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E-Notes May 2013


This Month

Honorary Life and National Board Nominations Being Accepted

Membership Spotlight

National Seminar Silent Auction to Benefit New Heritage Fund

Music Notes from John Behnke

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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.

Visit Handbell Musician Resources>>

National Events


The Honorary Life Membership Selection Committee and the National Board Nominations Committee Now Seeking Nominations

Honorary Life Membership is awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions to the art of handbell ringing. This status is deemed the highest honor the Guild can bestow and is reserved for individuals of the highest caliber. The award is intended to recognize and honor a lifetime commitment to handbells based on exceptional service to Handbell Musicians of America and to handbell ringing in general.

Ed Rollins, national president-elect, has been appointed as the chair of the anonymous selection committee, which is now seeking nominations for the next award of Honorary Life Membership. Selection criteria, nomination forms, and more details about the award can be FOUND HERE.

Phil Roberts, at-large member of the national board, has been appointed chair of the Nominating Committee for National Board elections. Phil and his committee are now seeking nominations for the 2014 National Board election. The committee will review all nominations and recommend a final slate to the National Board of Directors for final approval before it is presented to the membership for a vote. Candidate criteria, nominations forms, and complete details about the nomination and election process can be FOUND HERE

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I became a handbell ringer as a teenager. My maternal grandmother, Mary Ellen Quandt, was the bell choir director at our little First United Methodist Church in Audubon, Iowa. I fell in love with it then. While I immensely enjoyed listening to bells over the years—including the Carillon at Iowa State University as an undergrad—I didn’t play in a bell choir again until about 30 years later, at the United Methodist Church of Casa Grande (Arizona). We first had a chimes group that performed for Easter one year, and then we were finally able to obtain handbells of our own when Los Arcos United Methodist Church in nearby Phoenix closed. We also got all of their bell music and supplies! Our Director of Music, Stacey Seaman, asked me if I would like to conduct the bell choir, and I said unhesitatingly, “Yes!”

We named our fledgling group Las Campanillas de Casa Grande, and we have been rehearsing and performing since fall 2012, and participated in our first mass bell-ring event, called Epiphany Rally Ring, on January 13, 2013, at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona.

Despite several personnel changes, the group as a whole and also individually the members are improving exponentially since we began. It is very heart-warming and satisfying work to raise our bells in harmonious sounds for the glory of God.

Have a story you want to share?  What inspires you about handbells?  Why is membership in the Guild important to you?  Why are handbells a part of your life?  Send us your story today by contacting your Regional Membership Coordinator.

Jon Snyder
– Area 1, 2, 3, 4

Mary Willadsen – Area 5, 6, 7, 8

Ellie Hodder – Area 9, 10, 11, 12

National Seminar Silent Auction to Benefit New Heritage Fund

Do you have Fred’s Pants (the pair of jeans Fred left behind after an event that have become the go-to item in Guild silent auctions for the past several years)? What about something that represents your state or your Area? Are you a quilter or other crafter who is willing to donate an item to support Handbell Musicians of America?

Yes? Then we need your help now for the annual National Seminar Silent Auction. This is the major fundraising event each year for the Guild, and the funds raised at this year’s auction will support the Heritage Fund. This new operating endowment was established by the national board of directors to provide sustaining revenue for the day-to-day operations of Handbell Musicians of America. Learn more about the Heritage Fund and our campaign to build it HERE.

So, be creative and support the Guild by getting involved with the National Seminar Silent Auction. You don’t have to be at the event to support the Silent Auction. Just send something ahead to be included. Our hope is to have something from every Area and possibly even EVERY state.

For more information about how to donate an item to the Silent Auction, go HERE.

Music Notes from John Behnke

April Showers Bring May Flowers

They say “April showers bring May flowers.” May is the time when our 2013 New Music CD Promotion is mailed out to our membership. It’s a bouquet of new music “flowers” for the bell world. For me as music editor, May is the finishing of last year’s music and the beginning of planning next year’s music. For me, July 2013 will mark ten years as the Guild’s music editor. It’s been ten years of privilege to work with composers and their music and serve the membership of the Guild.

For this pivotal month of May, I wish to highlight Derek Hakes and his new piece, “Dance Capriccio” AG35314. You see, my acquaintance with Derek Hakes began ten years ago in July of 2003, when he was in my composing track at the National Seminar in Hartford, Connecticut. During a break between classes, I found Derek sitting and improvising at the keyboard in the classroom. I could tell immediately that he knew his music theory and understood a great chord progression. I knew he would be a published composer.

When I asked Derek about his new piece, he said, “When I first sat down to write ‘Dance Capriccio,’ I wanted to write a fairly simple piece that was almost a rondo in nature. I love sitting down at the piano and improvising, and I remember a conversation I had a few years ago where a listener came up to me and said that she loves listening to me play because she never knows where I’m going to go next with a piece – sort of like I was taking a musical journey. That was the idea that blossomed and eventually became ‘Dance Capriccio.’ Further, I think that’s really my favorite part of ‘Dance Capriccio’ – when the listener (and ringer) thinks I’ve established a melody, but in actuality I haven’t. Later in the piece I return to the original melody, but it’s only brief and short-lived.”

Derek writes, “currently I am spending my time writing, but it’s writing of a different sort. I am working on my first full-length novel called “And So It Goes,” the title an homage to a classic Billy Joel song that has long been a favorite of mine. It’s a love story set up to mimic a three act stage play (and features the lyrics of the songs as the backdrop for each part), but without all the stage directions.”

While we wait to read his new novel, we have his music to play and enjoy, specifically his new “Dance Capriccio” AG35314. Please take a look and listen HERE.

April showers CAN bring May flowers!

Until next month,

John Behnke
Music Editor

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