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Repertoire Suggestions for Social Distancing

At Malmark, we are committed to helping you and your ringing program succeed. We offer the information below to help you ease back into the program year with confidence. Ringing programs can be successful during this COVID-19 time by following suggested guidelines for safety and choosing options that are right for your community.

We encourage you to review the guidelines frequently and highlight important points below:

  • All participants should monitor their temperatures before rehearsal.
  • Rehearse in a large space or outdoors if possible. (Learn more here about ringing outdoors.)
  • Wear masks and social distance by six feet at least.
  • Rehearse with smaller groups of ringers if possible.
  • Ringers should use the same handbells/handchimes throughout the rehearsal. Do not share instruments or change positions during the rehearsal.
  • Gloves should be worn during rehearsal and laundered after each rehearsal.
  • If possible, each ringer should have their own score and music binder or floor stand.
  • Limit techniques that require handling the clapperhead as they are difficult to sanitize.
  • Be sure to sanitize handbell handles, handchime tubes, mallet shafts and singing bell sticks after each rehearsal.

Perhaps the easiest way to ease you and your ringers back into rehearsal would be to form small groups. There are new resources being composed daily to accommodate the demand for music for smaller ensembles.

8 to 12 Bell Music

  • Create smaller ensembles of four – six ringers using 8 or 12 handbells or handchimes. There are number of ways that these groups can be formed: choose ringers from the same family; choose ringers who have the same level of skill or involve those who can’t commit to an entire year of ringing but may be able to participate for a cycle of 4 – 6 weeks.
  • These smaller ensembles do not require bell changes and therefore, do not need tables. If you are short on rehearsal or performance space, this may be the perfect solution to social distancing while ringing as you can space your ringers throughout the room with music floor stands.
  • There are more resources being published for these small ensembles especially during this time. We’ve compiled a list of 8 – 12 repertoire suggestions for you. Revisit the list often as it will expand.

Social distancing while ringing may be difficult if you do not have space however, we have a solution for you:

Repertoire without Bell Changes

  • If you have space to social distance 11 or more ringers without tables, consider choosing music that has been written for a full choir without key changes. Each ringer in the three octave range of C4 to C7 would have two handbells and could each ring in front of a music floor stand. If space is available, you might consider two – three tables spaced around the venue for bass bell ringers. Another option would be to have more bass ringers using music floor stands as well. Keep in mind the weight of the C3 – B3 handbells and having tables would be ideal!
  • We are pleased to offer this list of repertoire that does not require bell changes and therefore, can be rung with ringers standing in front of floor stands.

If space is available, you can assign each ringer to their own table. The one consideration is that the ringers cannot share handbells during rehearsal under COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Repertoire with No Shared or Borrowed Bells

  • Socially distancing ringers at tables will require a large amount of space and if you’re lucky enough to be able to place ringers at tables that are six feet apart, there are some considerations in choosing repertoire.
  • Use a hybrid set-up and have ringers with two bells ring in front of floor stands and those with three or more handbells/handchimes can use a padded table.
  • One of the aspects of rehearsing safely is that ringers will not share instruments during rehearsal. Once a ringer’s hand touches an instrument, mallet, singing bell stick or other item, no one else should handle it until it is disinfected as described in the guidelines mention earlier in this article.
  • This list of repertoire can be rung without sharing instruments if you are using the appropriate amount of ringers.

On the lists of repertoire above, several titles link to our ChimeWorks® website where a description, sample pages and recordings of the scores are offered. Also available is the ability to purchase and download the music instantly. We are offering you a free one year membership to ChimeWorks. Choose the annual membership option with the promo code: ONEYEARFREE when you register your membership.


ChimeWorks® is a registered trademark by Malmark, Inc. for its online handchime resource community.