This Month

Distinctly Bronze East 2020 Registration Open

Reaching for Bronze Returns in 2020

National Seminar Silent Auction

Next National Board Chat Live from National Seminar

Now Accepting Nominations for National Board

Still TIme to Register for National Seminar and Distinctly Teen

Video of the Month

John Behnke’s Music Notes


National Events

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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 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

Distinctly Bronze East 2020 Registration Open

February 27 – March 1, 2020 • New Bern, North Carolina

Register Soon! There are still a handful of spots open

We are excited to return to New Bern, North Carolina for our premier performance event after their recovery from Hurricane Florence. The massed ringing event for advanced handbell musicians which provides the opportunity to perform on the largest handbell sets available under the direction of Stephanie Rhoades. Four days of rehearsal lead up to a Sunday afternoon concert which is open to the public. A freewill offering will be accepted.

Event Details

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Reaching for Bronze Returns with Monica McGowan

February 28 – March 1 • New Bern, North Carolina

Have you wanted to apply for Distinctly Bronze but worry you are not yet at the skill level to be accepted?  Then this is the event for you.  Scheduled concurrently with Distinctly Bronze East, this event will give participants the opportunity to learn three pieces from the DB East rep list under the direction of master teacher and conductor Monica McGowan and perform them with the DB musicians on their final concert. In addition, the Reaching for Bronze choirs will prepare and perform two pieces of their own.

Event Details

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National Seminar Silent Auction

Our annual silent auction is a major fundraiser for Handbell Musicians of America.

Please consider supporting our mission by donating an item to be included in the auction.  Items donated at past auctions include handmade goods such as jewelry, quilts, scarves, etc.; commissions for handbell compositions and arrangements; handbell novelty items;  stays at vacation homes; autographed music or manuscripts; food items such as bottles of wine, fine chocolates, etc.; gift baskets; souvenirs or collectibles from your home town or state.

Donate to Silent Auction

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Next National Board Chat

Our next National Board Chat will be live from National Seminar, Saturday, July 20 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Ask questions, discuss goals, and offer your ideas and suggestions related to the direction and future of Handbell Musicians of America. Please note: This is a members-only feature.

Register to Join Chat

Remaining 2019 Chat Dates

Click on a date to register

Saturday, July 20
4:00 PM Eastern
Live from National Seminar

Saturday, October 26
11:00 AM Eastern
Live from National Board Meeting

Can’t attend but have a question? All sessions will be recorded and available to members through our online Member Center at Send your question or comment in advance to [email protected] and it will be addressed during the next chat.

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Have Your Say in the Leadership of HMA

Now Accepting Nominations for National Board

Who should serve on the next national board of directors of the Handbell Musicians of America? Whoever it is, YOU will play a vital and essential role.

The board of directors consists of a president, president-elect, and five at-large directors as the voting members. Each member serves a six-year term. The executive director is a non-voting participant. Additionally, a board-appointed secretary serves without voice or vote. The term of the current board expires September 30, 2020. At that time, P.L Grove (president), Derek Nance, and Jennifer Vangolen (at-large directors) will be replaced by a new president-elect and two new at-large directors. Those new members will join Bill Mathis, Linda Minnotte, and Kyle Webber. Jill Fedon will be our new president. Board members serve without compensation but are reimbursed for expenses directly related to their board responsibilities.


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Still Time to Register for National Seminar and Distinctly Teen

Don’t miss this chance to participate in educational and engaging classes; enjoy performances by some of our best choirs and ensembles; browse and shop through exhibit booths from handbell publishers, retailers, manufacturers and more; meet and network with fellow handbell musicians and develop life-long friendships with those that share your enthusiasm and passion for our art.

Nat’l Seminar Details

Distinctly Teen Details

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Video of the Month

The famed Westminster Choir College Handbell Choir, under the direction of Kathy Shaw, performs “Bound for South Australia” by Alex Guebert at the First Presbyterian Church, Ft. Lauderdale.

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Music Notes from John Behnke

Truly a Time for Reflection and Celebration

This month’s highlighted piece is Hart Morris’ Reflection and Celebration, AG35386; a Level 3+ piece for 3-5 octaves of handbells. It’s an appropriate piece as it was announced in the Spring 2019 issue of Overtones I am retiring as music editor at the end of July and that the national board for Handbell Musicians of America has decided to stop publishing handbell music. Definitely a time for Reflection and Celebration.  
Hart Morris writes, “James Hart, the director of the handbell ensemble at Trinity United Methodist Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, invited me to write piece in memory of Susan Menefee, the founder and a member of the group until her untimely death in 2018.  She was, by all accounts, a go-getter, and from his description of her, was a very energetic and engaging lady.”   
Hart said, “I felt that a two-part piece would be appropriate – the opening section a contemplative consideration of her life, and the second section an animated celebration reflecting the way she lived it.”   The Reflection is very lyrical, in 4/4 meter, and has a very slow tempo marking of quarter note equals 46.  The Celebration by contrast is in a lively 6/8 meter.  It begins in G minor and later modulates to C major.   Hart says, “My musical influences came from two sources, though the piece bears no specific references to either, and I make no claim whatsoever that the fruits of my labor approach either source!  I have always been fascinated with the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, and the mood and style of the fourth movement of his Fifth Symphony was the inspiration for the opening section.  And I met John Bull’s Rondo in G many years ago via Martha Lynn Thompson’s handbell arrangement.  I felt that something in a lighthearted and celebrative style would be appropriate to celebrate Susan.” 
Reflection and Celebration, AG35386 at Level 3+ is a very well-crafted piece for a handbell choir wanting to play quality music.  Please take a look and a listen by clicking on this link.
Hart Morris is the retired music minister of Asbury UMC in Tulsa.  He has conducted international and national handbell festivals throughout the world, and is a prolific composer/arranger having over 250 pieces in print with numerous publishers.   He was a co-founder of Red River Music.  He is living happily ever after in Oklahoma with his wife, Marty.  In his spare time, he loves to ride horses, wrangle his grandkids and dance with his wife.
When I contacted him about this E Notes column, Hart Morris added the following words… “considering that the publication of this piece will coincide with Dr. John Behnke’s retirement as HMA music editor, I must say that working with him over the years as editor, publisher and friend had been a pleasure and a privilege.  I count myself fortunate to have one final piece added to the list of wonderful music he has made available to the handbell world.  I am sorry to see him leave this position, but I am confident he will continue making contributions to the art of handbell ringing and the music world at large.”    Thank you Hart for such kind words.  
Now it’s definitely time for Reflection and Celebration, AG35386.   Be sure to check out this wonderful new handbell composition!

See & Hear the Music

Until next month,
Happy Ringing!

John Behnke, Music Editor

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