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E-Notes March 2014


This Month

VOTE NOW: Voting for National Board Ends March 31

National Seminar Silent Auction

Announcing Distinctly Bronze Associate Conductor Program

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

Refurbish your handbells with Darby Handbell Services between April 1 and May 31 and receive a 5% discount on the Basic Labor charge. Discount does not apply to additional parts and labor. Call for refurbishment information at 816-665-4707 or visit their website at

Be sure to have your Handbell Musicians of America membership number available when you call.


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 coming soon will be Retention of Ringers.

Visit Handbell Musician Resources>>


VOTE NOW: Voting for National Board
Ends March 31

Be sure to visit the National Election section of our website at and get to know all of our board candidates. Then be sure to cast your ballot by
March 31.

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.

There is not much time left to vote, so 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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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.

Silent Auction chair, Linda Krantz, is reaching out not only to individuals, but to businesses as well, in the hopes of receiving some exciting “big-ticket” items to wow Seminar attendees.

We are happy to announce that Schulmerich Bells has stepped up and led the way with the donation of a vintage set of handbells. According to Kermit Junkert, “Schulmerich is very pleased to be able to participate in the 60th Anniversary Celebration of Handbell Musicians of America. In our warehouse, Schulmerich recently discovered one of its early two octave sets (G4-G6) of handbells. We have decided to donate this two-octave set, complete refurbished, to the Silent Auction. New Ring ‘N’ Roll cases will be included. All the proceeds of this sale will go entirely to Handbell Musicians of America as Schulmerich’s recognition of the 60th Anniversary.”

The Silent Auction is in need of items both large and small, whether they are directly related to handbell ringing or not. 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.
Areas and states may wish to assemble baskets of items representing their home, composers might consider offering a commission, crafters will certainly find people interested in their creations, and businesses will want to follow Schulmerich’s lead in donating a big-ticket item. All items will be appreciated and will help raise the funds necessary to ensure long-term income to offset some of the Guild’s expenses as we continue to grow our art form over the next 60 years and beyond.

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.

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Announcing Distinctly Bronze Associate Conductor Program

Handbell Musicians of America is pleased to announce a new opportunity for conductors who wish to work with massed handbell ensembles – the Distinctly Bronze Associate Conductor.   Through an extensive application and interview process, this program will select an Associate Conductor for each Distinctly Bronze event beginning with Distinctly Bronze West 2015.  The selected associate will work closely with either William Payn (West 2015) or Beth Judd (East 2015) in a mentoring relationship that provides training in massed conducting and the opportunity to conduct one selection on the Distinctly Bronze program.

Application materials will be available beginning August 1, 2014, with a submission deadline of October 1, 2014.  Applicants will be asked to complete a written application and submit a video showing them conducting a handbell ensemble.  From the initial applicant list, four finalists will be selected for web/video conferencing interviews with Dr. Payn and Mrs. Judd, who will make the final selection of two Associate Conductors, one for each Distinctly Bronze event in 2015.
Those selected will receive airfare to and from the event site and lodging at the event hotel during the days of the event, as well as all items included in the standard event registration (included meals, polo shirt, CD of final concert.)  The Associate Conductor will NOT ring during the event, instead focusing their time on observing and working with the event’s Music Director to improve and develop their massed conducting skills.

General Criteria:

  • Applicants must either have a minimum of a Bachelor Degree in Music (or the equivalent training with an emphasis in conducting*) or currently be enrolled and working toward their Bachelor of Music and have completed at least two years of in-classroom and/or ensemble conducting.
  • Applicants must either have a minimum of a Bachelors Degree in Music or currently be enrolled and working toward their Bachelor of Music and have completed at least two years of in-classroom and/or ensemble conducting.
  • Applicants will be required to provide a minimum of three references from individuals, preferably experienced conductors, who have observed their work as a conductor.
  • Applicants will be required to provide a private YouTube link to a video showing them conducting two full selections of music of contrasting styles.
  • Some experience with ringing handbells is preferred as is familiarity with massed ringing events/settings.

*The determination of what constitutes “equivalent training” will be at the sole discretion of the selection committee based on information provided during the application process.  All decisions of the committee are final.

Watch for application details in June and July of this year.

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Music Notes from John Behnke

The “Chime In” Series

Our featured piece this month is AG23036, “Chime In – Lent and Easter” by John Behnke. In addition, I’d like to highlight our “Chime In” series. The “Chime In” series started with a collection by Tyleen Stults of pieces particularly for handchimes, yet still playable on handbells if desired. The pieces in this series are for 2 or 3 octaves of chimes or bells and are Level 1 in difficulty. Level 1 means that there are whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes; and the quarter notes are the fastest note values in the piece. Level 1 pieces also use standard 3/4 or 4/4 time signatures. The pieces also have no bell changes, so once your ringers have their chimes or bells in hand, there are no switches in the piece. And remind your ringers that the beauty of your music is not determined by the difficulty level of your music, but rather by excellent ringing. Any level of music can be beautiful if it is played well.

Another wonderful feature of this series is that each octavo contains more than one hymn arrangement.   AG23036 “Chime In- Lent and Easter” has two hymn arrangements; “Go to Dark Gethsemane” for Lent and “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice” for Easter. This means that you get two pieces for the price of one. More music for the money! And we all need that, these days.

“Go to Dark Gethsemane” employs the vibrato technique, which is so fun on handchimes. By repeatedly touching the index finger in the tine or “tuning fork” area, you can alter the sound wave and create a fun and beautiful vibrato. Both bass and treble ringers get a chance to do that in this piece.

For “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice,” the swing technique is used both at the beginning and at the end of the piece. This is a  technique that uses the scientific Doppler effect of swinging the chime down and up again to alter the sound.

Both pieces keep everyone busy ringing and make good use of dynamic change.

If you are looking for Level 1 pieces for your choir, I hope you will take a look at our “Chime In Series.”

Until next month,

John Behnke, Music Editor

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