This Month

Copy Editor Needed

David R. Davidson Composition Contest

Seeking Nominations for Honorary Life Membership Award and National Board Elections

Call for Virtual Bell Academy Submissions

Music Notes from John Behnke


National Events

to find out more about
all our national events.

Please consider helping defray the Guild’s
day-to-day expenses
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contribution to


Organizing a Handbell Program-Recruitment and Assimilation

How do we communicate? How do we attract new ringers? How do we generate interest? Learn all about communicating in Michael Glasgow and Kathryn Aspenwall’s “The Structure of the Communication Process in Faith-Based Settings,” free to all Guild members. Handbell Musician Resources>>

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.


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



Copy Editor Needed

We are seeking an individual with excellent grammar, who also has an eye for detail and good writing style, for the position of Overtones copy editor. This will be a part-time contract position.

The copy editor will receive approximately 10-12 articles of various lengths for each bi-monthly issue in Word format and will review materials to make sure they meet publication standards. This includes reviewing spelling and grammar, fact checking, and editing content for clarity and style. It also includes proofing the final layout in PDF before printing.

Candidates will be asked to edit two sample articles. A working knowledge of handbell and handchime ringing and music is helpful.

Persons interested in the position should send a resume to Overtones editor J.R. Smith at [email protected].

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David R. Davidson Composition Contest

Details for the fourth David R. Davidson Composition Contest are now available at our website.  Davidson Composition Fund was created in 2008 to encourage the composition of original works for advanced ensembles.

The selected composition will be published by AGEHR Music Publishing and premiered at Distinctly Bronze West in 2017, under the direction of Kathleen Ebling Shaw.


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Seeking Nominations for Honorary Life Membership Award and National Board Elections

Handbell Musicians of America is seeking nominations for the next Honorary Life Membership Award which will be announced in 2017.  This award is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the art of handbell ringing. The recipient is selected from nominations submitted by our membership to an anonymous award committee, chaired by president-elect, P.L. Grove.  This committee reviews all submissions and provides recommendations to the national board which makes the final selection. See complete details and the nomination form at the link below.


We are also seeking nominations for the national board election which will take place in March of 2017.  In this election, the members will select a president-elect and three at-large members to replace current president Ed Rollins and at-large members, Stephanie Rhoades, Steve Shorney, and Jessica Westgard Larson.  See complete details and a nomination form at the link below.


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Call for Virtual Bell Academy Submissions

We have seen a great response to our first round of education webinars from our new Virtual Bell Academy – our first session is tonight!  To build on this success, we are seeking submissions for instructors and topics for future webinars and online courses.   Classes should cover a wide range of topics relevant and interesting to handbell musicians of all skill levels and categories including ringers, directors, composers/arrangers, educators, worship leaders and planners, community groups, and more.  Topics may be presented as live webinars or multi-week, self-guided courses.

Click below for complete details, criteria and the submission form 


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Music Notes from John Behnke

A Family Affair

There were the Bachs, the Mozarts, and the Schumanns.  Now there are the Krugs.   Jason Krug, composer of “Ostinato in A Minor” AG35347, tells us, “For my son Daniel’s first Christmas back in 2012, we bought him a set of the Kidsplay handbells.  One day a few months later, I’d arrayed the diatonic set on the floor around him and went off to do something else.  I heard him playing this two-bar pattern not once, but over and over.  I found myself humming it, and wondered if I could take this ostinato and build an entire piece around it.”   Thus begins a creative collaboration of composer and son.

An ostinato is a reoccurring melodic phrase on which a series of variations can be set and a piece be constructed.  The craft of the composition is the creativity of the variations and Jason Krug goes a phenomenal job with this. “Ostinato in A Minor” AG35347 is a creative new original composition based on an ostinato theme by Jason’s son Daniel that can be a wonderful prelude for worship or a piece to be programmed for a concert.

Jason said, “from a compositional standpoint, I really enjoy the different ways I came up with to harmonize the ostinato pattern.  I knew from the start I couldn’t use the same harmony for the entire piece, so I forced myself to think far and wide for harmonies that would work with the tune yet take the piece off in different directions.  There are a couple of climaxes in the piece, and I let the harmonies go a bit farther afield at those places.  I really enjoy those few spots because I feel like they have such a bold sound.”

Jason got to direct it at a reading session during the Area 1 Winter Workshop this past January, and he said, “it sounds MUCH better on bells than on my computer!” I think everything sounds better on real bells.


Jason said, “I’ve been involved with bells for nearly fifteen years at this point as a ringer, director, composer, teacher … you name it.  Presently my main involvement is composing for bells and leading workshops and festivals, though I still find time to ring every now and again.”  He went on to say, “We just went from a family of three to a family of four in March with the birth of our son, Malcolm.  He actually arrived on my wife’s birthday, and just a week before his big brother’s fourth birthday.  We’re slowly adjusting to our new life, but loving every minute of it.  At this point, I’m just waiting until Malcolm can sit up by himself so I can put the bells around him and see what music he comes up with.”

We look forward to putting young Malcolm’s name on a piece of printed music, but for now it’s big brother Daniel that has bragging rights.

For the Krug family, handbells are family affair and we are the wonderful recipients.


Until next month,
John Behnke, Music Editor

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