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It’s Showtime!

Previous Posts By guest blogger, PL Grove The three showcase concerts at the 18th International Handbell Symposium in Cairns had elegance, pizzazz, costumes, fun, and a few other surprises. The first concert was held on Tuesday afternoon, soon after the start of the...

The Cultural Experience

Previous Posts Cultural Excursion A big part of every International Handbell Symposium is the opportunity to learn more about the culture of the host country. For Australia, that meant a visit to Rainforestation Nature Park located in the Kuranda Rain Forest just a...

IHS Workshops

Previous Posts It's Workshop Day at IHS! From guest blogger, PL Grove It's the first of two workshop days at the International Handbell Symposium, and while that means a little bit more chaos (as bells and foam gets schlepped around), it also means more fun! The day...

IHS 2018 – Youth Festival

by | Aug 6, 2018 | Symposium Blog |

The 18th International Handbell Symposium is hosted by the Handbell Society of Australasia in the city of Cairns, Queensland in the far northeast region of Australia.

Founded through the joint efforts of David Davidson of Handbell Musicians of America and Sun Joo Shin of Handbell Ringers of Japan, the mission of the IHS is to promote communication between nations, handbells as a musical art, and world peace through the spirit of music.  In conjunction with the Symposium, the International Handbell Committee was formed and currently includes member guilds representing eight countries:

  • Handbell Musicians of America (HMA)
  • Handbell Ringers of Japan (HRJ)
  • Handbell Ringers of Great Britain (HRGB)
  • Korean Handbell Association (KHA)
  • Handbell Guilds of Canada (HGC)
  • Handbell Society of Australasia (HSA)
  • Handbell Association of Hong Kong (HAHK)
  • Handbell Ringers of Singapore (HRSG)

Hosting responsibilities for each Symposium rotate through these eight guilds every two years.

Official IHS activities start Monday evening, but the inaugural International Youth Handbell Symposium concluded Sunday evening  with a public concert featuring performances from each participating choir, two massed pieces conducting by Emily Li of Hong Kong, and mini-concerts from the Hong Kong Youth Handbell Choir, the Hakuoh University Handbell Choir and the Kinjo Gakuin Handbell Choir from Japan.

Emily Li conducts a massed ringing piece at the International Youth Handbell Symposium

Seven youth ensembles, almost all school-based choirs, from all over Australia participated in this weekend event.  Massed ringing rehearsals began Friday afternoon with HSA conductors working on music and technique basics before turning the group over to Emily Li of Hong Kong on Sunday to develop musicianship and add the final polish in preparation for the Sunday evening concert.  Some participating groups began ringing as recently as just 6 months ago and most had never participated in any type of group ringing event before this.

I enjoyed the concert with several other HMA representatives as well as some international friends.  We were all impressed by the enthusiasm of these young musicians and enjoyed their varied performances.  The inclusion of performances by the advanced ensembles from Hong Kong and Japan made the whole event inspiring on multiple levels and showed all that is possible for the future of handbell ringing.

Concert Program:

I still Call Australia Home, arr. by Timothy Sherlock performed by All Hallows’ School Handbell Choir, Brisbane, Queensland

Cool Cats, by Kathleen Wissinger performed by Mercy College Handbell Choir, Mackay, Queensland

Waltzing Matilda (Australian and Queensland versions) arr. by Barbara McKeever performed by Ambrose Treacy College Handbell Choir, Brisbane, Queensland

Gigue from Sonata in F Major Opus 11, No 1, 4th Movement, arr. by Ron Mallory performed by Canberra Girls Grammar School Handbell Choir, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

You Raise Me Up, arr. by Joel Raney performed by St. Monica’s College Handbell Choir, Cairns, Queensland

Wizards in Winter, arr. by Rima Greer and Tim Waugh performed by St. Andrew’s Catholic College Handbell Choir, Cairns, Queensland

Bound for South Australia, arr. by Alex Guebert performed by South Australian Youth Handbell Ensemble, Adelaide, South Australia

Massed Ringing Pieces

Thy Holy Wings, Cathy Moklebust

Tin O O, Fu-yu Lin, arr. Emily Li