Wednesday, September 21, 2011

T- 10 days and counting!

Just over 1 year ago our National Board revealed the New Initiatives Campaign (NIC) that they and our Area Leaders had developed for the future of our organization.

July, 20th, 2010:
The wait is over and the proposed new look for the organization has been revealed. AGEHR will be the Handbell Musicians of America. A big part of the new direction being undertaken by the Guild is to recognize ourselves as musicians to be taken seriously by the music world at large. The fabulous concerts at this year’s Pinnacle have proven that we hold a solid place as musicians to be respected. And the name of the organization will reflect that attitude. More information about the exciting new future for our art and our organization will appear on these pages (this blog) as the news evolves.

Can you believe it?? In just 10 days we will officially rebrand to Handbell Musicians of America. HOW EXCITING IS THAT!!! This is really an exciting time here in the national office and for our Area Leaders as we focus on the final details and touches to make this transition complete for the October 1, 2011 deadline.

Be sure to tell us what you think and how you are preparing for the big transition here and on our Facebook page:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Signs of the Times: Fashion Edition

If you check the count down shown in an earlier blog below, you will see that we are at T-39 days as of today, August, 22, 2011 until our re-branding is official. You can also see the signs of the transition in progress all around you on our website, our e-newsletters and Overtones, as well as on the actual new sign hanging on our building.

Now you, your family and friends can ALSO get in on all the re-branding fun with Handbell Musicians of America shirts and outer wear, proudly showing off the new Handbell Musicians of America brand and logo. These are a great way to treat yourself or begin your early holiday shopping for that special ringer on your list this year. So, check out the options available on this site to be among the first to proudly be a fashionable sign of the times!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Program Update from Minneapolis

Its official, the first Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar is one for the history books. Great music, great classes and great people. . . What an event!

If you were there, THANK YOU for all your help in making this a wonderful experience for everyone involved. If you were unable to join us this year then be sure to check out our Facebook posts from last week and some that will be added in the coming week.

In the program, there was a New Initiatives update that we wanted to share with you all this month. If you have any questions please be sure to post them or contact the national office. 1.800.878.5459.

New Initiatives Update

It was just one year ago that AGEHR president, John Pfeiffer, announced a bold new plan from the national board of directors. This New Initiatives Plan included three elements: (1) a technology update, (2) a new name for our organization, and (3) a plan for enhanced member benefits based on a member’s area of interest. AGEHR members demonstrated their support for this plan through an overwhelming response to the fundraising campaign launched to help pay for these new initiatives. So now, one year later, we are pleased to provide this update on the progress of implementing each element and the next steps in the process.

  • As of June 1, 2011 members have pledged a total of $155,281 to support the initiatives and $93,174 has already been collected from those pledges. Well ahead of the planned 3-year schedule.

  • Phase 1 of the plan is basically complete. The new NEON member database is in place and being used every day by the national office staff and our members. Since going live with this system in February, nearly 2000 AGEHR members have activated their NEON member accounts. We continue to find new features and uses for this new technology and will keep working to make this technology work for you to improve your member experience. Cost to date: $27,577. Estimated Remaining Expense: Less than $5,000

  • Phase 2, rebranding, is well underway. The new logo has been finalized. Trademark paperwork has been filed with the U.S. Office of Patents and Trademarks. The new name has been in use in conjunction with our current name on both national and area levels. Area Leaders have made important decisions about how they will implement the change to the new name. National staff has started updating sections of our website to reflect the change to Handbell Musicians of America. Print materials are being updated with the new name and logo. Plans are in place to convert to our new website address – – on October 1. Cost to date: $15,284. Estimated Remaining Expense: Approximately $3,000

  • Progress on Phase 3, the membership plan, has been steady. The task force created to assist the executive director in implementing this phase has had several very productive meetings and is now ready to invite the membership to submit outlines of potential resources for consideration. For details on this Call for Resources, please visit the event registration desk. Cost to date: $6,551. Estimated Remaining Expense: As much as is available so we can develop the best possible resources which are robust and dynamic.
    You can see many more details about our progress in past issues of Overtones and (as you know) by following our blog.

