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E-Notes July 2014


This Month

Nearly 500 Attendees and Exhibitors Enjoying National Seminar in Atlanta

Two Named Honorary Life Members

Music Notes from John Behnke

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Please note that any PAYMENTS sent to the Guild should now go to the following address:

Handbell Musicians of America

PO Box 145400

Mail Location 521

Cincinnati, OH 45250

This includes membership renewal, contributions, event registration payments, invoice payments, etc.

Beginning August 1, all GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE that DOES NOT include a check payment should should be sent to:

Handbell Musicians of America

201 E. Fifth Street, 19th Floor

Cincinnati, OH 45202

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.


The Care and Feeding of Youth Handbell Choirs

Part of a three-part series of resources by Karen Eastburn on Organizing a Handbell Program. Also available, Mission Aspects of a Handbell Program, and Retention of Ringers.

Visit Handbell Musician Resources>>


Nearly 500 Attendees and Exhibitors Enjoying National Seminar in Atlanta

If you haven’t been following along  on the National Seminar event app, you can still download it and check out all the posts and photo uploads from our attendees and exhibitors. Attendees have been treated to fine concerts and top-notch classes and tracks, as well as socializing, shopping, and networking.

Palmetto Bronze, of South Carolina performing

at National Seminar in Atlanta, Georgia.

For pictures and updates, check out our Facebook page at and download the event guide at

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Handbell Musicians of America Names Two Honorary Life Members

At the opening banquet of this year’s National Seminar in Atlanta, Georgia, the Guild named two Honorary Life Members, Debbie Rice (left) and Valerie Stephenson, for their many years of exceptional service to the Guild and to the art of handbell ringing.
Read all about our newest honorees as well as all of our past honorees in the September/October issue of Overtones.

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Music Notes from John Behnke

This month’s featured piece is Sandra Eithun’s “Psalm 24,” AG36053.  It’s an original piece, a tone painting, for 3-6 octaves of handbells, 3-7 octaves of optional handchimes and an optional narrator, based on the text of Psalm 24. Sandy says, “This piece was a commission by the Bells of the Lakes. After discussing it with Bill Mathis, the director, we decided that I would paint a picture of a psalm.  He let me select the psalm with which I would work.”

She goes on to say, “I did want the opening to be very contemplative, because I feel like that is the state your mind should be in when approaching any psalm especially one that prompts you to consider the massiveness of the earth and that it is in God’s hands.

“In measure 8, with the text ‘for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters’  I was trying to create an unsettled feeling as the ocean could have a tendency to have. At measures 27 and 28, the hurried and harsh nature of the harmony, combined with the mallets, were meant to be ‘uncomfortable,’ as a conscience revealing that does not have a pure heart. Immediately following is a calmer chime part sent as a ‘relief’ from God that, in spite of ourselves, we can receive blessing and forgiveness. The moving passage beginning at m. 36 brings majesty and celebration when we remember who our God is…the King of Glory! Measure 61 pulls us back down, as we decompress and are reassured of our destiny when we seek His face.  And then the ending, with the drawn out triplets, nothing but joy–just to know what is certain. I really did approach it as a story…to do word painting.”

Whether you use a narrator or not, “Psalm 24,” a Level 3 piece, is a beautiful and insightful composition.

In case you don’t know Sandy Eithun, she has been the director of music ministry at First Congregational UCC in New London, Wisconsin since 1992 She directs four handbell ensembles, accompanies the choir, and plays Sunday services.

She also directs the Silver Lake College Handbell Ensemble in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She loves doing things with her family, cooking, and watching Packer games.

I hope you will take a look and listen to Sandy’s new composition, Psalm 24, AG36053.

Have a great summer! Relax and replenish, and I hope to see you at the National Seminar in Atlanta, July 14 to 18, for a great time of learning and fellowship! I’ll be at the AGEHR Publishing Booth in the exhibit area. Please stop by and say hi.

Until next month,

John Behnke, Music Editor

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