Skip to main content

E-Notes August 2015


This Month

A New Event for College Students

Back to Bells Registration is Open

Call for Faculty & Performer for National Seminar 2016

National Seminar Pre-Registration

A Special Message from Schulmerich Bells

September MemberChat

Music Notes from John Behnke


National Events

Please consider helping defray the Guild’s day-to-day expenses
by making a contribution to


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. 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.


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 145400
Mail Location 521
Cincinnati, OH 45250

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



A New Event for College Students

Coming in January 2016, Handbell Musicians of America presents the College Ring-In with Michael Joy, a new event for college students and recent alumni.  The event is scheduled for January 14-16 and will be held at Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton, Illinois.

Registration is on an individual-basis, with attendees receiving specific ringing assignments in a set of ad-hoc choirs, similar to the Distinctly Bronze format.  In addition, the event will provide opportunities for participants to bring their own unpublished compositions and arrangements for reading by the group. During these reading sessions, handbell publishers and editors will be on hand to provide guidance and advice about the publishing process.

Registration will open September 1 and costs $85 per person.  Members (including sub-members) receive a $15 discount.  Registration includes lunch on Friday and Saturday.  More details will be available soon.

Return to top

Back to Bells Registration is Open

Our September Back to Bells workshops are now open for registration.  These free, four-hour workshops are designed for new and beginning handbell programs and will provide basic training on everything you need to start and advance your handbell program.

Workshops are open to members and non-members alike – so help spread the word!  See a complete list of dates and locations, links to registration, and other event details at   Don’t see a workshop offered near you?  Then contact [email protected] to request one.


Return to top

Call for Faculty & Performers for National Seminar 2016

The National Seminar planning committee is seeking submissions from those interested in sharing their talents and expertise at our annual event.  The event is scheduled for July 12-16 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, New York.  SUBMISSION DEADLINE is November 1, 2015.  See complete details and application forms below:

Faculty/Class Submissions

  • Those submitting must have their own individual Handbell Musician membership or be the primary contact for an organization’s Handbell Musician membership.
  • Consider all aspects of handbell musicianship in all settings as you develop your class ideas. The committee strives to select a wide variety of classes for all constituencies of our membership.
  • Those submitting more than one class topic will be given priority consideration.
  • Those interested in teaching at the event must submit a separate Class Submission Application for each class topic/idea they would like to present.  Download the Class Submission Application by clicking the application button below.  Completed applications must be emailed to [email protected].
  • Any applicant that did has not taught at a National Seminar or Pinnacle in the past three year (since Portland 2013) must provide two letters of reference from individuals who have observed the applicant teaching within the past 12 months. These letters must be sent directly to [email protected] by the person providing the reference.
  • Deadline for submission is November 1. Applicants will be notified of committee selections by January 1, 2016.
  • Questions regarding the process should be directed to [email protected].


Performer Submissions

  • Those submitting must have a Handbell Musician membership in the name of the performer or performing group.
  • We will be selecting feature performers for four evening concerts and two to four more performers for daytime mini-concerts.
  • The committee strives to select performers that represent all areas of Guild membership. Performers from worship settings, schools, and the community, as well as youth, adult, soloists, small ensembles, and other unique combinations, will all be considered.
  • Those interested must complete a Performer Submission Application which is available by clicking the application button below.  The completed application must be emailed to [email protected].
  • A link to an on-line video of a recent performance will be required with the application.
  • Deadline for submission is November 1. Applicants will be notified of committee selections by January 1, 2016.
  • Questions regarding the process should be directed to [email protected].

Return to top

National Seminar Pre-Registration

Pre-register now for National Seminar 2016 in Rochester, New York and lock-in the discounted registration fee of $350.  You will also get priority event registration and be entered in a drawing to have the balance of your event registration fee waived. Here are the details:

  • Pre-Registration Fee – $125
  • Locked-in Discounted Event Registration – $350
  • Deadline for Pre-Registration – September 30, 2015
  • Deadline to Complete Full Registration at Discounted Rate- May 1, 2016
  • Registration Opens for Pre-Registrants – February 15, 2016

Join us in Rochester, situated on the Genesee River a short distance from Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls, and the Finger Lakes region of New York, and enjoy performances, classes, exhibits, and more at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Rochester.

(Be sure to log in to your member account first)

Cancellation Policy for Pre-Registration: Those that cancel pre-registration prior to March 15, 2016 and before completing full registration, will receive a refund of $100. After full registration is complete, standard event cancellation policies will apply. You must complete your full registration before May 1, 2016 to receive the discounted registration rate. After May 1, the full registration rate will be charged.

Return to top

A Special Message from Schulmerich Bells

Schulmerich is proud to announce that Marie Page, Controller, has been named Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Haydon Goer, Operations Manager, has been named Chief Operating Officer (COO).

In her new position, Marie will be responsible for overseeing the execution of all company services, including accounting, HR activities, administrative supervision, customer service, and sales & marketing.