Finally, here is a huge THANK YOU to all who have pledged their support to this project, both through their cash contributions and their willingness to assist in the process.


Mark your calendar today for National Seminar July 18-21, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Signs of the times. . .

If you are looking for it, you will begin to see the signs of our transition to Handbell Musicians of America next October 1st, 2011 all around you.

  • Areas 1-12 have already begun the process of changing from roman numerals to Arabic numerals Check out their events here

  • This year’s seminar is being billed as
    The Handbell Musicians of America
    National Seminar
    an AGEHR event

  • E-Notes our monthly email has had its header modified to read
    Handbell Musicians of America
    an AGEHR publication

  • Today, I even ordered an actual sign of our transition for our front door that will hang under the AGEHR sign

It is really quite exciting as our community moves ever closer to the realization of the second prong of our New Initiatives Campaign with the rebranding to Handbell Musicians of America with the nickname of The Guild on October 1st, 2011 in just 101 days from today!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


June 1st, 2011. . .

a big date in the New Initiatives Campaign.

The keynote address at National Seminar 2009 indicated the need for AGEHR to move in a bold, new direction. During the next year, our National Board utilizing input and ideas gathered from all levels of AGEHR membership focused on creating a plan to achieve that move. Then the following year at Pinnacle 2010 our National Board announced major changes which will serve to transform the face of AGEHR and become the catalyst for handbell musicians to build “a lifetime of ringing.” As a result, AGEHR will invest in the future of our organization by concentrating on three areas.

First will be a COMPLETE OVERHAUL OF TECHNOLOGY, which will bring our handbell community together in exciting new ways. A software solution has already been identified and is undergoing customization to serve the unique needs of our membership. Completion of this phase of the plan is scheduled for June 2011.

Ah, and there it is. . . June 1st 2011 the completion of the “complete overhaul
of the AGEHR technology”. As you may already be aware we have blown this
scheduled date away by having already started providing a wide variety of new
electronic capabilities, benefits and opportunities to our community via the new
and improved structure of our website months ahead of time. While there have
been some transitional hiccups here and there, overall this overhaul has not
just been a huge success but a real boon for our community of musicians. Our
members have already begun enjoying a variety of technological improvements such
as enhanced on-line renewal and account management options, on-line registration
for upcoming national events, as well as new benefits like the Life Time of
Ringing option for ringers. (tutorial information here)

For me, while I am thrilled that we have more than successfully met this June 1st deadline of completing the installation of this new technology, the REAL EXCITING part of this new technology called NEON is that it is a “cloud based,” dynamic system (as opposed to purchased software or hardware) that will continue to grow and develop with us and with the ever changing technological world that we live in over the coming years. This ability to grow and develop means that new benefits and opportunities will continue to be developed and made available to our community thanks to this first milestone in our 3 pronged New Initiatives Campaign.

TimeLine Review:

  • December 2010
    • NEON system works on customization and current member data
    • National office staff begins training
    • National staff reviews data and customization and works with z2Sytems to adjust the NEON system where necessary
    • National office begins converting content of AGEHR website to reflect the new name - Handbell Musicians of America (see example of transitional page here)

  • January 2011
    • Begin using NEON in-house for all member database functions
    • Begin integrating NEON with AGEHR website and make basic features available to membership
    • Begin incorporating our new name into event marketing and branding
    • National Seminar registration opens on-line through NEON

  • March/April 2011
    • Begin incorporating new name into E-newsletters and e-mail messaging
    • More NEON features become available on-line
    • Continue transitioning website

  • June 1, 2011
    • Completion of this phase of the plan
    • 9:00-9:05AM EST national office official happy dance commences
    • 9:06-9:09AM EST resting on laurels while luxuriating in success
    • 9:10AM Right then onward and upwards to . . .

