About Area 12

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 has a code of ethics to define interactions between board members and between members in the area:

Code of Ethics

Respect for the communities we work with and serve.

Integrity in our actions.

Responsibility for our decisions and their consequences, be they individual or corporate.

Honor our mission to educate, motivate, and nurture fellowship, joy, and excellence in handbell and handchime music, thus promoting the open exchange of ideas. 

We are committed to:

    • Acting honestly, truthfully, and with integrity in all our transactions and dealings.

    • Treating every individual with dignity and respect—all races, ages, systems of belief, sexes, abilities, sexual orientations, financial circumstances, families, life experiences, ethnicities, gender identities, nationalities, colors.

    • Avoiding conflicts of interest, disclosing conflicts of interest, and updating the board if these change.

    • Appropriately handling actual or apparent conflicts in our relationships, using Area 12 conflict resolution procedures agreed to by the board.

    • Treating our members/volunteers/clinicians with respect, fairness, and good faith.

    • Providing conditions that safeguard the rights and welfare of all participants.

    • Being a good corporate citizen and complying with both the spirit and the letter of the law.

    • Acting responsibly toward the music communities with which we work and for the benefit of the communities that we serve.

    • Being responsible, transparent, and accountable for all of our actions.

Area 12 consists of members in California, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. To best serve our membership, Area 12 has several regional coordinators within our region, who support local areas throughout Area 12. lThe state of Hawaii has its own regional coordinator. The state of California is broken out into five regional areas – Southern California, Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, Central California, San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California – each of which has its own coordinator. The state of Nevada is split into Northern and Southern regions. While Guam is officially a part of Area 12, there are not yet enough members from that region to appoint a local coordinator, so it is currently served by our Hawaii regional coordinator.

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, chair elect, past chair, treasurer and secretary) and non-elected/appointed positions (Communications Director, Education Director, Events Director, Historian, Membership Director, Webmaster, Vendor Liaison, Social Media Liaison, eight Regional Coordinators and a District Liaison). 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 support of our membership.

In order to provide further opportunities for music education, Area 12 hosts an educational bell/chime loan program. Participation is open to members of the Guild in Area 12 who are involved in educational programs at private and public schools/universities, and instruments are loaned for a fixed period of time along with general instructions as well as access to a consultant to offer support to program leaders. 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, as well as new directors. For more information on the various scholarships offered by Area 12, see the Education & Scholarships section of this website.

Area 12 also supports and recognizes members in our area who go above and beyond to further handbells within Area 12 through our Honorary Service Awards.  

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 Twelfth 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 Twelfth Tone e-newsletter, see the Twelfth Tone section of this website. We area also active on social media (Facebook – via our main page as well as various regional pages, Twitter, YouTube). 

In addition to local and regional events offered throughout the year, Area 12 puts on one area-wide conference biennially. The location of this conference primarily 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 (and play) new and exciting music for handbells. To find out information about the next Area 12 conference, visit the Area 12 Conferences page on this website. To find out more about smaller, more local or regional 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.