This Month

Online Voting for National Board Begins March 1

National Seminar: Registration Now Open

Registration Now Open for Distinctly Teen

National Seminar Silent Auction

Music Notes from John Behnke

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DON’T FORGET voting for our national election begins MARCH 1.Get to know all of our candidates for the national board of directors at

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


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.

Visit Handbell Musician Resources>>


Online Voting for National Board Begins March 1

Be sure to visit the National Election section of our website at and get to know all of our board candidates, so that you are prepared to cast your ballot beginning

March 1.

Seeking a three-year term as president-elect, which will cycle into a three-year term as president are Tracy DePue and P.L Grove. Running for the two open at-large positions are Rick Heine, Derek Nance, Claudette Rothwell, and Jennifer Vangolen.

To streamline the process and make it easier for all members to make their selection, voting will be handled through a new online ballot designed specially for us by Z2 Systems, creators and administrators of NEON, the database system that manages our membership, event registration, online store, and much more. Working with the developers at Z2 Systems, we have designed a secure system that verifies membership, ensures only one vote per member, and locks out back-end ballot access by anyone (even staff and system administrators) during the voting period, which prevents any tampering with election results.

Voting begins March 1, but we encourage you to learn more about the candidates as well as our new online voting system now. Voting instructions can be found at You can read about all of our candidates and view video interviews with at

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National Seminar: Registration Now Open.

Atlanta, Georgia, will be all aglitter this year as Handbell Musicians of America celebrates its Diamond Jubilee at National Seminar 2014. We will commemorate this momentous occasion in many ways throughout the event. More details will be shared as we get closer to the event, but here’s just a little bit of what we have planned:

  • Our traditional closing banquet will become an Opening Banquet where our next Honorary Life Award will be presented and new national board members will be introduced.
  • Registration will become a party with a special welcome reception. Journey through some of the highlights of our 60-year history and pick up the various parts of your registration packet along the way while you greet friends, old and new. Don’t even think about arriving late for this one!
  • The final night of the event will be a Birthday Celebration filled with food, fun and, of course, cake. The celebration will focus around our annual Silent Auction, benefiting our new Heritage Endowment Fund and featuring a wide variety of items up for bid.

Join us for this special celebration of our 60-year history and all the usual top-notch learning experiences and fine performances.

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Registration Now Open for Distinctly Teen

Come to Atlanta July 16-18 for this year’s Distinctly Teen, with noted youth handbell director and author, Kimberlee Strepka.Distinctly Teen is designed for individual young ringers (8th-12th grade) who wish 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 Kim Strepka. 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 Choir for a concert at National Seminar.

Kimberlee Strepka has been teaching music for more than 25 years and has been pioneering Laban-based handbell instruction since 2000. She is the author of Handbell Artistry from the Inside Out: Laban Movement Theory for the Handbell Musician (GIA Publications), a text that has been praised by college professors as a long-missing resource for handbells in academia.

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Help Celebrate our 60th Anniversary with the Biggest and Best National Seminar Silent Auction Ever.

In keeping with the theme of our Diamond Jubilee, we hope to make this year’s National Seminar Silent Auction the best it has ever been. To help us make this a reality and to raise even more for our Heritage Fund, be thinking now of exciting and unique items, both large and small, to fill the Silent Auction booth to overflowing.

We ask that you be thinking of items to donate early, as we will be posting an online Auction Catalog to the Seminar website to get people excited about bidding on your items.

Look for more information in future “Overtones” and “E-Notes” as well as on the Seminar website at You can also contact Silent Auction chair Linda Krantz HERE.

Music Notes from John Behnke

A Clear Victory!

As we are looking ahead to Easter and the hope of some warmer weather, this month’s featured piece is “Victory!,” a setting of the hymn “The Strife is O’er,” AG35316, for 3-5 octaves of bells and optional 3-5 octaves of handchimes, Level 2.

The arranger of this work is Jeffrey Honoré. He says, “The inspiration for “Victory!” comes from his childhood musical memories of the 1960s at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in West Racine, Wisconsin (home of Danish bakeries and kringle). He said, “I heard the organ pedal point start the Alleluia almost every week for years and it intrigued me as a young musician.  The sound, rhythm and joy of it remain deep inside and resonate to this day.”

He went on to say, “Now that you know about the organ pedal point, you can see how I stressed the C of Victory through the ‘Alleluias’ section. I also like contemporary praise music and incorporated a strong rhythmic pulse on that pedal point. I continued it with the addition of eighth notes and moving the pedal point to the higher register. Later in the F major section, the C pedal point now resides at the fifth.”

He says, “I do like the F major section with the optional handchime effect of lightening the register and giving the ear a new harmonic hearing of the C’s.  The other aspect of this simple setting that makes it effective for me is the dynamics. The use of very soft to very loud helps keep my interest in the pulsating pedals and repeated Alleluias and bell tower like connecting material – shouting the victory to the whole world!”

Having served musically in the church for many years, last year Jeff took a new position as the director of music ministry at Holy Apostles in New Berlin, Wisconsin. He says, “this job is blessed with multiple musical roles with plenty of talented and eager volunteers from high school to octogenarian – choirs, cantors, instrumentalists and handbells.”   He is a published composer having a number of pieces in print for handbells, choir, keyboard, and organ.

When Jeff is not making music, he loves to golf. He says, “Did someone say ‘golf’?  Tell me when and where, and I’ll be there! And yes, I have golf metaphors for life and even music. So come to Wisconsin, make a tee time and I’ll be there.”

He and his wife, Debb, have three adult sons and two daughters in law, and, he says, “are patiently waiting for grandchildren.” He adds, “In the mean time we love to take long extended walks, especially at national parks (Yellowstone is slated as our next trip – a 30th anniversary trip we are taking in our 33rd year of marriage.”

The name of this hymntune is “Victory!” The word Victory is also in the hymn title, “The Strife is O’er, the Victory Won.” I also think this is a clear “victorious” piece with great use of dynamics, fun mallet work, shakes, martellato lifts, and then beautiful use of the handchimes for the middle section. It’s fun to play and truly expresses the Easter victory!

Just click the link below, and you can look and listen to this wonderful new arrangement.

Thank you for your continuing support of AGEHR music and for considering this new piece, “Victory! (The Strife is O’er),” AG35316.

Until next month,

John Behnke, Music Editor

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