Great Christmas Ring for Handbells Now Available

Phillip Lanier and Neesa Hart announce the availability of The Great Christmas Ring -- a resource for 3 octaves handbell choirs for mass ringing in public venues during the Christmas season.
STAFFORD, Va. - May 25, 2014 - PRLog -- Stafford Regional Handbell Society and Lanier Music Services announce launch of The Great Christmas Ring for English Handbells

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 -  and Neesa Hart, programming director of the Stafford Regional Handbell Society have teamed up to bring an exciting new marriage of Christmas and Handbells.  According to Phillip Lanier, “While handbells are an ancient instrument, the use of handbells has been evolving into a newly emerging market of community performances.  Handbell musicians are looking for ways to get the bells out of their traditional church setting and into the world.  Christmas is the perfect opportunity.”  Hart struck upon the idea for The Great Christmas Ring after seeing a handbell mass ring at a festival near her home.  “It occurred to me that handbells are one of the few instruments that are played en masse.”  In a mass ring, handbell ensembles come together to ring music in a public setting.  “I started thinking about the possibility of holding a handbell mass ring in the Christmas Season when handbells are so popular with audiences.”

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 contrast, The Great Christmas Ring is designed for a 3 octave bell ensemble to perform in public with no pads or tables required. The music is all diatonic -  no accidentals;  all in the key of “c;” and every arrangement is 2 pages -- so no page turns.  Hart explains, “That means all a bell group needs for a successful event is 2 bells per musician and one music stand for each pair of ringers. The entire event is performed off table to make set up and planning a snap.”  Typically, handbell mass rings require very large spaces to accommodate all the tables and pads.  A Great Christmas Ring event fits into a relatively small space since all the ringers stand throughout the event.

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 --  where the music and complete details are available.   There’s even a macot -- The Great Christmas Ring Bellephant because, as Hart explains, “The Great Christmas Ring is a mammoth good time.”

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Tags:Handbells, Phillip Lanier, Christmas Handbells, Lanier Music Services
Industry:Arts, Music
Location:Stafford - Virginia - United States
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