This Month

National Office – New Staff, New Hours

Virtual Handbell Ensemble -We Need You!

Distinctly Teen Returns

Music Editors Notes – Easter is Here!

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The Care and Feeding of Youth Handbell ChoirsIn “The Care and Feeding of Yourth Handbell Choirs,” Karen Thompson leads you through the steps of developing and maintaining a program for youth.

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National Events


National Office Updates

New Staff, New Hours

This month the national office welcomed Shelly Horn to the staff as our business manager.  In this new position, Shelly will assist the executive director in budget development, cash flow management, daily bookkeeping, and other financial management aspects of our business. In addition, she will be responsible for the administrative elements of members, such as membership renewal invoices and reminders, as well as the maintenance and streamlining of our membership database system.

Shelly comes to us with extensive experience in accounting, finance, human resources and IT management.  She is already fitting in well with the rest of the staff and has jumped into her responsibilities with enthusiasm and determination for success.  We hope you will join us in welcoming her to the Handbell Musicians of America family.

For a complete list of national staff, our contact information, and office hours, please visit the Contact Us page of our website. 

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Virtual Handbell Ensemble – We Need You!

Since the last issue of the newsletter, we have received a flood of excellent submissions for our Virutal Handbell Ensemble—but we still need more.  We have several segments for which no video has been uploaded.  For a complete list of segments that are still needed, visit the project website at

The Virtual Handbell Ensemble is an exciting new project of the Handbell Musicians of America, in which you will have the opportunity to perform a new work of music via video uploads. “Misterium,” by James Meredith, consists of 135 musical segments to be recorded separately by individuals and small groups of players from around the world over a seven month period and uploaded to the web. All of the segments will be assembled by the editing videographer and the composer into the final work to be premiered on July 27, 2013, at National Seminar in Portland, Oregon.

Virtual Handbell Ensemble

The players may opt to record any or all of the individual segments to the set tempo of the click tracks, which can be downloaded along with the segments HERE.

Except for the segments needing more than one person, most are meant to be performed standing away from tables. We encourage you to be creative in your filming. Find a place as quiet as possible indoors or out. Choose a background which does not detract from you. You may film very close up, at a distance, from the side, front or overhead, but make your performance interesting. The more interesting, the more likely your clips will be prominent in the final video collage. In other words, don’t look like robotic automatons! Let’s show the world how exciting handbells can be to listen to and watch.

After the online premiere, the score will be published so that any groups interested can perform the work, which is designed for double ensemble.

So, grab your cameras, round up your handbell buddies, and start recording. The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2013.

See all the details, including a video welcome and invitation from Jim Meredith, HERE.

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Distinctly Teen Returns – Registration Now Open!

Register before March 15 using the My Membership Rewards coupon code and receive an extra 10% off registration!

Distinctly Teen is designed for the individual young ringer (8th-12th grade) who wishes to stretch their ringing skills and challenge their musicianship. Participants will spend 2 ½ days working on intermediate to advanced repertoire and developing skills in handbell technique and general musicianship under the leadership of Ron Mallory.

The event schedule will combine dedicated rehearsal time for Distinctly Teen with the opportunity to attend classes offered as part of the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar. Each attendee will receive a position assignment in the youth all-star choir that will perform with the National Seminar All-Star choirs for a concert at National Seminar.

Ron MalloryWith over 20 years of experience leading both traditional and contemporary worship, Ron Mallory is choir, handbell, and praise band director at Living Word Lutheran Church in Puyallup, Washington.

He also teaches high school and middle school handbell classes at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart and directs the Rainier Ringers community handbell ensemble.


See complete event details, repertoire, and schedule here.

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Music Notes from John Behnke

Easter is Here!

Easter is Here? Aww.. come on. NO, it’s not! I’ve still got six weeks to go. Now wait, what I mean to say is that Bill Payn’s Easter, AG35307 is here and ready to play.

This month I’m pleased to highlight a new original composition by William Payn, entitled “Easter,” AG35307, Level 3. I asked Bill about this piece and he said, “Easter was written for Terrie Preskitt-Brown, who worked with David Davidson at Highland Park United Methodist Church for over five years of his ministry there. She now conducts the Epworth Handbell Ensemble that he left behind and for which this piece is commissioned. The ensemble wanted to commission an original composition in David’s memory. Many evangelical churches designate a person’s ‘personal Easter.'” He continued, “They wished to premiere this piece on September 5, 2010, which was the first anniversary of David’s personal Easter, thus the title. Terrie also requested that the beginning of the piece use the singing bell technique as an optional processional, which I was happy to incorporate. Evidently, when David did a procession using the singing bell technique in worship for the first time, the congregation was so attentive, they actually ‘felt’ the overtones coming down the aisle. Terrie also requested the use of chimes. The entire inspiration for this work comes from my close association with David through the years, both as a respected colleague and as a friend.”

I asked Dr. Payn if there are any parts that he particularly enjoys in his piece. He said, “I really like the idea of the procession at the beginning (using the singing bell technique, bells and chimes). As you know, I generally write level 5-6 music, so this was a nice departure for me…to write a level 3 piece that would be challenging and yet accessible. The combination of martellato with martellato lifts is a technique I have used in most of my more recent works.”

EasterIf you don’t know Dr. William Payn, he is in his 30th year as professor at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. As the director of choral studies, he conducts two choral ensembles and teaches conducting. The Bucknell University Rooke Chapel Ringers were organized in 1983, soon after he arrived at Bucknell. Their annual Bucknell Candlelight Christmas shown on PBS has been nominated for an Emmy in 1996, 2004, and again in 2011.

Dr. Payn has conducted bell festivals throughout the U.S. and teaches conducting with the Master Series of Handbell Musicians of America in Tucson, Arizona. His handbell compositions are widely known and played. And AGEHR Publishing is delighted to offer “Easter,” AG35307 to the bell world, from William Payn in honor of David Davidson.

What does Dr. Payn do in his leisure time? He says, “I have discovered running and try to run 20-25 miles weekly. Ruth and I live on a 600-acre organic farm, so I have plenty of space for this activity. I particulalrly enjoy running when traveling…the most recent being in Italy in June and Paris over Thanksgiving break. I have placed in several 5K events. Ruth and I have four children and five grandchildren, so we absolutely love visiting and having them to the farm whenever possible. We always try to get the entire family together for a week in the Outerbanks, South Carolina, every summer.”

Now relax for a moment and listen to “Easter,” AG35307, just click on this link.

Happy Easter to you all!

Until next month,

John Behnke
Music Editor


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