In his new position, Haydon will be tasked with responsibilities including managing operations, production, procurement, customer service, and sales & marketing.

Both Marie and Haydon will continue to focus the company on furthering Schulmerich’s long history of craftsmanship and service.

Marie began her work at Schulmerich in 2013 and has played a key role in the company’s financial success. Prior to joining Schulmerich, Marie has worked in various Accounting roles while being a wife and a mother of two children. Marie holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from North Carolina State University.

“As the CFO my ambitions for the company are focused through a financial lens.  It is my desire for Schulmerich to remain #1 in quality, craftsmanship and financial stability.  In order to accomplish this we must be fully engaged with the handbell community by building and maintaining positive relationships and support systems.  Through close collaboration with handbell enthusiasts, Schulmerich will be responsive to the needs and requests of our customers.  I look forward to the opportunity for us all to grow together.”

Haydon has been with Schulmerich since 2013 as has been instrumental in helping shape the company’s internal processes and customer-focused culture. Before joining the Schulmerich team, Haydon worked as a Project Manager for Hilton Displays, Inc. in Greenville, South Carolina. Haydon holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from The University of South Carolina.

“As Chief Operating Officer I am committed to serving Schulmerich customers for many years to come. My goal is to honor the past by offering the highest quality of sound in our industry and to secure Schulmerich’s future with efficient operations, continued product development and great customer service.”

Schulmerich is the world’s largest producer of handbells and handchimes. Innovators since 1935, the craftspeople of Schulmerich have brought the glorious sounds of bell music to more people and places than anyone else in the world. From Handbells to MelodyChime® Instruments, customers around the globe count on Schulmerich for innovation, product support, and quality that is absolutely second-to-none.

Return to top

Join us September 15, 2015 at 6:00 PM EDT for a Chat with Kathleen Wissinger

Kath will be talking about the use of handbells and handchimes in schools. Everyone is invited to the chat – especially those teachers starting their year with an established bell program, those loaning chimes for the year, and those teachers who want to bring a program to their own school! Kath will field questions about how her program runs, how to introduce bells to administrations, and anything else you may want to know about. We hope you’ll join us Tuesday, September 15 for a chat about handbells in education with Kath Wissinger.


(Make sure you login to your member account first.)

Return to top

Music Notes from John Behnke

Time to Break Away

Time to Break Away! It’s summertime and there is still time to break away from the normal routine of daily life. Students and teachers are out of school and many are enjoying vacation time, normally in a beautiful, exciting place.

This month’s featured piece is “Acclamation in G Minor” by Karen Thompson – a beautiful and exciting piece. “Acclamation in G Minor” has two compatible versions; AG23046 for 2-3 octave groups and AG46030 for 4-6 octave groups. Karen said, ‘”Acclamation in G Minor’ was composed in response to the great success of two of my previous pieces, ‘Peal con Brio’ and ‘Festive Peal.’ I’m grateful to L.A. Bronze, The Alleluia Ringers of Concordia University Wisconsin, Concert Bells of Fort Worth, and many other groups that have programmed these pieces. Many (but not all) of the performances were done by memory without tables. It reinforced my notion that there is a need for pieces that can be played without tables. Stepping away from the tables and playing music by memory allows a terrific visual experience plus a more intimate interaction with our audiences and/or congregations.”

The piece is in ABA form and has wonderful bell patterns. In the A section, the main theme is repeated 4 times. Then comes the B section where the lower bass battery bells have the melody. What follows is a very contrasting and surprising 4 measure phrase of thumb damps before the A section returns.

Karen said, “I love the 4 measure segue between the “B” section and the return to the “A” section. It starts softly with stopped sounds and then does a wonderful crescendo. Ta-da!” She says, “Any group capable of ringing level 2+ music will enjoy this piece. It is rhythmic and dramatic. And it doesn’t have to be memorized. But memorizing is quite doable because there are many repeating patterns.” You can rehearse and play the piece in the usual way and when your choir starts looking up, you can pop the question, “hey, can you play it by memory?”

Karen knows that I’m always looking for the dirt on our composers, so I can share it with you, the reader. Karen says.. “Here is some dirt on me: I like dirt! I’m an organic gardener who loves to putter around in my backyard. I also love to travel. My husband and I just returned from a trip to Europe where we explored Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris. And I am involved with a greyhound rescue group and always have one or two foster dogs in residence.” Now that’s real and honest composer dirt. Thank you Karen for your honesty.

I hope you will break away from the normal – think about programming a wonderful new piece that’s great played in normal fashion, but also has possibilities for playing by memory without tables. Take a look at AG23046 for 2-3 octaves or AG46030 for 4-6 octaves, “Acclamation in G Minor” by Karen Thompson. With the two compatible versions, it’s a great choice for massed ringing.

Break away to adventure and enjoy the benefits.


Until next month,
John Behnke, Music Editor

Return to top

‹‹ Previous Post All Posts Next Post ››