This Month

National Board Election Results

National Seminar Silent Auction

Website Spotlight

Music Notes from John Behnke

Subscribe to Enotes


NEW MAILING ADDRESS Please note that any payments sent to the Guild should now go to the following address:

Handbell Musicians of America
PO Box 145400
Mail Location 521
Cincinnati, OH 45250

This includes membership renewal, contributions, event registration payments, invoice payments, etc. Also note that general correspondence that does NOT include a check payment should still be sent to our Dayton office address – 1055 E. Centerville Station Road, Dayton, OH  45459.

National Events

Help build a pension for the Guild, by contributing to the HERITAGE FUND


If you’ve not yet seen our first ever Virtual Handbell Ensemble, have a look HERE. Help us get as much exposure as possible by commenting and sharing.

Member Rewards

Must be logged in to your Handbell Musicians of America Account. Discount will be applied at checkout.


The Care and Feeding of Youth Handbell Choirs

Barbara Brocker teaches you how to use bell trees in various worship settings. Also learn about selecting music and equipment

Visit Handbell Musician Resources>>


National Board Election Results

The Handbell Musicians of America membership has selected new board members to take office in October.

This year’s new online voting system was very successful with its ease of use, the ability to provide immediate results, and increase in voter participation. The number of members who voted increased by 23% over the previous election.

Handbell Musicians of America selected Pamela “P.L.” Groves as president-elect and Derek Nance and Jennifer Vangolen as at-large members.

Join us in congratulating and welcoming our new board members.

Pamela “P.L.” Grove – President-Elect

For nearly 39 years, Pamela “P.L.” Grove has been at the forefront of handbell artistry in America. As a founding ringer with the critically acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble, her more notable performances included those with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Kronos Quartet, Frederica von Stade, and twice on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. She is currently artistic director for Velocity Handbell Ensemble, and she has directed several church handbell choirs over the years. She continues as a pioneer in the art of handbell musicianship, and she is one of only a few people ever to receive a degree in handbell performance. While P.L. makes her living working for the government, she prefers to spend her time playing piano, singing, composing music, and ringing handbells.

Derek Nance – At-Large Member

After playing bells all through high school and college, Derek Nance now rings bells with two groups, Tintabulations in Reno, Nevada, and Sonos in San Francisco, California. He also runs the Handbell Brothers’ Blog with the help of his brother, Bryce. In the world outside of handbells, Derek’s undergraduate degree is in business management, his master’s degree is in education administration, and he has a decade’s worth of experience running Boy Scout camps.

Jennifer Vangolen – At-Large Member

Jennifer was introduced to handbells over 34 years ago in Hackettstown, New Jersey, and has been fortunate enough to ring in the White House, perform in French cathedrals, and represent the United States in front of ringers from around the world. She is the current Washington state chair for Area 10, and she also serves as president of Bells of the Sound, an auditioned Seattle community handbell ensemble, in which she has been a ringing member since 2000. Recently Jennifer began to develop a handbell program for youth and adults at Fairwood Community United Methodist Church in Renton, Washington. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and works as a business analyst in software development at Ellucian Company LP, designing degree auditing and advising software for colleges and universities.

Return to top

Help Celebrate our 60th Anniversary with the Biggest and Best National Seminar Silent Auction Ever.

In keeping with the theme of our Diamond Jubilee, we hope to make this year’s National Seminar Silent Auction the best it has ever been. To help us make this a reality and to raise even more for our Heritage Fund, be thinking now of exciting and unique items, both large and small, to fill the Silent Auction booth to overflowing.

Silent Auction chair, Linda Krantz, is reaching out not only to individuals, but to businesses as well, in the hopes of receiving some exciting “big-ticket” items to wow Seminar attendees.

Last month we announced that Schulmerich Bells has stepped up and led the way with the donation of a vintage set of handbells. According to Kermit Junkert, “Schulmerich is very pleased to be able to participate in the 60th Anniversary Celebration of Handbell Musicians of America. In our warehouse, Schulmerich recently discovered one of its early two octave sets (G4-G6) of handbells. We have decided to donate this two-octave set, complete refurbished, to the Silent Auction. New Ring ‘N’ Roll cases will be included. All the proceeds of this sale will go entirely to Handbell Musicians of America as Schulmerich’s recognition of the 60th Anniversary.”

