This past weekend we traveled with our home bell group to the Fall Handbell Workshop in Redding, Califormia. Nancy Schmitt, the Area 12 chair for Northern California, puts on a wonderful day long handbell workshop and festival every year. In only a day she manages to squeeze in massed ringing and classes for both new and experienced ringers on the beautiful campus of Simpson University. Barbra Meinke was this year’s massed ringing director, and she did a wonderful job leading the participants through some rather difficult music in a very short amount of time. For the more advanced ringers, Larry Sue came and ran an advanced group the night before the festival. During the event, participants got the opportunity to attend classes on everything from percussion techniques to hand damping to creating a brand identity (taught by us!). At the end of the day the public was invited to hear the massed ringing and watch local groups show off their skills.
Of all the small area festivals I have been to over the years, the Fall Ring in Redding is definitely my favorite. Nancy does a great job creating a fast paced and exciting event with all the details covered, down to the fantastic fall decorations. I really enjoy the one day mix of massed ringing and classes. At Redding all the groups come with the music somewhat prepared so the massed ringing feels more like a jam session and less like a rehearsal. The same group of musicians tends to come every year which gives the entire day a family feeling.
Thank you Nancy for organizing an awesome event. Also, thanks for allowing Bryce and I to teach this year. We had a great time teaching, and it was good practice for something we hope to do more of.
If your group is looking for something to do mid-October, be sure to keep an eye out for the next Redding Handbell Festival. You will have a great time! I guarantee it!