The mission of Area 12 of the Handbell Musicians of America or the Guild (formerly known as the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers or AGEHR) is to educate, motivate and nurture fellowship, joy and excellence in handbell and handchime music. The primary objectives of the organization are to educate and to promote the exchange of ideas relating to handbell and handchime ringing and to sponsor educational activities (excluding direct competition between choirs, ensembles and/or ringers).
Area 12 consists of four main regions: California, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. The state of California is broken out into five regional categories – Southern California, Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, Central California, San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California – each of which has its own section of this website. Nevada is split by North and South. And while Guam is officially a part of Area 12, there are not many members from that region.
Area 12 was incorporated in 1979 as a 501c3 nonprofit organization and, as such, is run by a Board of Directors. Currently the Board’s makeup consists of elected positions (chair, treasurer and secretary) and non-elected/appointed positions (Communications Director, Events Director, Education Director, Historian, Webmaster, Vendor Liaison and eight Regional Coordinators). The Board meets at least twice a year (in the fall and in the spring) to approve the budget and conduct general business, as well as plan for area events.
In order to provide further opportunities for music education, Area 12 hosts an educational bell/chime loan program. Participation is limited to members of the Guild in Area 12 who are involved in certain types of educational programs, and instruments are loaned for a fixed period of time. For more information on the bell/chime loan program, see the Education & Scholarships section of this website.
Another way that Area 12 promotes handbell education is through several scholarships. Guild members who are first-time attendees to the biennial Area 12 conference or the National Seminar may qualify for scholarship funds. For more information on the various scholarships offered by Area 12, see the Education & Scholarships section of this website.
As an Area 12 member, we want you to stay informed of what’s going on. A great way to do that is to sign up to receive the 12th Tone e-newsletter. This monthly e-mail will alert you to upcoming events and new additions and changes to this website. To sign up for the 12th Tone e-newsletter, see the 12th Tone section of this website.
In addition to local and regional events, Area 12 puts on one major conference biennially (every other year). The location of this conference moves around California, and is held in Nevada and Hawaii on a periodic basis. (To date, there has not been a conference held in Guam.) This conference is a great way to network with other ringers and directors, take amazing classes from some of the best teachers and clinicians in the country, and hear new and exciting music for handbells. To find out information about the next major Area 12 conference, visit the Area 12 Conference page on this website. To find out more about smaller, more local events, visit the Events section of this website and click on your specific region.
The Area 12 Board hopes you find your membership in the Handbell Musicians of America helpful to you in making music with handbells. We encourage you to tell others about the benefits of becoming a member of the Guild and all the great things that are happening in Area 12.