18th International Handbell Symposium

cairnsimageThe 18th Internaional Handbell Symposium

Together in Harmony – The Reef and Rainforest Ring

August 6 – 11, 2018

Cairns, tropical North Queensland, Australia

The gateway to Northern Australia.

Cairns is the International city of Tropical North Queensland and has an international airport.

It is the only place where two world heritage listed areas exist side by side – dive the depths of the Great Barrier Reef or soar above the world’s oldest tropical rainforest.  The Cairns region is where two ancient cultures meet. Explore the rich history of the world’s oldest living culture, the aboriginal people, dating back over 40,000 years.  Cairns, also hosts the rich heritage of the Torres Strait Islander people. These islands exist off the coast of Queensland, to the north of Australia.

It is the Australian winter – however weather is similar to what we’ve experienced here in Vancouver this week.

Symposium Day 5

Final Concerts and Farewells

The final day of the International Handbell Symposium is the first time all the parts come together for a dress rehearsal of the final concert.  The Youth Track, Festival Choir, full massed ringing group, and other extra musicians, run the program.  This is also the first time the audience space was open, which changes the acoustics of the room.  In addition, the Vancouver planning team added giant video screens hung from the ceiling of the ringing room so the audience would have a great view of the performers.  So, this was also a technical rehearsal for the audio/visual crew. Continue reading

Symposium Day 4

The Traditions of the International Handbell Symposium

Over its 32-year history, the International Handbell Symposium has developed some wonderful and rich traditions.  These traditions are part of what makes this event so 20160729_093125special. From the flag procession of the opening ceremonies, to the pin & gift exchange, to the cultural experiences offered by each host country; attendees are provided with multiple opportunities to learn about each other and create amazing memories and new friendships. Continue reading

Symposium Day 3

Honoring the First Nations

International Handbell Symposium Day 3 began with an interfaith worship service led by the Rev. Karen Medland of Carman United Church in Chilliwack, BC.  The service honored the spiritualism of the aboriginal people of the First Nations and provided event attendees an opportunity to share their own faith through song and prayer.20160728_142853

Following the service, the day continued much as Day 2; with massed rehearsals, two workshop session, and two mini-concerts.  In addition to the main massed ringing ensemble, the Symposium also offers a youth track.  This year’s track is lead by Tim Waugh of Handbell Musicians of America, and assistant conductor, Imran Amarshi, of Handbell Guilds of Canada. Nineteen young ringers are participating and will perform on a Showcase concert as well as during the final Symposium concert. Continue reading

Symposium Day 2

Massed Ringing, Workshops, and Concerts – Oh My!


Day 2 of the International Symposium offered the first rounds of workshop sessions. Symposium workshops include a variety of topics, related both to handbells and the cultures of the participating countries.  Included in the sessions on Day 2:
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  • Furoshiki – Japanese Wrapping Cloths
  • Writing Chinese Lucky Messages
  • Groove to Bells and Cajon
  • Ringing with a Smaller Number of Bells
  • Composer’s Corner
  • English Style Church Bell Ringing
  • Conducting Make Easy
  • Latin Dance
  • Expressive Conducting Skills
  • Six-in-Hand
  • The Body Bellistic
  • Interpersonal Communications Skills for Handbell Ringers

Continue reading

Welcome to the 17th International Handbell Symposium

Soundings – Music of Our Land and Our Lives – Vancouver 2016

The 17th International Handbell Symposium is under way in Vancouver, Canada.  Over 750 handbell musicians from around the world are gathered here to unite across the boundaries of nationality and language through the music of handbells.

Leaders of the IHC Member Guilds and Executive Director of the IHC gather after the Opening Ceremony

Leaders of the IHC Member Guilds and Executive Director of the IHC gather after the Opening Ceremony.

Activities began yesterday (July 26) with Opening Ceremonies which featured the traditional procession of the flags of the 7 member countries of the International Handbell Committee: the United States, Japan, Great Britain, Korea, Canada, Australasia, and

Hong Kong.  The first massed ringing rehearsal followed as participants had their first opportunity to play through all the repertoire as a group.  Here is a list of the music and conductors featured this week: Continue reading