Phase 2: Rebranding 10/1/2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Fine Print

My column in the upcoming issue of Overtones (May/June 2011) shares some information about the process we are now going through to implement our new name by October 1, 2011. In that column I refer you to this blog post to find out all the technical, legal details of that process - or the fine print. So get your reading glasses out - or magnifying glass - or whatever you use and follow closely as I take you through the steps.

  1. Our first step in the process was to determine what approach we would take with our name change. Would this be a complete new corporate entity or just a new brand? A new corporate identity would require a much more elaborate process of amended Articles of Incorporation, revisions to our National By-Laws, and much more. Additionally, it would require the same of each of the 12 Areas. A new brand can be handled through a much simpler process and achieve the goals set by the National Board when they made the decision to implement our new name.

  2. Next, I engaged the law firm of Frost, Brown, Todd and Associates to assist through the legal process of implementing a new brand. Two attorneys there are assisting me - one with the necessary business filings and the other with the trademark elements of the change.

  3. Through several phone calls and consultations with our attorneys, we determined that the best course of action is to file "fictitious name" or "doing business as" paperwork with the State of Ohio, where most of the business for the national office is transacted. Even though we are incorporated in the State of Delaware, we transact very little, if any, national business there. In addition, the laws of that state require that this type of filing take place in the county where the business is located. Since we are not located in Delaware, it would be impossible for us to even file the necessary paperwork.

  4. Additionally, we determined that it would not be necessary for any of the 12 Areas to file any paperwork related to the name change. Our legal name will remain American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. Only our trade name will change. So each Area is operating according to their own Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.

  5. In addition to filing our new Trade Name, we have started the process of registering the new name and logo with the U.S. Office of Patents and Trademarks. Two applications have been submitted for review by that office - one for the actual name, Handbell Musicians of America, and the second for the mark - or the logo without the words. Once approved, we will then license each of the Areas to use these items.

  6. Through this process our new name and logo will be legally protected under trademark law and we will continue to transact business as usual as the Handbell Musicians of America.

So, that wasn't so bad, was it? Not too complicated, I hope. Of course, if you would like more details about any part of this process - please contact me - I will do my best to answer your questions.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name. . .

Handbell Musicians of America

National Seminar

an AGEHR Event

This first Handbell Musicians of America national event, National Seminar, takes place July 14-17, 2011, in Minneapolis at the upscale Hilton Minneapolis. Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar offers a variety of experiences and opportunities for all levels and types of handbell musicians and enthusiasts. Numerous class topics, access to the latest handbell products and literature, a wide range of concert performances, and valuable networking with the best and the brightest in the handbell community.

As I bet you have noticed, the 2011 National Seminar is a dual branded event. If you have been on our website on some of the "deep" pages that receive less traffic, you may have even seen this at work sign:

Slowly but surely, your national office staff and Area Leaders have been working together towards October 1st, 2011 when we make our official name change. In fact just this month, all 12 Area Chairs and other Area Leader representatives meet this month in Minneapolis with the National Board and office staff where we spent a great deal of time discussing the actual pragmatic and logistical changes that need to take place in the coming months. One EXCITING change that your Area Boards voted on is that Handbell Musicians of America will begin using Arabic numerals when referring to our 12 Areas instead of Roman Numerals. The Area Boards also voted to move to a standardized web site naming system. Currently, all the Area's have their own web address' as you can see here there are several variations currently being used by the Areas:

Area 3:

Area 4:

Area 9:

Area 11:

Area 12:

which you can also access on the Area Connections web portal on the AGEHR website. By moving to a single standardized web address for the Areas, handbell musicians and interested individuals from the general public will have an easier time finding us all across the nation. Ringers whether they have moved or are on vacation looking for handbell events and other ringers will be easily able to access not just the national web site and maybe their Area's website but all of our websites! This further helps to brand us as one community working together to ensure the future of our community and our art.

So, as we move ever closer to October 1st be sure to not only keep your eyes peeled for the dual branding of our organization during the transition, but also help us to spread the word with your fellow ringers, directors, composers and other handbell enthusiasts!