As I near the end of my term as Chair of Area 6 of the Handbell Musicians of America, I must reflect on the many wonderful opportunities this position has afforded me. It has been a pleasure to serve along with so many gifted colleagues who have brought to the table creative ideas, enthusiasm for the art of handbell ringing and a true concern for each other. The time together spent with the folks that serve on your board is one of the things that I enjoyed the most and I will look forward to for the next two years as I serve in the capacity of Past Chair. Beyond the enjoyment of working with the Area 6 board, it has been my pleasure to meet and work with nationally known clinicians, composers, and other area leaders, as well as the National Board of the Handbell Musicians of America.
The success of the Magnolia Ring was a highlight of my tenure. It was due to the incredible energy of the Area 6 board and their desire to make it a memorable event. There were so many highlights to the festival that it is hard to name them. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones who share the love for ringing created cherished moments as did the many inspirational concerts, worship service and banquet. The positive attitudes of each attendee, the concentration during rehearsals, the excitement about the classes and a superb final concert are all things that we took away from this event and we, as your board, can be affirmed that our years of planning and nurturing this event paid off.
I would be remiss if I did not say a personal thank you to those who will be rotating off of the Area 6 Board and have served faithfully for the past four (plus) years. They are: Phyllis Kirk, Past Chair; Ruth Howald, Treasurer; Bill Moats, Alabama State Chair; Evy Lamb, Arkansas State Chair; Tom Jones, Louisiana State Chair; and Kathy Mahloch, Chime Chair. Also I want to especially thank Mary Caldwell who served as Registrar for Magnolia Ring. Best wishes to these friends as they continue using their gifts in service to others. They have all given so much to Area 6 and a mere “thank you” seems inadequate.
Looking to the future, I see even brighter opportunities. You have elected strong leadership with Andrew Duncan as your Chair, Sondra Tucker as Chair-Elect, Kathy Milstead as Secretary, and Holly Eaton as Treasurer. They, together with your state representatives (Shane Kennedy, Alabama; Janet Gingerich, Arkansas; Mary Caldwell, Louisiana; Larry Smith, Mississippi; Gary Bynum, Tennessee), new Chime Chair Evy Lamb, and Webmaster, Jennifer Griffin, will bring fresh ideas and excitement to the Area 6 Board. Plans are well underway for the 2015 festival in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We are expecting it to be a fantastic event that you will not want to miss. The 2015 festival is a major focus for the Area 6 board, but we are also looking for creative ways to advance the art of ringing handbells. These festivals are valuable events for your folks to meet other bell ringers and share their experiences.
We hope that your year is filled with enjoyable times of making beautiful music and good health. We look forward to seeing you in Murfreesboro.
Dan Lawhon, Past Chair, Area 6, Handbell Musicians of America