This Month

Pre-Register for Pinnacle 2015 and Save!

Call for Faculty and Performers for Pinnacle 2015

Handbell Musicians Mourn the Loss of Two Pioneers

Music Notes from John Behnke

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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.

Beginning August 1, all GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE that DOES NOT include a check payment should should be sent to:

Handbell Musicians of America
201 E. Fifth Street, 19th Floor
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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

Become a new Handbell Circle Member this month and receive a FREE Bonus Handbell Preview Packet! Choristers Guild would like to welcome you as a new member of our Handbell Circle. Handbell Circle subscribers receive two handbell preview packets per year of newly released Choristers Guild handbell music with recordings, as well as free handbell promotional materials from Jeffers Supply Company. Join this month and your subscription will begin with our NEXT season’s preview packet, but we will also send you the packet for our CURRENT season as a special welcome gift.

Complete our ONLINE FORM to become a NEW Handbell Subscriber. You may select a Choristers Guild membership or choose “No Membership” and select only the Handbell Subscription. After completing the transaction you will receive a confirmation email. REPLY to this email with your name and use Code: HANDBELLWELCOME, Or call 800-CHORISTER.



The Care and Feeding of Youth Handbell Choirs

Music educator Marilyn Lake brings you “Handchime Curriculum for Schools,” based on the nine content standards in music education (MENC). Handbell Musician Resources are free to all current Handbell Musicians of America members. Visit Handbell Musician Resources>>


Pre-Register for Pinnacle 2015 and Save!

Pinnacle returns in 2015 and we are giving you the opportunity to pre-register and lock-in a discounted registration rate for the event.  Pre-register before September 30, 2014, and lock the registration fee at $330.  Plus, get the opportunity to register for classes and tracks before anyone else.  All those who pre-register by the deadline will also be entered in a drawing to win $300 towards airfare to the event (reimbursed after purchase receipts are presented.)  See the details and pre-register today on our website today.

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Call for Faculty and Performers for Pinnacle 2015

The Pinnacle planning committee is seeking applications for faculty and performers for Pinnacle 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  The deadline is October 1, 2014.  Details and application materials are available below.

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Handbell Musicians Mourn the Loss of Two Pioneers

Honorary Life Member and the Guild’s first executive director, Andrew Flanagan, passed away August 8, 2014. Andrew L. Flanagan began working with the Guild early in his career when he was involved in organizing Area 2. He went on to serve as the national treasurer. Andy left his position as associate executive director of Choristers Guild to become the first executive director of the AGEHR (Now Handbell Musicians of America). His first responsibility was to set up the national office in Dayton, Ohio. This marked the beginning of a new era for the Guild. Andy also served in churches as music director in Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio. He was made an Honorary Life member of the Guild in 1990.


Longtime member and friend of Handbell Musicians of America Nancy Hascall lost her battle with cancer and passed away August 13 at the family cabin in Idaho, surrounded by family. Nancy has toured nationally as a handbell solo artist and is responsible for taking the art of solo ringing to a new level with the development of the technique known as traveling four-in-hand, which allows the solo ringer to ring complex passages with grace and fluidity. Many solo ringers have honed their craft during three-day private solo ringing tutorials at her home in Oregon, and she always made herself available to coach an individual or group while on tour. She has been a frequent contributor to “Overtones” and has taught classes at many national and area events. As a composer, she has many pieces in print for both ensembles and soloists. Four of Nancy’s handbell compositions have been selected for performance at Distinctly Bronze events, and her “Andromeda” won the 2002 Bells of the Sound Composition Contest. Nancy directed the Sanctuary Bell Choir of First United Methodist Church in Portland and recently retired from Bells of the Cascades after 14 years as its musical director. She continued to ring along with her husband, Glen, in the Covenant Bell Choir at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church, where she first picked up a handbell in 1979. We at Handbell Musicians of America will miss her dearly and extend to her family our warmest thoughts at this sad time.

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Music Notes from John Behnke


It’s August and pretty soon, very soon, the kids are going back to school. That means summer vacation is past and it’s time to “contemplate” and plan for the new school and church year. This month’s featured piece is “Contemplations,” a fascinating piece by Ron Mallory with great versatility. This piece, AG25003, is for two to five octaves of handbells, Level 2, and has possibilities if desird to add guitar, piano, bass, and percussion. For those of you that direct a handbell choir in a church with traditional, blended, or contemporary services, “Contemplations” could well meet your musical needs for ALL of those styles.

I asked Ron about his piece. He said, “‘Contemplations’ was based on a piece I first started (but never finished) in the late 1990s for a youth handbell choir at a church I served in California. A couple of years ago, I came across my sketches for the piece and decided to complete it. Unlike with many of the original compositions I write, in which I have a particular story, message, or image I’m trying to communicate through the music, with this piece I wasn’t trying to convey anything specific other than a meditative, reflective mood.”

Ron submitted this piece to AGEHR Publishing, and when I first heard it, I mentioned to Ron that it seemed to have a style that could work for both traditional and contemporary worship. After a number of emails back and forth, chord symbols were added to the music, and with those chord symbols came possibilities for adding guitar, piano, bass, or percussion were possible.

Ron said, “I introduced the published version of “Contemplations” in my Handbells in Contemporary Worship class at the 2013 National Seminar in Portland. A number of class attendees expressed interest in it and were excited to find a piece that could work equally well in a traditional or contemporary church worship setting, as well as for school or community groups.”

Ron says, “I’m especially excited by the flexibility the piece offers and for the opportunities it provides for partnering with non-handbell musicians. In particular, in my work as a church musician, I’ve always looked for creative ways to combine praise bands with handbells. I think it’s important to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary worship as often as possible, so people with different style preferences can worship together in unity and celebrate all the musical variety God has created for us to enjoy. My hope is that this piece will give church handbell directors and contemporary worship leaders an opportunity to do just that, and will also encourage other composers to write more pieces with this end in mind.”

If you don’t know Ron Mallory, Ron has lived in the Seattle area for the past 13 years, where he teaches handbell classes at Forest Ridge School, directs vocal and chime choirs at Living Word Lutheran Church, and leads the Rainier Ringers, a community handbell ensemble. Here’s a picture of Ron (back row, upper left) with the Rainier Ringers. He enjoys being able to work with handbells and other musical ensembles in a wide variety of settings, and each has taught him things that have strengthened his skills in the other areas.

Ron says, “My non-musical hobbies include astronomy, skiing, and reading, and I also enjoy dabbling in visual arts such as painting, photography, and video production. Over the last few months, though, the biggest joy for my wife and I has been spending time with our baby daughter Vivian, who was born on June 2, 2013. (And yes, we’ve already put bells in her hands!)”

Ron finished by saying, “every time I attend a Handbell Musicians of America event, I’m overwhelmed by the feeling that handbell musicians are the most friendly, positive, and encouraging people in the entire musical world. In fact I met my wife, Emily, at the Guild’s 2009 National Seminar providing yet more proof that playing handbells, and being part of the Guild, can change your life in amazing ways!”

I hope you will contemplate using AG25003 Contemplations by Ron Mallory, for 2 to 5 octaves of handbells, Level 2, with optional chord symbols so you can add a guitar, piano, bass, and percussion.

Until next month,
John Behnke, Music Editor

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