by Mya Dundzila

Are you lucky enough to get new ringers in your group every year? Whether you are the director or a ringer, in a church, school, or community setting, there are lots of ways to roll out the welcome mat for your new ringers.

Mya Dundzila
Regional Membership Coordinator

The first time most current members will meet your new ringer is at the initial rehearsal so offering a brief introduction is always a good idea. I suggest a “short but wide” biography given by the director or the assigned mentor, sort of like a movie teaser. For example: “Dorothy just moved into the area from Kansas looking for a calmer climate. She and her dog Toto enjoy hiking and watching old movies. Dorothy started ringing handbells at her high school in Oz.” By mentioning multiple places and interests, you maximize the opportunity for other ringers to find common ground with Dorothy. You never know what might be the spark for future conversations or shared interests with others in your group.

As soon as reasonably possible, post the new ringer’s photo on your group’s webpage and social media sites. This would also be a great opportunity to publicly promote former ringers to an “alumni” status – this might help the new ringer see that he/she has joined something continuous by linking the past and present members.

If you have any videos or pictures of your group in a performance setting, share those with the new member. This will help reinforce the need for commitment and cohesion within your group.

Do you have time for an icebreaker activity during rehearsal? My favorite game is based on the “what’s your favorite tool in your toolbox?” question which could easily be adapted to “favorite item in your bell bag?” or “favorite picture on your phone?”

Another rehearsal effort that can really help new ringers is a simple name tag over the front of the notebooks, at least during the first few rehearsals. This might help the new ringer form his/her own name associations.

Please consider sending the link to the Handbell Musicians of America homepage (www.handbellmusicians.org) to your new ringers. All ringers (not just new) might enjoy learning about national and area events and opportunities.

Something else to consider is that a welcome mat has many sides. If you’re not comfortable with the higher-visibility position of “mat roller,” you can always support the sides of the (virtual) welcome mat with a smile or a handshake with the new ringers in your group. Everyone can help maintain your group’s welcome mat with politeness, openness, and a sincere interest in the new ringer.

If you’re lucky enough to attract new ringers to your handbell group, maybe you’re “lucky enough.”

Mya Dundzila
mdundzila@handbellmusicians.org

The first time most current members will meet your new ringer is at the initial rehearsal so offering a brief introduction is always a good idea. I suggest a “short but wide” biography given by the director or the assigned mentor, sort of like a movie teaser. For example: “Dorothy just moved into the area from Kansas looking for a calmer climate. She and her dog Toto enjoy hiking and watching old movies. Dorothy started ringing handbells at her high school in Oz.” By mentioning multiple places and interests, you maximize the opportunity for other ringers to find common ground with Dorothy. You never know what might be the spark for future conversations or shared interests with others in your group.

As soon as reasonably possible, post the new ringer’s photo on your group’s webpage and social media sites. This would also be a great opportunity to publicly promote former ringers to an “alumni” status – this might help the new ringer see that he/she has joined something continuous by linking the past and present members.

If you have any videos or pictures of your group in a performance setting, share those with the new member. This will help reinforce the need for commitment and cohesion within your group.

Do you have time for an icebreaker activity during rehearsal? My favorite game is based on the “what’s your favorite tool in your toolbox?” question which could easily be adapted to “favorite item in your bell bag?” or “favorite picture on your phone?”

Another rehearsal effort that can really help new ringers is a simple name tag over the front of the notebooks, at least during the first few rehearsals. This might help the new ringer form his/her own name associations.

Please consider sending the link to the Handbell Musicians of America homepage (www.handbellmusicians.org) to your new ringers. All ringers (not just new) might enjoy learning about national and area events and opportunities.

Something else to consider is that a welcome mat has many sides. If you’re not comfortable with the higher-visibility position of “mat roller,” you can always support the sides of the (virtual) welcome mat with a smile or a handshake with the new ringers in your group. Everyone can help maintain your group’s welcome mat with politeness, openness, and a sincere interest in the new ringer.

If you’re lucky enough to attract new ringers to your handbell group, maybe you’re “lucky enough.”

Mya Dundzila
mdundzila@handbellmusicians.org

Mya Dundzila
Regional Membership Coordinator


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