Submitted by Shane Kennedy, Alabama State Chair
This spring has provided numerous opportunities for handbell choirs and enthusiasts to participate in festivals and enjoy concerts. Here is a recap of our festival season and upcoming concerts to close out the school year.
Central Alabama and TVHA Festivals
The weekend of February 28-March 1, was especially busy for ringers with both the Central Alabama Adult/Youth Handbell Festival in Bessemer, just southwest of Birmingham AL (Clinician Tim Waugh) and the Tennessee Valley Handbell Association Festival in Huntsville in North Alabama (Clinician Shane Kennedy). Both events, as massed-ring festivals, run a similar schedule for the Friday-Saturday event, with choir setup and a directors’ workshop on Friday followed by a round of evening rehearsals with the clinician. Saturday begins with morning rehearsal sessions and some short breaks. The festival concludes in mid-afternoon with a public concert featuring all the participating choirs preforming together the festival repertoire along with one or more solo choir offerings.
North Alabama Young Ringers Festival
On March 15 the annual North Alabama Young Ringers Festival was held in Huntsville at Good Shepherd Catholic Church. This event offers the unique opportunity for youth-age choirs to participate in a massed-ring setting. Led by clinician Dave VanderMeer of Atlanta GA, the ringers not only rehearsed the festival repertoire but also got several lessons in rhythm with Dave’s power point “chopsticks” rhythm exercises. After some well-earned ice cream sandwiches mid-afternoon, the festival ended with a public concert of all the choirs performing and a solo choir performance by the youth bells of First United Methodist Huntsville.
Spring Ring 2014
The Alabama Baptist Convention sponsored the annual Spring Ring in Montgomery at the Eastmont Baptist Church on Saturday April 5. The festival presented an opportunity for Southern Baptists from across Alabama to gather in a massed-ring setting for rehearsal and fellowship. The participants presented a concert of the festival repertoire in the afternoon to close out the festival.
Embellishments, Birmingham’s community handbell ensemble, presented a spring concert entitled: Ring Around the World, on Sunday April 27 at 3:00pm at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham AL. Led by director Phyllis Kirk, this concert featured handbell music representing widely diverse musical traditions from across the globe.