Patty Marquart first heard handbells when she attended a Choristers Guild Seminar in Colorado in the mid-1960s. A few years later, in 1968, as the director of music at the First United Methodist Church of Orange, California (along with her husband), she was asked to help start a handbell program with the church’s new set of memorial handbells. As she took the bells from their individual plastic bags and put them inside their new cases (and, of course, rang each one), she was hooked.

During her years in handbells, Patty directed some of Area 12’s most capable ensembles, both at the Methodist Church in Orange, and then later at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, California. While most groups were competently handling quarter notes (with a few eighth notes thrown in here and there), Patty’s groups wowed audiences at many Area 12 conferences with a repertoire that included Leroy Anderson’s Syncopated Clock and Handel’s Overture to Messiah. It was at Patty’s request that Dr. William Payn wrote two of his compositions, Prism of Light (named after her Trinity bell choir), and Nova, which is dedicated to Patty.

From her beginning as a handbell director with very little formal music education, Patty schooled herself by attending Choristers’ Guild events, Handbell Musicians of America (formerly AGEHR) events, and eventually completed music theory and piano courses at the Santa Ana Community College. Those who attended Area 12 conferences in the 1970s and 80s always looked forward to a stellar performance from Patty’s choirs, and they were not disappointed. Patty is a model for all directors who might begin their musical journey with little experience, but who have a desire to continue to learn and grow.

The Patty Marquart Scholarship assists one director in attending the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar, currently held every summer at a different location within the United States. The current scholarship will award up to $750 toward your registration fees.

Applicants must:

  • Reside within Area 12 (California, Nevada, Hawaii, or Guam)
  • Be attending their first National Seminar
  • Be a member of Handbell Musicians of America (formerly AGEHR)
  • Currently be a director, or have contracted to be a handbell director within Area 12 (including volunteer directors)

2023 Applications will be accepted through May 31, 2023. To be considered, download the application form, fill it out, and email it to the Area 12 Past-Chair at [email protected]. Applicants who submit forms via email should receive a confirmation response within 72 hours; please resend again if there is no confirmation received within that time.

Click here to download the application form