertoire. Coppers and Tins choirs need only learn the repertoire for their level.

All attendees should have legally purchased paper copies of all music on hand at the event. Photocopies are not allowed without proof of license or proof of purchase.

Digital copies of music are allowed. Please read the HMA Tablet Policy below.

I’m an orphan/independent ringer. Do I need to purchase the repertoire?

Orphan/independent ringers should communicate with the director of their assigned choir and/or the event Registrar to work out whether the repertoire will be provided for them or if they will need to purchase it. You can contact the Registrar at treasurer.area5@handbellmusicians.org.

Are there any notes or corrections for the repertoire?
Repertoire notes from the Guest Conductor regarding problem solving, corrections, and other items may be sent at various times before the event. Check with your director to see if they received any notes, or check the Area 5 website.
How will I receive updates and communications for the Spring Festival?

General event information will be posted to the Area 5 website. Specific information and updates will be emailed to the individual who registered for the event using the email address provided during the registration process. This is typically the choir director.

It is very important that we have an accurate email address for you when you register. If you typically only check your email once every several days, you may want to check it more frequently after you register. If we attempt to contact you to confirm your registration and the email address is wrong on your registration, your registration may be cancelled. 

We are unable to email all members of a choir, only the individual who registered. This individual is responsible for forwarding any updates or communications about the event to the rest of the choir members as needed.

Is registration only available online? What if I don't have a reliable Internet connection?

Event registration is online using the Area 5 registration system hosted by JotForm. This is the only way to register for Area 5 events.

If the JotForm service is up and available, the registration system is considered available. Area 5 cannot be responsible for issues you may experience accessing the Internet from the location where you intend to complete your registration.

If you intend to register from a location where you frequently experience Internet connectivity issues, you may want to consider being at an alternative location at the time registration opens. Or you may wish to have someone else do your registration. Make sure it is someone that you trust with your registration.

Some individuals feel quite comfortable using computers and doing things online like shopping and registering for events. Others feel less comfortable. If you fall into the less comfortable category, you may want to have a tech savvy friend assist you when you register.

What information do I need to register for a Spring Festival?
  • Your contact information including email address, mailing address and cell phone number. Make sure your contact information is correct, especially your email address. If we attempt to contact you to confirm your registration and the email address is wrong, your registration may be cancelled.
  • The number of ringers you intend to register.
  • The number of orphans/independent ringers you can host and their ringing positions. Hosting orphan ringers is not required. However, if hosting one or two orphans would make the most efficient use of your table space, please include this information in your registration. We want to be able to include as many ringers in the event as possible.
  • The amount of table space you need, which is the total number of linear feet of space you need to accommodate your choir and any orphan ringers you would be willing to host. Also include space you may need for chime racks.
  • Whether or not you intend to rent tables or bring your own.
Should our choir register as a group or individually?
Your choir should register as a group. Typically, a choir director will register their entire handbell choir on a single registration. During the online registration process, you will have the option of purchasing multiple registrations. You should purchase a registration for yourself and each musician from your choir who will be attending the festival. We do not collect the names of each individual attending. At the festival you will receive blank nametags in your registration packet for each choir member attending.
How do I know if my choir is a Copper or a Tin? What’s the difference?

Coppers and Tins refer to the general proficiency level of the choir, with Coppers being more proficient than Tins. In general, a Tins choir may ring level 1-2 music and stretch themselves with level 3. A Coppers choir may ring level 3-4 music and stretch themselves with level 4+ or 5.

Proficiency is not related to the age of the choir. A choir just starting out may be a Copper, while a choir that’s been ringing for decades may be a Tin. Of course, this is very subjective and varies from choir to choir.

As a side note, copper and tin are the two metals that make up the alloy bronze, which is what handbells are made of.

Can I use an Area 5 scholarship to attend a festival?
Yes, you can! First-time attendees are welcome to apply for a scholarship to attend this festival. Scholarship requests need to be postmarked or emailed no later than six weeks before the event.
Can I used loaned equipment vouchers to attend a festival?
Yes, you can! Please contact the Registrar at treasurer.area5@handbellmusicians.org prior to registering. You will receive a discount code to use during the online registration process.
Some of my musicians are not coming. Can I host orphan/independent ringers?

Yes! During the registration process you can indicate your interest in hosting orphan/independent ringers. You can also designate which ringing positions are open, if you know them, which will assist in the assignment of orphan ringers to your choir. Prior to the start of the festival, we will let you know what orphan ringers have been assigned to ring in your choir.

I am the only one from my handbell choir interested in attending. Can I still come?

Yes! You should register yourself as an orphan/independent ringer using our online registration. Let us know the ringing positions you would like to be assigned if you have a preference. We will assign you to a handbell choir on the massed ringing floor and notify you as to the details of your assignment prior to the start of the festival.

Can I rent tables or do I need to bring my own?
You can choose to either bring your own tables or rent tables from us. You will pay for table rental as part of your registration if you choose to rent. Be sure to indicate the number of linear feet you need for your choir, regardless of whether you rent or bring tables. Include space you may need for chime racks. If you rent tables, they will be set up for you in your ringing spot when you arrive at the festival.
I’d like my choir to be in a certain spot on the ringing floor. Can you do that?
We are unable to accommodate specific placement requests unless the request is related to the medical needs of one or more of your attendees.
Will my photo be taken?

The Area 5 Photography Policy can be found here.

What is the 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.

Who do I contact if I have registration issues?

Please contact our festival Registrar for help with the registration process. You can contact them via email at treasurer.area5@handbellmusicans.org.

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.