Fans of handbells and fans of Christmas are in for a treat this year at malls, parks, and other public venues across the country at Great Christmas Ring events. The Great Christmas Ring is a mass ring event for English handbells and handchimes.
Phillip Lanier, head composer for Lanier Music Services - http://www.laniermusicservices.com (http://www.laniermusicservices.com)
At mass rings there can be an overwhelming amount of equipment, planning and logistics. Lanier says that, “Most bell choirs have to tote around tables, pads, bells, music stands, mallets, and a host of other equipment that make attending or planning a mass ring overwhelming.”
In the Great Christmas Ring, a host bell ensemble invites other local ringers to join them at the mass event. The music is designed to be learned quickly, with a minimum of techniques, so that more experienced musicians can sight read it, and less experienced musicians can learn it with little rehearsal time. Lanier explains, “Giving up valuable rehearsal time in the Christmas season is very difficult for most handbell directors. This event is designed to offer public audiences a quality, fun experience with minimal rehearsal time. All the arrangements are approachable, and many have some musical surprises sure to please crowds of all ages.”
Says Hart, “It’s a fun event that gets the handbells out in public, celebrates the Christmas season, is affordable and achievable for any bell choir with minimal planning and minimal effort. It allows handbell musicians to come together for the fun and impressive experience of mass ringing without the usual overwhelming requirements of equipment management.”
Phillip Lanier arranged all the music for The Great Christmas Ring, while Neesa Hart is the logistical mind behind the event. Every ringer who participates will receive a Great Christmas Ring button -- Hart plans to change the button annually -- and has the opportunity to purchase other memorabilia from the handbell event. The Great Christmas Ring has its own website -- http://frickandfrackmusic.com/