This Month

National Office Holiday Hours

College Ring-In Less Than a Month Away

Spaces Still Open for Reaching for Bronze

A Few Spots Still Open for Distinctly Bronze 2020

Open Enrollment Extended – Get Member-Exclusive Health Insurance Benefit

Last-Minute Sub-Membership Gift Special

Video of the Month

Brian’s Music Notes



Nominations for national board are due by SEPTEMBER 1. GO HERE for details and nomination form.

Nominations for Honorary Life Membership award are due by DECEMBER 1. GO HERE for details and nomination form.

National Events

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

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to receive notifications about new videos and live streams.

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


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


National Office Holiday Hours

We hope you are all having a successful holiday ringing season and that you are getting ready for celebrations with friends and family. The national office will be closed December 23 – January 1. During this time, the staff will monitor email for important messages.

Return to top



Hurry! College Ring-In is Less Than
a Month Away.

Houston, Texas • Jan. 3-5, 2020
Stevie Berryman, Conductor

Join us January 3-5, 2020, for our College Ring-In, an event for college students and recent alumni.  Three days of ringing under the direction of Stevie Berryman culminates in a public concert on the final afternoon.

College Ring-In 2018 in Princeton, New Jersey

Stevie is known for incorporating unique and entertaining elements to her concerts, and this year’s College Ring-In will be no exception. This year’s repertoire is a concert of movie music, which will include providing the sound track to a silent movie short.

PLUS, the concert will be live-streamed, so your friends and family can enjoy the show.

The event also includes a reading session of unpublished compositions and arrangements submitted by participants.  We’ll have publishers and editors from the handbell industry on hand to provide advice and guidance regarding copyright permissions and the publication process.

Info & Registration

Return to top


Spaces Still Open for Reaching for Bronze
with Monica McGowan

February 28 – March 1 • New Bern, North Carolina

Have you wanted to apply for Distinctly Bronze but worry you are not yet at the skill level to be accepted?  Then this is the event for you.  Scheduled concurrently with Distinctly Bronze East, this event will give participants the opportunity to learn three pieces from the DB East rep list under the direction of master teacher and conductor Monica McGowan and perform them with the DB musicians on their final concert.

Reaching for Bronze alumnus Sheri Roach says of the event, “Don’t let the name Reaching for Bronze fool you. Although this event gives intermediate ringers an inside peek at what a DB event is like, it’s not just for those who hope someday to ring at the bronze level. The top clinicians in the country often direct the big festivals, where you are one in possibly several hundred ringers. Reaching for Bronze is an opportunity for intermediate ringers to ring with one of the best clinicians in a smaller group, where the focus is on each individual ringer advancing to his or her next higher level of ringing ability.”

Event Details

Return to top

Spots Still Open for Distinctly Bronze East 2020

February 27 – March 1, 2020 • New Bern, North Carolina

There are still some spots open for DB East 2020. The massed ringing event for advanced handbell musicians which provides the opportunity to perform on the largest handbell sets available under the direction of Stephanie Rhoades. Four days of rehearsal lead up to a Sunday afternoon concert which is open to the public. A freewill offering will be accepted.

Event Details

Return to top

Health Insurance Open Enrollment Extended to 3 a.m. Eastern Dec. 18.

The federal government has extended Open Enrollment for health insurance plans to 3 a.m. Dec. 18. That’s TONIGHT! So, if you’re still hoping to take advantage of this member-exclusive benefit through Lighthouse Insurance Group, go to for details.

Return to top

Video of the Month

“Up on the Housetop” performed by Bells on Temple Square of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Arrangement: Arnold B. Sherman.

Return to top

Brian’s Music Notes

with Brian Childers

Day of the Dance
by Kevin McChesney

About the composition

 One of the joys I have found in this new role as Music Advisor for Handbell Musicians of America is discovering great music from the AGEHR catalogue that I somehow missed in its original release.  My hope is that in sharing these e-notes articles, you, too, can share in that joy. “Day of the Dance” by Kevin McChesney is definitely at the top of my “New Discoveries” list. This composition sparkles from beginning to end. To hear a recording of “Day of the Dance” and to place your order with Lorenz, click the link below.

Form of the Work

The rhythm of this selection is primarily driven by strong mallet work and constantly alternating time signatures. This is a great piece to stretch ringers and offers many teaching opportunities for growth around shifting meters, modes, and maintaining a steady, driving beat that doesn’t waver from start to finish. The 4/4 and 3/4 shifts repeat so frequently, once your choir has it, you are all set. This is an attainable level five piece, so directors who are looking to challenge their bell choirs without pushing them over the edge, take a closer look at this one.

Comments about “Day of the Dance” from the Composer

“I think the overall meters on Day of the Dance (A New Day), though they look and probably are challenging, have an accessible logic and the numerous choirs that I have worked with on this piece seem to really enjoy it.” Click the following Youtube link for video of the piece being performed.

 About the Composer

Kevin McChesney graduated with highest honors from the University of Colorado with a BMus in Composition and Theory. Kevin is a full-time composer/arranger of handbell music with over 900 titles in print, editor for Jeffers Handbell Supply, and co-founder of the Solo To Ensemble Project, STEP. He is Music Director of the Atlanta Concert Ringers and his 20 years leadership of Pikes Peak Ringers brought them to national prominence, including a recording with world-renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma. Kevin lives in Colorado Springs with his wife Tracy and their cats, Pearl and Aileen.

When asked about his own personal introduction to bells, Kevin says “I heard a bell choir twice before I graduated college. Everett Hilty’s group played on Christmas showcases at the University of Colorado, Boulder. So my first “real” experience with bells was when I got a job as a church music director out of college. The ringers taught me a lot more than I taught them.”

Kevin’s first published composition was an arrangement of the beautiful but all-too-little-known Catalonian carol “The Son of Mary”. It is still available in the Jeffers catalog (a revised version).

Kevin is also the proud mentor of several established and known handbell writers, plus a number of writers who are still learning the craft, some of whom have had some exposure in the market. The number one rule he teaches over and over (ask any of them!) is to write for a handbell choir in your head, NOT for the computer, which of course can play anything well. He writes with the sound of bells in his “mind’s ear” and teaches others to do the same. The music comes from what he hears in his heart and mind.

Asked what his family thinks about his composing, Kevin says, “My parents, still going pretty strong in their 80’s, never miss our Pikes Peak Ringers concerts or the Southern Colorado Handbell Festival. They have always been supportive and enthusiastic. My wife, Tracy, rings in Pikes Peak Ringers and of course hears the sometimes unpleasant incarnations of many of my pieces 🙂 But she has always been a terrific support.”

In-Depth details about the form.

This composition moves in and out of a variety of time and closely related key signatures. Day of the Dance opens in c minor with an 8 measure intro, all malleted. The melody enters at ms. 9, weaving in and out, eventually taking a fun turn through progressive 5/4, 4/4 and 3/4 measures. In the B section (ms. 43), the music shifts into C major with alternating 6/8 and 2/4 measures. Here, you can really feel the dance rhythms beginning to take shape. At ms. 59, listeners will hear a duet between the upper and lower trebles that feels like a call and response. At measure 99, there’s a quick shift into Eb major. The same 5/4, 4/4, 3/4 progression leads the ringers back into c minor and a return of the A section which pushes ahead to the end with a brilliant conclusion.

See & Hear the Music

Until next month,

Brian Childers
Music Adviser

Return to top