I would like to share with you the story of a young lady who had the opportunity to perform with other young musicians and learn conducting skills at Pinnacle and Distinctly Teen, events that exist because of the continued support of our members and backers.

Elisa Younger started playing handchimes in the Dickens Handchime Choir when she was eight. The choir is composed of very young children through high school and college students. During her junior and senior years of high school she was given the opportunity to direct the group.

She began playing handbells in the beginning group at church when she was 11 and was quickly placed in the performing ensemble. The first time she played handbells was at a Concordia University Irvine Concert Handbells performance, in which her older sister played.

Elisa said, “At the end of the performance, they invited up people who had never played handbells before to play a song. I was only nine, but I knew after that, I wanted to be in the group when I got older.”

Elisa Younger directs one of the pieces in the Distincty Teen concert as student conductor this past summer.

This past summer, the Dickens Handchime Choir was invited to showcase at Pinnacle. Elisa agreed to do it mostly for her younger sister, who had not gotten to travel as much as she had. She also decided to attend Distinctly Teen. She said, “Distinctly Teen, then, was just part of the whole experience, so saying yes to the showcase was also saying yes to Distinctly Teen.” Soon after she and her sister informed their director that they would be going, the director asked Elisa if she would like to audition for the student conductor position. Although she was pretty busy at the time, she agreed to find a time to do it. She and her director were not able to meet at the same time, so she recorded her audition on an iPad during a regular rehearsal.

Elisa said, “Just a few weeks before the convention I learned how to play four-in-hand. So when we got to the event and had to play our parts on handbells for the first time (our choir only has handchimes), I was very overwhelmed. I improved so much that week. I was also observed and coached by my now private teacher Nancy Jessup, whom I had met when my sister was at Concordia. She and Mr. Nick Hansen taught me so much over those few days, not only in playing, but also in directing.”

Elisa’s favorite part about directing was being able to work with Nick Hanson. She said, “We had a meeting the day my group arrived. He had me practice for him and then he showed me what to do differently. During the rehearsals with the group, he gave me control of the group, but he also would help me when I asked. He fully prepared me for the final performance.”

Her favorite part about playing was being able to play “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic.

“It was a fun experience, especially because all the other players were excellent,” Elisa commented. “We were able to make it sound the way we had heard it…being able to play with other young ringers who were much better than I was an awesome experience. It was fun and challenging and I will never forget it.”

Elisa is attending Concordia University Irvine. She made it to their top group her first semester, and she plans on playing and going on tour with them for the next four years. Once she finishes college, she says she will consider taking the opportunity of restarting the handbell choir at her church.

During this holiday season, please make a gift to Handbell Musicians of America
so we can continue to offer events such as Pinnacle and Distinctly Teen
and pave the way for young musicians like Elisa
to make her mark in the world of music and handbells.

How to Help

Membership dues cover just the basic operational expenses. In order to continue offering robust resources, educational events, Overtones, and other member benefits; or to develop new services and tools for all handbell musicians, additional contributions are needed. While gifts of any amount are welcomed, consider how donations to the general fund can support our mission:

  • $85 sends one student to the College Ring-In
  • $125 gives registration for one young person to attendDistinctly Teen
  • $150 supports the development of a new online educational resource
  • $200 funds one Back to Bells workshop for 10 people
  • $500 helps create live educational webinar events
  • $1000 provides infrastructure to live-stream performances and classes from National Seminar

Follow the link below to make your tax-deductible donation now.

Thank you very much for your attention and your continued support of both the mission and vision of Handbell Musicians of America.

Best Regards,

Jennifer Cauhorn