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E-Notes July 2013


This Month

National Seminar Heads to Atlanta in 2014 – Pre-Register Today!

It’s Coming… Summer Premiere

National Seminar Mobile App

Master Series is Back

Music Notes from John Behnke

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Organizing a Handbell Program-Recruitment and Assimilation

Music educator Marilyn Lake brings you “Handchime Cirriculum for Schoos,” based on the nine content standards in music education (MENC). Handbell Musician Resources are free to all current Handbell Musicians of America members.

Visit Handbell Musician Resources>>


National Events


National Seminar Heads to Atlanta in 2014 – Pre-Register Today!

Atlanta, Georgia – home of Coca-Cola, CNN, and the ’96 Summer Olympics – will host National Seminar, July 15-18, 2014.  All event activities will take place at the Sheraton Atlanta, located in the heart of Georgia’s capital city just 15 minutes from the airport and steps from the Georgia World Congress Center, Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park.

Event details will be available in January, 2014, but you can guarantee your place at the event today with our special pre-registration offer.  Pre-register today with a $100 deposit and lock in 2013 rates for registration.  Plus, with pre-registration, you get early class and track registration privileges for the event.

Register HERE TODAY!

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It’s Coming…

Organizing a Handbell Program-Recruitment and Assimilation

It’s Been Long Anticipated

A World Premiere and Unveiling

The Blockbuster of the Summer

It’s Big – No, It’s Gigantic

Two Thumbs Up from the Critics

A Red Carpet Experience Like No Other

A Seminar event you will not want to miss!!

Make your pledge to our new Heritage Fund while at National Seminar in Portland and get your ticket to our special Red Carpet Celebration and Sneak Preview of the Virtual Handbell Ensemble on Friday night (July 26).  Watch for the video release everywhere Sunday, July 28.

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National Seminar Mobile App

The National Seminar Mobile Event Guide, presented by Malmark Bellcraftsmen, can now be downloaded from the iTunes Store and Google Play Store.

This mobile app allows you to:

  • View schedules, explore sessions, and find networking opportunities
  • Create your own personal schedule and access location and faculty information.
  • Access interactive maps and find local places.
  • Check-in to sessions, concerts, and exhibitor booths.
  • View an entire feed of the event activity, including attendee check-ins, photos, and more.
  • Earn points, badges, and prizes for being active on the app and at the event.
  • Expand your professional network and have fun!

Features of the App:

  • Update – a quick way to share photos, comments, where you are, and which session you’re attending
  • Activity – keep your finger on the pulse of the event. See what people are doing, view photos from the event, find trending sessions and topics, and “like” and comment on other attendee check-ins
  • Agenda – view the full agenda and related information (session time, room number, faculty info,etc)
  • Users – see who’s at the event, and connect with them on the app
  • Exhibitors – find exhibitors and sponsors, check-in to leave comments and feedback
  • Profile – your official app profile, highlighting your name, profile photo, title, and organization
  • Leaderboard – see who has the most points at the seminar and climb your way to the top with check-ins

To download the app, go HERE.

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Master Series is Back!

Master Series returns in 2014 offering four class options for handbell musicians of all levels:

  • Master Class in Conducting with Dr. William Payn
  • Master Class in Composition with Sondra Tucker
  • Handbell Director Boot Camp with Carolynn and William Mathis
  • Certification Track: Handbell Techniques I & II PLUS Music Theory I & II with Michele Sharik and Michael Glasgow.

All event activities will take place at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott, January 31 through February 3, 2014. Event registration will open July 24. Watch for more details.

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Music Notes from John Behnke

It’s Time for Fireworks!

It’s July and it’s time to celebrate! This month I’d like to feature Karen Thompson’s new piece, “Peal  con Brio,” the winner of the Area 2 Young Ringers Conference. There are two compatible versions: AG23042 for 2-3 octaves of handbells and AG46029 for 4-6 octaves of handbells. Karen Thompson presents for us a wonderful new paradigm – the possibility of ringing without tables and/or ringing from memory. With no bell changes, it could be used as a processional or a concert opener or just a stunning piece that will bring the handbells to the people.

Karen says, “It was written for a high school group to be performed by memory sans (without) tables with white gloves under black light. My youth bell choirs, from First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth, Texas, often performed by memory without tables, and this particular year I wanted to add an element of excitement for our Annual Spring Youth Concert (choir, bells, instrumental ensembles and vocal solos). It was a HUGE hit! That was years ago, and my youth groups have performed since but sans black light.” With black light or without black light, this is a stunning piece that will have people complimenting your choir.

Karen says her favorite part of the piece is “when the LV ends and the fortissimo block chords appear in measure 24.” My favorite part is the flexibility that this piece allows, as you can play it in the aisles of the church or at the front of the stage, and people will see all the interaction of the ringers right before their eyes. I’ve placed Karen’s choreography suggestions at the end of the article.

If you don’t know Karen, she rings in Concert Bells of Fort Worth, serves on the Area 9 board as past chair, and composes music. In addition she is a foster parent with Greyhounds Unlimited, a greyhound rescue group. She says, “I take greyhounds that need medical rehabilitation before adoption or are unadoptable. I also am an organic backyard gardener with an affection for Japanese Maples and shade loving plants.”

If you wish for visual fireworks with your bell choir, give “Peal con Brio” a try.

Take a look at Karen’s choir playing the 2-3 octave version in Texas

or my group playing the 4-6 octave version in the ruins of Hamar Cathedral in Norway.

Thanks Karen for this stunning new piece! It’s visual fireworks.

Until next month,

John Behnke
Music Editor

Here is Karen’s choreography for Peal con Brio:

1. Rest bells on the upper thighs or hips (“resting position”) adjusting for different heights of ringers so that a straight row of bells is achieved. Whip each bell up just before it rings so that there is only a single motion of up-prep-ring.

2. The two themes at the beginning should be rung so that they look and sound differently. Ring the LV pattern in a smooth exaggerated circle and the R pattern in a marcato and angular motion. When the themes switch registers, continue the LV and R styles.

3. At m. 24, all ring in a conformed typical ringing style.

4. The m. 31 and 32, perform the echoes by lightly touching the bell at the resting position. On the downbeat of m. 33, damp the bell at the resting position spot and freeze.

5. In m. 34 and 35, remain “frozen” and whip each bell up as it rings just like the beginning.

6. In m. 37, continue to LV and move the arms as if still playing the eighth note pattern, but do not restrike. Gradually slow to a stop and freeze.

7. M 38 – m. 65 is a repeat of m. 1 – 28 but with the bells beginning up instead of in resting position.

8. At m. 66, if performing under black light, ringers turn their backs to the audience and effectively “disappear”. Then each ringer “reappears” just as they ring.

9. In m. 70 and 71, ring the wholes notes and each quarter note low, just in front of the resting position. During m. 72 – 74, gradually raise bells to eye level.

10. At the final damp, show some flair as bells move from damp position back to resting.

One note: when we performed it at First Presbyterian, we used a duplicate G5 and slightly different-than-usual assignments. One ringer had F5 and G5 and another ringer had the duplicate G5 plus A5 then the rest of the treble ringers were assigned B5 & C6 together and etc.

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