This Month

New Webinar Series Launches in May

National Office and Area 8 Partner on Certification Event

New On-Demand Logo Apparel Available

Distinctly Bronze East Registration Opens April 5

Music Notes from John Behnke


National Events

Please consider helping defray the Guild’s
day-to-day expenses
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Organizing a Handbell Program-Recruitment and Assimilation

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. 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 145400
Mail Location 521
Cincinnati, OH 45250

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



New Webinar Series Launches in May

We are pleased to announce a new educational service for all handbell musicians – available to both members and non-members.  Students will have the option to choose from live webinar learning experiences or self-guided multi-week courses, both designed and led by experts in the handbell community.  There will be a fee to participate, which will be discounted for members.

Our first offering will be six webinars covering various topics in Music Theory, presented by Michael Glasgow.  The first three will target the novice musician with little to no prior training in the topic and will leave the student with the basics needed to begin certification classes in Music Theory.  The final three webinars will present the Music Theory course work for Level 1 Certification. Testing for level 1 will be available at National Seminar 2016 in Rochester, New York.

Each session is 90 minutes (compared to the usual 75 minutes at National Seminar events), allowing plenty of time for instruction and questions.  Prior registration is required and registrations fees include class handouts and study materials.  Below is a list of dates and topics.  Registration details will be available March 23.


  • May 17 – Getting Around the Circle of Fifths
  • May 24 – Stack it Up: Building Triads
  • May 31 – The Rhythm is Gonna Get You!

MUSIC THEORY CERTIFICATION LEVEL 1 – Must be taken as a unit*

  • June 21 – Session 1
  • June 28 –  Session 2
  • July 5 –  Session 3
  • July 13 – Test at National Seminar in Rochester, New York*


*Participants must register for all three sessions as a unit.  They are not available as individual sessions.  Those seeking certification may take the test for Level 1 Music Theory at National Seminar if they plan to attend.   Participants are not required to sign up for the test at National Seminar to take the webinar classes.  Testing can take place at another time.  Those not seeking certification are also welcome to take the course.

Watch for more webinars and our first round of multi-week courses in the coming months.

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National Office and Area 8 Partner on Certification Event

Complete Level 1 Certification in Handbell Techniques, Music Theory, and Conducting this summer at Area 8!  Conveniently located in St. Louis, Missouri, we are offering these elements of Handbell Musicians Certification for the first 15 applicants on the beautiful campus of Missouri Baptist University.

We will also be offering Accreditation for faculty to teach Level 1 Certification courses in Handbell Techniques, Music Theory, and Conducting.  Each Accreditation class is limited to 6 faculty candidates.  Accreditation application details will be available April 1, 2016.

Registration for the event opens March 28.


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New On-Demand Logo Apparel Now Available!

Handbell Musicians of America is pleased to announce a new partnership with member Linda Minnotte and her company LDM Embroidery to offer a new line of branded, embroidered apparel.  Customers will be able to choose from 11 styles and three logo options (Handbell Musicians of America, Distinctly Bronze, or National Seminar), as well as a variety of colors and sizes.

Orders will be filled on-demand by LDM Embroidery and shipped directly to the customer. A portion of all sales will go directly to support Handbell Musicians of America operating funds. Place your order today by clicking the SHOP link located in the top right corner of and selecting the Branded Apparel catalog.


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Distinctly Bronze East 2016 Registration Opens April 5

Our popular Distinctly Bronze event returns to New Bern, North Carolina, October 6-9, 2016, with Bill Payn at the podium.  Registration for this event will open Tuesday, April 5, at 11:00 AM EDT.  Space is limited and fills quickly, so mark this date and be ready if you wish to attend.  Complete event details including schedule, registration process, and repertoire will be posted April 4.

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Music Notes from John Behnke

An Important Publishing Note

We have discovered some errors in the 2-3 octave version of Karen Thompson’s “Acclamation in G Minor,” AG23046.

We are offering a free download of page 6 in the 2-3 octave version on our website E Press which will correct these errors and allow compatibility with the 4-6 octave version AG46030.


What’s Growing in Your Garden?

With the start of Spring just days away, we will soon see the grass turning green and the trees and bushes budding out. It’s a time for growth and new life. So, I ask you, “what’s growing in the music garden of your handbell choir(s)?” I hope beautiful sounds and lovely harmonies.

Our featured piece for the spring month of March is the beautiful new arrangement of “Children of the Heavenly Father,” AG35333, by Hart Morris, which features both beautiful sounds and lovely harmonies.

I asked Hart what inspired him to arrange this hymn. He said, “Beverly Olson directed the handbell ensembles in her church – First Methodist, Salina, KS – for 42 years. Her children and grandchildren wanted to honor her upon her retirement from that position by commissioning a handbell piece to be played at her recognition service. The combination of the family’s Swedish roots, this hymn’s Swedish origin, and the fact that all of the children grew up singing it, fairly well compelled them to choose it for the commission. My connection to the family is through one of the sisters, a long-time friend, member of our church, soprano in our choir, and ringer in our handbell ensemble for many years.”

Hart went on to say “This hymn is a personal favorite, so for the purpose of answering here, I will say my favorite part is the final stanza and the transition leading into it. The hymn tune is beautiful on its own, but knowing the text enhances the experience of the final victorious stanza of the arrangement for me:

Though He giveth or He taketh, God his children ne’er forsaketh; 
His the loving purpose solely to preserve them, pure and holy.”

This arrangement is for 3 to 5 octaves of handbells, optional 2-3 octaves of handchimes and an optional flute, and is a Level 3 piece. Hart said, “As it is a hymn tune, my first thought is that it would be played mostly by any handbell ensemble providing worship music; and likely that is the place it would be most often played. But as the simple tune is beautiful in its own right, I think it would be enjoyed even in a concert setting, by listeners who are not familiar with the text.”

After ten measures of introduction, the opening stanza of the hymn is in C major and is from measure 11-36, where the piece moves to F major. The next stanza is heard on the chimes in the lower battery bells (4s and 5s) from m. 41-49. A modulation takes place and the final stanza of the hymn appears in the majestic key of E flat major beginning in measure 59-75. The last measures of 76-88 are a coda section that beautifully wrap up this hymn arrangements.

Hart Morris is a well known name in the bell world. (picture) And knowing all of you like I do, I asked him to bring us up to speed and give us a little “dirt” on what’s happening in his life. Hart said, “Now that I am active in my former life’s work solely as a volunteer – no longer In Charge – my two most time consuming hobbies are composing / arranging, and working with and enjoying our three quarter horses. Of nine grandchildren, only three are within easy reach, close enough to enjoy them and their activities on a very regular basis. And there are the necessary ‘rural duties’ that come with living in the country, including, but not limited to, the aforementioned horses. We have a rather large vegetable garden, which is plenty of work in the spring, but well worth it; I like to read; and we do have travel plans for the upcoming year! We still enjoy the many relationships we built with our friends from Asbury UMC, Tulsa, over our 20-year tenure there. Marty and I both sing in our church choir; she works with children’s choirs and I direct one handbell ensemble.” He said, “That’s about as ‘dirty’ as it gets . . . except for that spring garden work, of course. And, well, there is all the barn stuff . . . that is all pretty dirty . . . “ I was guessing so. Now that’s the real “poop” on Hart Morris.


Until next month,
John Behnke, Music Editor

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