This Month

Complete Level 1 Certification at Dallas Event in May

Complete Handbell Techniques Certification Class Online

Spots Still Open for Distinctly Bronze East in New Bern, NC

Join Us for Our Next Member-Chat

John Behnke’s Music Notes


National Events

GO HERE to find out more about all our national events.

Become a Sustaining Partner

Upgrade your membership to SUSTAINING PARTNER and play an important role in ensuring the future of Handbell Musicians of America. As a SUSTAINING PARTNER

  • You are CONNECTED to the handbell community
  • You are IN PARTNERSHIP with other handbell musicians
  • You are NURTURED through education and resources


Featured Resource

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

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. bigringvideo2 Watch us break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Handbell Ensemble Nov. 19, 2016 at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

hf-logo-260px Help build a pension for the Guild, by contributing to the HERITAGE FUND



Please note that any PAYMENTS sent to the Guild should now go to the following address:

Handbell Musicians of America PO Box 221047 Louisville, KY 40252

This includes membership renewal, contributions, event registration payments, invoice payments, etc.

All GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE that DOES NOT include a check payment should should be sent to:

Handbell Musicians of America 201 E. Fifth Street Suite 1900-1025 Cincinnati, OH 45202

Complete Your Level 1 Certification at Dallas Event Next Month

We are pleased to offer all three Level 1 Handbell Musician Certification classes this spring in Dallas. You can complete one or all three classes — the topics offered are Conducting, Handbell Techniques and Music Theory.

We will also be offering Accreditation for faculty to teach Level 1 Certification courses in Conducting, Handbell Techniques, and Music Theory.  Each Accreditation class is limited to 4 faculty candidates. The event will take place May 31-June 2 at Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas.


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Complete Level 1 Handbell Techniques Certification Class Online

Work toward your Level 1 Handbell Musician Certification with Handbell Techniques in the Virtual Bell Academy.

This course examines basic handbell and handchime ringing and damping techniques, with an emphasis on ergonomic principles and sound production. Which muscles are used for ringing and what they do, the ergonomic way to ring handbells, damping the bell, handling heavier bells will all be discussed.

This course will be pre-recorded in two 75-minute sessions and will be available for download beginning May 1.  Registrants will be provided with the download link when it is available.

PLEASE NOTE: Those completing this coursework will still be required to take the test for each subject at a live testing event.  Testing options are available at the Handbell Musician Level 1 Certification and Instructor Accreditation event offered in Dallas, Texas, May 31-June 1 and at National Seminar in Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 17-21.

ALSO: Music Theory Online Class Now Available through the Store

In addition to registering for the Handbell Techniques class, you can now purchase and download the Music Theory classes HERE.


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Spots Still Open for Distinctly Bronze East in New Bern, NC

There are still a few spots open for our premier performance event, Distinctly Bronze, in the picturesque New Bern, North Carolina,
October 4-7.

The massed ringing event for advanced handbell musicians which provides the opportunity to perform on the largest handbell sets available under the direction of Lee Afdahl. Four days of rehearsal lead up to a Sunday afternoon concert which is open to the public.


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Join Us for Our Next Member-Chat

In our next Member-Chat on April 28 at
4 p.m., Kimberlee Strepka will be discussing “Handbell Artistry from the Inside Out” with a focus on how yhour movement preferences shape your ringing. Dr. Kimberlee Strepka has been teaching music for almost thirty years, and has been pioneering Laban-based handbell instruction since 2000.

She is the author of Handbell Artistry from the Inside Out: Laban Movement Theory for the Handbell Musician (Chicago: GIA Publications, 2012), a text that has been praised by college professors as a long-missing resource for handbells in academia. She is an internationally-recognized handbell clinician and published handbell arranger.


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Music Notes from John Behnke

A Tune, Energetic and Melodic

April is a joyous time when the spring really starts “a-bloomin.”   And this month’s featured piece is from a new composer to the AGEHR catalog, Brian J. Heinlein, from Sheboygan, Wisconsin.   Brian submitted this original piece entitled Joyous Jubilee, which was accepted for publication with AGEHR.   It’s AG35367, Level 2 difficulty, and for 3 to 5 octaves of handbells.

Brian says, “This piece actually began by incorporating a few hidden musical motifs from a 1980’s television show. (Hint: I originally entitled it: A Tune, Energetic And Melodic.) That’s right, the A TEAM.   After about ten revisions and rewrites, those motifs are gone now, and an original composition developed from them.

I asked Brian if he has heard his piece performed and he said, yes, “I have heard the piece played by three different ensembles, each having different backgrounds and ability levels, and I have enjoyed every performance immensely. Each group brings a unique interpretation to the music, and it is very rewarding to hear talented musicians finding ways to use the notes and symbols I have written and create wonderful music from them.”

“Joyous Jubilee” AG35367 is an original work in ABA structure.   After a 4 measure introduction, the A section begins.  The melody occurs in both F major and in d minor.  The A section lasts from measures 5 to 19.   The middle section in d minor wonderfully uses the echo ring technique and lasts from measures 20 to 37.   When the A section returns in measure 38, this time there is a malleted accompaniment.   Measures 56 to 59 provide a wonderful 4 measure coda with martellatos, a shake, and a final Ring Touch.

I asked Brian what his favorite part of the piece was and he said, “My favorite part of the piece is the malleted section starting at measure 38. Everyone loves mallets, right?  I think it is an enjoyable rhythm to ring, and leads into an energetic and exciting finish.”

Brian Heinlein is the Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where he started the first handbell choir sixteen years ago.  He directs a 5 octave adult bell choir and teaches handchimes in the elementary school.   He also directs the church and school vocal choirs and serves as the organist for the church.   He says, “ I became involved in handbells from an invitation I received to ring with my church handbell choir back in 1991.  I was in 8th grade, and all the rest of the ringers were women much older than me, but I have many happy memories from those early years.  Looking back, I see there is great benefit when ringers of all ages to come together in a multigenerational ensemble.”

So invite your young people to ring in your choir.  Get them involved and who knows maybe some of them will years later direct a bell choir, teach handchimes, and compose handbell music for all of us to play?

When Brian isn’t writing or making music, he says, “I enjoy biking, science fiction, model railroading, and classic cars.”

Enjoy the joyous month of April by playing A Tune, Energetic And Melodic entitled Joyous Jubilee, AG35367, by new composer, Brian Heinlein.

See & Hear the Music

Until next month, happy ringing! John Behnke, Music Editor

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