This Month

Deadline Approaching for National Board Nominations

Back to Bells Registration Now Open

Pre-register for National Seminar 2017 and Save.

The Big Ring – Breaking the Handbell World Record

Call for Faculty & Performers for National Seminar 2017

Music Notes from John Behnke


National Events

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Organizing a Handbell Program-Recruitment and Assimilation

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 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



Deadline approaching for National Board Nominations

The national board of Handbell Musicians of America is seeking nominations for the national board election, which will take place in March of 2017. In this election, members will select a president-elect and three at-large members to replace current president Ed Rollins and at-large members, Stephanie Rhoades, Steve Shorney, and Jessica Westgard Larson. We need your help in finding the best candidates for these positions.

The deadline for submitting a nomination is September 1.

Click the button below to find all the details and a nomination form.


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Back to Bells Registration Now Open

Back to Bells returns this fall to more than 50 locations across the US.  These free workshops are for members and non-members alike and offer training in the basics of any handbell program. Topics include:

  • Basic Ringing Techniques (and how to teach them)
  • Recruiting Ringers for Your Program
  • Basic Handbell Maintenance
  • Basic Rehearsal Techniques
  • Repertoire Selection
  • Ringing with Less than a Full Choir
  • Creative Use of Bells in Worship


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Pre-Register for National Seminar 2017 and Save!

National Seminar 2017 heads to Anaheim, California.  Join us July 11-15, at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, just steps away from Disneyland, for our annual event featuring classes, concerts, exhibits and more.

Pre-register before September 30 with a deposit of $125 and lock-in the lower registration fee of $350, a savings of at least $50.  Also, those who opt for pre-registration will have the chance to register for the full event classes and tracks before everyone else.  Full event registration will be available February 15, 2017.  PLUS – everyone who pre-registers will be entered in a drawing to have the balance of their registration fee for the event waived.

Pre-registration requires a $125 deposit which will be applied to your final registration. All but $25 is refundable if cancelled before March 15, 2017 and before you complete full event registration. If you cancel after completing full registration, the full event cancellation policy will apply. Pre-registrants must complete full registration by May 1, 2017, to receive the discounted rate. Registration completed after May 1 will be charged the non-discounted registration fee.


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The Big Ring – Breaking the Handbell World Record

Handbell Musicians of America is partnering with the Salvation Army and the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to break the world’s record for the largest performing handbell ensemble and we need YOU to help us do it!

Join other handbell musicians at the Mall of America at 11:00 AM Central on Saturday, November 19, and help us make history.  Participate with your full choir, partial choir, or as an individual.  There is just a small registration fee ($5.00/person) which will cover the cost of music.


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Call for Faculty & Performers for National Seminar 2017

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 11-15 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove, California.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE is October 15, 2016.

Follow the link belore for full information and application forms

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Music Notes from John Behnke

A Prayer for Peace

In light of the many terrorist attacks in the news of late, I decided to dedicate this E- Notes column to AGEHR music that responds to these attacks with thoughts and prayers for peace.   It’s the words of the famous Mr. Rogers that inspires.  “When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch.  That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive.  Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphantly over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”  Music is indeed the best and only language to communicate this desire for peace for our world and I’ve included six pieces from the AGEHR catalogue and some words from the composers for your consideration this month:

1.    Peace, Joshua Kramer, AG35339, is the easiest piece of the list as a Level 2.    Its melody is based on a small memorable motive with a natural harmonic progression that moves the soul.   Yes, Level 2 can be musical and memorable.   This piece beautifully communicates the universal feeling of peace through the music.

2.    O Day of Peace, Lee Afdahl  AG35236   Level 3
Composer Lee Afdahl says, “The musical concept of O Day of Peace is based on more than one experience.  The tragedy of 9/11/01 inspired the arrangement, certainly, as well as the inclusion of this powerful hymn in our annual services of Lessons and Carols during Advent at our church.  The first 48 measures in minor set a somber scene, culminating in the musical interpretation of the attack on the US in mm. 49-54.  The remainder of the arrangement is in D Major and includes the Jerusalem tune, giving us hope for the days when we can all dwell in peace together, accepting our differences, and strengthened by mutual understanding.”

3.   Canticle of Peace, Karen Lakey Buckwalter, AG36014  Level 4
Composer Karen Lakey Buckwalter says, “Commissioned by the Houston Festival Ringers, the opening and closing measures of ‘Canticle of Peace’ overflow with tranquility while the center section brims with hope and joy.  As our world goes through an especially troublesome time, rather than give in to the hate and fear, doubt and uncertainty, we must take a deep breath and allow ourselves time to experience quiet moments of peace.  When all looks hopeless and peace is hard to find, we must still sing (and ring) our canticles of peace in a world that desperately needs our voices of calm, resilience and hope.

4.   Psalm of Peace, William Payn AG56002   $3.95   Level 4
Composer Bill Payn says, “The inspiration for Psalm of Peace came out of a concert tour that I was privileged to take through Poland and the Czech Republic back in 1994.  I was particularly struck by the many remnants of World War II still visible fifty years later. The evil devastation of all war is inexcusable and without justification.  Psalm of Peace is a musical extension of Psalm 23…particularly the phrase “I fear no evil; for Thou art with me.”

5.   La Paix, Julie Stitt, AG35212   Level 5-   $3.95
An original piece, impressionistic in its harmony and melody that truly describes the feeling of peace.   Composer Julie Stitt says.. “it is my hope that La Paix stirs in others an emotional response that is uplifting, hopeful, and inspirational.”

6.   And if you wish to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11.  There is no finer piece than Prayer for Peace by Michael Helman AG36023 using the powerful Accompaniment Powerpoint for Prayer for Peace, 99/2833AG.    What a wonderful way to remember and pay tribute to those that lost their lives that day and to thank our first responders who risk their lives each and every day.

My prayer and wish are that we use our music to honor those that have died by the hands of terrorists, and that we communicate our love for all humanity.    The goal of the Handbell Musicians of America is uniting people through a musical art.  May our music spread peace and harmony to our world.

Until next month,
John Behnke, Music Editor

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