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History of Handbell Musicians of Canada

(February 2019 - present)

Handbell Musicians of Canada (HMC) became the new national organization for Canadian handbell musicians in 2019 replacing the previous national body, Handbell Guilds of Canada (HGC).

After many years of discussion at the HGC Board of Directors table, it was determined that a new model of governance was needed to be inclusive of all handbell musicians, supporting businesses, and provincial handbell organizations. The governance model changed from provincial handbell guilds being the members of the national organization to individual membership in order to address the following concerns:

  • Many Canadian handbell musicians were unrepresented and unsupported by HGC as not all provinces/territories had a provincial/territorial guild;
  • Communication was unsuccessful across the whole nation due to the lack of provincial/territorial guilds in some regions of the country;
  • Collaboration among the existing provincial guilds was difficult, particularly focusing on provincial and federal incorporation regulations, as some guilds were incorporated provincially, some were incorporated federally, and some were not incorporated at all; and,
  • Each provincial guild had its own specific bylaws, protocols, and operating procedures to properly address the needs of their provincial handbell community.

The inaugural meeting of the Handbell Musicians of Canada (HMC) was held on February 23, 2019 defining the end of the organization known as Handbell Guilds of Canada (HGC). All present were willing to let their names stand for the HMC Interim Board of Directors.The Interim Board has developed Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and Protocols and Operating Procedures for the new organization. HMC is incorporated as a non-profit organization and is pending charitable status.. This new status allows the organization to easily interact with the existing provincial guilds for the purpose of joint events and financial ventures.

The Interim Board of Directors has chosen to continue with some legacy aspects from the HGC organization including the logo design and the awards.

HMC Logo

The HGC logo has been adopted with the wording change from ‘Guilds’ to ‘Musicians’ to be inclusive of all musicians that make up the Canadian Handbell community, including ringers, conductors, composers, educators, supporting businesses and provincial guilds.


The Carol Petrie Memorial Award and the HMC Honourary Lifetime Achievement Award have both been continued by HMC. Policies and processes related to these awards can be found here.

HMC and the International Handbell Committee

HMC is a member of the International Handbell Committee (IHC). The International Handbell Committee was formed in 1990 to set standards and goals for the biannual International Handbell Symposium (IHS). The committee is made up of the presidents and other representatives of the seven guilds that currently share in hosting the event – Handbell Ringers of Japan, Handbell Society of Australasia, Korean Handbell Association,Handbell Musicians of Canada, Handbell Ringers of Great Britain, Handbell Association of Hong Kong, Handbell Ringers of Singapore, and Handbell Musicians of America.

For each Symposium, Canada sends a representative Canadian Conductor and also submits a new Canadian Composition to be rung at the massed ringing session component of the Symposium.

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