Handbell Musicians of Canada is a national organization that fosters the art of handbell ringing across the country. How do we do this? By hosting festivals and learning events, presenting concerts and performances, awarding scholarships and bursaries, supporting the development of composers, conductors and clinicians, and by creating a network through which musicians from all over Canada can collaborate, learn, and grow with each other!
L’association nationale “Handbell Musicians of Canada" promeut et encourage les clochettes à travers le Canada. Et comment? En organisant des événements musicaux et pédagogiques, en donnant des spectacles, en décernant des bourses, en appuyant le développement des compositeurs, des chefs d’orchestre et des animateurs, tout en créant un réseau pour que tous les musiciens canadiens puissent collaborer et s’enrichir mutuellement!
Please feel free to send us your inquiries in English or French. We would be pleased to respond in the language of your choice.
Veuillez nous contacter avec vos questions en anglais ou en français. Cela nous ferait un plaisir de vous répondre dans la langue de votre choix.
Musings From the Board
Each month we’ll be featuring a few words from one of our board members so you can get to know your national representatives. Check back each month to meet us all!
Lisa Kyriakides - Secretary
You Look Like You Are Having Fun!
I love making music, but especially making music with other musicians! It’s part of my DNA! We all know that making music is HARD WORK! It takes time, dedication, practice, and know-how. My name is Lisa Kyriakides and I live in Newmarket, Ontario. I have been a musician all my life – as a teacher, conductor, performer, and clinician. I started getting involved with handbells about 12 years ago and haven’t stopped since. I direct 2 handbell choirs, a vocal choir, perform in several handbell ensembles and am heavily involved with our Provincial Handbell Guild (OGEHR).
Now I want you to think about something for a minute. When you and the ringers around you are performing, what does the audience see? Do you look like you are enjoying yourself, or do you look very serious, with your head buried in the music? What impression are you leaving with your audience members? Are you communicating with them that making music is a joyful experience?
I talk to my ringers and singers about this issue all the time. I have told them that one of the best compliments I can receive when I am conducting or performing is when someone tells me I look like I am having fun. In fact, I told one of my choirs to smile (or at least not frown) so often, that for one rehearsal, they all showed up with smiles pasted on popsicle sticks that they could hold up in front of their faces. Too funny!
Music is all about communication with your audience. Handbells are such a visual instrument with great potential to convey the musical message through movement. Next time you are ringing, try and think about what your audience is seeing. Will someone come up to you after your performance and tell you they enjoyed watching you perform? I hope so!
Ellen Ramsay - Chair
For those of you who may not know me, I am the current Chair of your HMC. I began ringing handbells as a teenager and have been hooked ever since. Though I’ve been fortunate enough to visit most corners of this diverse country – mainly due to the various handbell festivals, workshops, and symposia I’ve attended over the years – my home base in is Penticton, BC.
My favourite part of handbells is the sense of connection it fosters on so many different levels. There’s the connection between the body that produces the sound, the mind that reads the notes on the page, and the heart that interprets and expresses the music. There’s the connection between the audience and the musician, that special energy that vibrates through the concert hall during a performance. There’s the extra special connection that happens when a gathering of ringers all inhales at the same moment, and exhales the marvelous music that comes out of the cohesive, whole artist that they collectively become.
And even more special is the connection that forges instantly wherever I am in the world whenever I meet someone new and they say, “You ring bells?? Me too!”
HMC “Heightening the Curve” Membership CampaignsLate in summer 2020, a membership drive campaign was launched when the new Handbell Musicians of Canada website went live. With national wide efforts to “flatten the COVID curve”, the HMC Website Committee decided to go the other way by “heightening the HMC membership curve” with the hashtag #100bylabourday. Canadian handbell musicians were invited to become the 100th member to join by Labour Day 2020.
Our winner was Cathy Larson from Fort McMurray, AB and she received a special edition HMC mask. Cathy is one of our greatest handbell cheerleaders in Northern Alberta and has even founded a teachers’ handbell ensemble along with her numerous school groups. She most recently served as VP for ALGEHR (Alberta Guild of English Handbell Ringers) and is a long-time member of ALGEHR’s Board of Directors.
Delighted with the enthusiastic response from all the new members, the Website Committee decided to continue with the hype and the excitement of the HMC inaugural Board Elections to offer another contest. This time the goal was to reach 150 members by Voting Week in mid-October.
And we did! Our 150th member was 16-year-old student Lucas Bridge from Edmonton, AB who has probably been ringing for most of his young life as his mother, Tammy-Jo Mortensen, was Music Director at Robertson-Wesley United Church until 2019. Lucas is also a very talented fiddler and has studied with none other than Donnell Leahy (of the famous fiddling family and husband of Natalie McMaster) and others during his family visits to NS.