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Another year has gone by, and with it comes some reflection. I was recently asked to do a training class for our folks on the history of Jeffers Handbell Supply. While that is minuscule compared to the hundreds of years that musical handbells have been around, it is a long time in my frame of reference. But going back over the records I was reminded of how far the entire handbell community has progressed in the last 35 years. But that is the past. Where are handbells and handchimes going in the future? AGEHR thinks the future resides in community groups and in our instrument being more accepted by other musicians. What about schools? Music Therapy? Do you think that churches will include them more in their services?
At the end of 2009 Jill was approached by Mary Scovel about a new product idea. Mary's background is that of a music therapist, and she had been using handchimes for many years. She did this with music charts that did not require the ringers to read music. She and many other music therapists have had to make these by hand and her idea was a set of preprinted charts. Working with her, we helped her to develop Chimers Charts™. When I saw them I was excited, because I could see the potential for them to be used in many different environments. I thought about day care and kindergarten, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, retirement communities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes. Take a moment and see how they can be put to use by you. Our plans are to produce additional sets that will add to your ability to help others to make music.
Earlier this year AGEHR made an enormous announcement. They are going to change their name to the Handbell Musicians of America and change the direction of the organization. That is a major break with the past and their history. I understand the reasons they have given and hope that they are right. How are they planning to grow the handbell and handchime communities? I look forward to seeing the plans as they roll them out and implement them and hope that the name does not leave out handchime ringers.
We have a lot of thoughts about the future and will bring out more to help the community in the coming year. Please let us know your thoughts and what you think is going to happen, needs to happen, or just would like to have happen.