Christmas Handbells

You are invited to participate in the LA Metro Christmas Handbells — Virtual Massed Ring Event. The Event consists of a half-day Virtual Massed Ring (workshop) on Saturday, November 21, 2020, and a Watch Party on Sunday, December 6, 2020. The end result of this event will be virtual handbell ensemble videos of two Christmas pieces that can be played at the participant’s places of worship during the Advent or Christmas seasons. The videos will also be used in the Pasadena Symphony’s virtual Christmas program, Home for the Holidays. You do not need to be in the LA Metro Region of Handbell Musicians of America to participate.

Our clinician is Alex Guebert, whose thoughtful direction brings out the very best in the music and the handbell musicians. 

Usually the first question asked is how will this work? Just like in Spring Rings, participants will be expected to purchase the music ahead of time and “learn” their parts. At registration you will be asked to designate what part you intend to play so that we can ensure all parts are covered in the final product. (You can also ask us to assign you to a part we need filled.) Then on November 21st we will hold the virtual workshop. On November 21st the workshop will consist of multiple pre-recorded rehearsal segments that participants can ring along with. These segments will be viewed from the ringer’s perspective, just like if you were at a Spring Ring, but better, because you won’t have to move or lean to see around someone that is 6’5”.

After the video segments, there will be panel discussions in which participants can ask questions about the rehearsal video. There will also be a video that will serve as the recording track for the participants. Once the workshop is over, you will be asked to record your part for both of the pieces and submit your video(s).

Then the magic happens! On Sunday, December 6th, we will have a short “Watch Party” for the participants to get together, view the virtual ensemble pieces, and celebrate this unique effort. After the watch party, we will provide access to download the videos for participants to use.

This may sound a little scary, but we will walk you through the process and have instructions. In fact, there will be a video on how to record your submission available prior to the workshop that will be shown and discussed during the workshop. Additionally, we will host a Zoom call immediately after the workshop, solely to answer questions regarding video recording and submission.

Each participant will need to purchase the music and there is a nominal $15 participation fee for HMA members and $25 participation fee for Non-HMA members or for those who register after November 15th. There are some scholarships available, so don’t let cost be a deterrent to your participation. Also please note that there are advertising opportunities available. Contact Sharon Guilliams about scholarships or advertising.

Because this is a first of its kind event, we have opportunities to donate or help sponsor the event. Our “Friends of Christmas Handbells” will be acknowledged in a special way during both the workshop and watch party. Additionally, their names will be included in the finished product “credits” at the end. Contact Sharon Guilliams about sponsorship levels and how to donate. 

Please let your churches know about this opportunity to have bells in their Advent and Christmas services or concerts. Tell your friends and let’s bring bells to Christmas.

For any questions, please contact Sharon Guilliams at

Link for Watch PartySunday, 12/6, 5pm PT

For those that are wondering what inspired this event. For Pentecost, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians created a virtual ensemble video consisting of instrumentalists and vocalists. This video was played in hundreds of Lutheran Churches on Pentecost Sunday. I, Sharon Guilliams, was impressed but also a little bummed that there were no handbells. More information about the Lutheran Virtual Hymn can be found at I was also disappointed that we are not able to plan and execute a Christmas Concert or prepare those big pieces for Christmas Eve. Additionally, inspired by the success of Area 12’s virtual conference, I had been in discussions with folks about planning a virtual Spring Ring which would include massed ringing. Out of all of this, Christmas Handbells — Virtual Massed Ring Event was born.