Dear Area 8 Members,

Because of health concerns due to COVID-19, the Area 8 Festival, “More Than Meets the Eye,” scheduled for June 18-20, 2020, has been cancelled as of Friday, April 24, 2020. Because of this unfortunate turn of events, we will not be together in June.  We look forward to future handbell events when we can again gather and make music. Please stay tuned for more information. Check the website, subscribe to Area 8 and state Facebook pages, and read the Quavers, our Area 8 newsletter for more information.

Beth Ann Edwards, Chair
Area 8 Handbell Musicians of America

What’s New this Year

Massed Ringing & Ringing Divisions

Two ringing divisions are available: Gold Division music is primarily level 3-4 and Blue Division is primarily Level 2-3. John Behnke and Alex Guebert are sharing directing responsibilities for both divisions and massed ringing, and Lauran Delancy will conduct one piece selected for massed ringing.

Handbells 101 Track

This non-performing track is designed for beginners and those who direct beginners, teaching the basics of ringing, musicality, and ensemble musicianship. The track will be led by Sharon Schmidt. 

Festival Schedule

Worship Seminar, Directors Seminar, Bonus Warm-up Rehearsal, first BronzeFest rehearsal, and first Youth Fest rehearsal.

Friday and Saturday
Massed ringing, division ringing, concerts, shopping, classes, BronzeFest, and YouthFest.

Showcase Concert

Share your talent in the Showcase Concert!

Are you planning to join us at the Area 8 Festival: “2020 More than Meets the Eye!” this coming June? We’d love for you to consider performing a couple pieces for your fellow registrants during the Showcase Concert on Friday, June 19, from 3:45 to 4:30 pm. Selected ensembles/soloists will have 5-7 minutes for their presentation.

 All ensembles are encouraged to apply: chimes or bells, children’s groups, youth ensembles, adult choirs, soloists, small ensembles, church choirs, and community groups. All performers must be members of Handbell Musicians of America through their director or through their organization, with at least 60% registered for the Festival on the day of the concert.


If you and/or your choir are interested in performing, please contact Pat Latshaw.

Festival Registration

Choirs, partial choirs, and individuals can register beginning January 1. Choirs and partial choirs, please be ready to supply names and email addresses of all attendees. This information will help Festival volunteers communicate with all participants and facilitate class registration before they arrive in Overland Park.

Class Registration

All attendees are asked to sign up for classes before they arrive. When participants sign up for classes, Festival planners can make sure classes and attendees are matched up to best meet their needs. Class descriptions will be available on the website by December 1.

The Festival Committee has been working with Education Chair Patrick Gagnon to offer classes that are the most valuable to attendees. When you register for classes, we will know which classes have hit the mark. If a class does not reach a certain threshold, we can substitute a class that might be more beneficial for ringers and directors. If a class sign-up is large, we will have time to add another section.

How Will This Take Place?
Festival registration will take place beginning January 1 and the process will be similar to previous Festivals, with one exception: Directors are asked to list every attendant’s name and email address. After Festival registration is complete, each attendee will receive an email asking them to select classes or reading sessions they would like to attend. Registrants will also have an opportunity to purchase t-shirts and extras meals, and sign up for BronzeFest, Worship Seminar, Directors Seminar, and Bonus Warm­Up Rehearsal.

Dedicated Shopping Time

In addition to shopping during the Festival, vendor booths will be open on Friday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm for your browsing and shopping pleasure.

Reading Sessions

Evaluations from the 2018 Festival indicated you LOVED reading sessions. They will be offered during every class session. If this is your “jam” you can be in the reading session room as often as you like!

YouthFest Registration and Music Information

YouthFest registration will take place separately and will require a separate registration form.

YouthFest Repertoire (5 pieces)
From 10 Essential Classics vol. 1 Hope Publishing HP2831:
 Bwana Awabariki by Susan Nelson
 Celtic Grace by Susan Geschke
 Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho arr. Martha Lynn Thompson

Inception by Jason Krug, Lorenz Publishing LC202020L

Sucker by Jonas Brothers, arr. by Brian Seeman