This month, we’re happy to report that members of the national board and staff have committed several great items as well:

  • Hand-crocheted afghan – Stephanie Wiltse
  • Hard-cover edition of The Handbell Choir by Doris Watson from 1959 with original jacket and in excellent condition – Phil Roberts
  • Composition commission* – Lee Afdahl
  • Vacation package to a quaint Minnesota Lake Home* – Jessica Westgard
  • Two nights in a Hilton Hotel property of your choice (within the contiguous United States)* – Jennifer Cauhorn

*Note: some conditions may apply to these items

The Silent Auction is in need of items both large and small, whether they are directly related to handbell ringing or not. We ask that you be thinking of items to donate early, as we will be posting an online Auction Catalog to the Seminar website to get people excited about bidding on your items.

Look for more information in future Overtones and E-Notes as well as on the Seminar website at You can also contact Silent Auction chair Linda Krantz HERE.  Already have your item lined up? Then tell us about it by completing THIS SHORT FORM.


Return to top

Website Spotlight

A new feature in E-Notes, the Website Spotlight will highlight a different section of our website each month. There is a wealth of information available to members and non-members throughout the pages of Check out this spotlight in each issue of E-Notes to keep informed about everything the site has to offer.

This month’s spotlight: E-Newsletters page

The E-Newsletters section can be found under the Music & Resources tab on the homepage. In this section you will find current and past issues of all our national e-newsletters as well as archived issues of RingEr-Notes (no long published). Also, stay up-to-date on everything happening at the local level by subscribing to Area newsletters for Areas 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9* and manage your subscriptions to E-Notes and Event-Notes.

*Other Areas also offer newsletters which are available through the Area websites.

Return to top

Music Notes from John Behnke

No Kiddin’ Around

This month’s featured piece is AG23044 “Zacchaeus” arranged by Karen Thompson. “Zacchaeus” is for 2 to 3 octaves of handbells and has an option for singing and optional percussion. It is a Level 1 piece.

Karen says, “My good friend, Susan LaPointe, conducts multiple children’s handbell choirs at two different churches. She is always asking me to write interesting and fun Level 1 pieces for her kiddos. And I love the challenge of writing Level 1 music. Everyone wants to have a busy part, and if you are writing for two octaves, it also needs to work for three (and vice versa). A great way to take a ‘boring’ part and make it more fun is to give a ringer a percussion instrument. ‘Zacchaeus’ seemed to lend itself to some fun possibilities.”

Karen goes on to say, “Unlike adults (in my experience), kids like to sing while they ring. My version of ‘Zacchaeus’ has singing, ringing, and percussion to simulate Zacchaeus shimmying down the tree (slide whistle, mark tree, windchimes, or something similar) plus the use of a gong (or thunderstick, bass drum, or something similar) before God speaks.”

I asked Karen if she has heard any comments about her arrangement and she said, “Susan LaPoint, the children’s handbell director for Montreat (the Presbyterian Music and Worship Camp in North Carolina) used it for eight different children’s choirs in two weeks and reported that it was always the kids’ number one favorite. One day she called me during a Montreat rehearsal and said ‘listen to this,’ and the kiddos rang and sang for me.”

Karen says, “For those of you who do conduct children, finding handbell music with lyrics is a great way to help children track music. Instead of counting aloud, the children can sing and know exactly where they are.”

When Karen is not composing or making music, she loves to putter in her yard. She has an organic vegetable and fruit garden in her sunny side yard and a Zen garden with plenty of Japanese maples in her shady backyard. She and her husband have two grown daughters, both still in college, and they foster greyhounds that either need medical rehab or are deemed unadoptable.

AG23044 “Zacchaeus” is a great way to engage young people in some fun music making, no kiddin’ around. Take a look and listen to AG23044. Just click on the link and enjoy!

Until next month,

John Behnke, Music Editor

Return to top