This Month

Register Now for Master Series 2015

New Member-Only Benefits Coming Soon

New Member Referral Program Coming

Support Handbell Musicians of America through Amazon Smile

Music Notes from John Behnke




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.

Beginning August 1, 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

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

Add the handbell musicians in your program as sub-members under your membership in the Guild and keep them engaged this summer and throughout the year by giving them access to all the member resources and benefits available at

Normally $10 per person for a one-year membership, this package special gives you the opportunity to give your choir members their own access at special volume discounts. Offer expires 12-15-2014.



Organizing a Handbell Program-Recruitment and Assimilation

“The Care and Feeding of Youth Handbell Choirs,” by Karen Thompson, takes you through the steps of creating and building a youth handbell program, specifically in the middle school and high school age ranges. Visit Handbell Musician Resources>>


Still time to register for Master Series 2015

Master Series will be held January 23 – 26, 2015 at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott.

All conductor spots for the Conducting Master Class are full, but there are still spots open for ringer/observers. As this is a master class format, you will learn much as a ringer/observer. Due to a lack of registration, the Composition Master Class has been cancelled.

Our Master Series event offers participants the opportunity to concentrate on one area of study over the course of the event.  Small class sizes, dedicated instructors, and comfortable accommodations set the scene for personal one-on-one attention where the student can immerse themselves in their topic of choice.

Master Series offers the following areas of study:

Handbell Director Boot Camp

Led by William & Carolynne Mathis, this course is a comprehensive overview of everything any handbell director needs to be successful.  Whether you are brand new to handbells, a ringer who now finds themselves holding the baton, or are currently directing a choir, you will benefit from this course.

Certification: Handbell Techniques
PLUS Music Theory

Complete levels one and two of the Handbell Musician Certification courses for Handbell Techniques and Music Theory in one weekend.

Master Class in Conducting (Conductor spots are full, but there are still spots for ringer/observers)

This course is a true “Master Class”.  Thirteen individual conducting students will work one-on-one with master conductor, Dr. William Payn.  Each will be assigned one piece to learn and conduct under Dr. Payn’s tutelage.  Participating conducting students will form the choir that each will lead.


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New Member-Only Benefit Coming Soon

One of the Guild’s greatest assets is our inclusive community. When we are together, there are no barriers between musicians, composers, clinicians, and providers from the handbell industry. Everyone is accessible and there is abundant sharing of information and resources.

We are about to make that a monthly reality for each and every member.
Beginning in January 2015, Handbell Musicians of America will launch Member-Chats and Member-Notes in alternating months. Here’s how it will work.


Have you ever wished you could talk directly to a handbell “celebrity” and ask them questions? Every other month, we will host a live chat with a new personality from within our talented ranks. Everyone will have an opportunity to submit questions in advance. Many of you will be able to tune in live and participate. And all members will be able to access the video online after it airs live.


On alternate months, we will send you a topical newsletter that offers detailed information on subjects such as working with children and youth or all the ways four-in-hand is done around the world or maybe even how to get permission to arrange popular music. These Member-Notes will have a feature article by a handbell expert and links to additional resources that will assist you in your quest to perfect your knowledge and skills.

The best part? . . . This is a FREE resource for members of Handbell Musicians of America! Watch your inbox for the inaugural issues coming to you in 2015.

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New Member Referral Program Coming

Would you like to earn money toward attending events or your membership dues? Just by referring and signing up new members you will be awarded with Handbell Bucks, which can be used toward national event registration or dues.

Watch future E-Notes and Overtones for details.

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Support Handbell Musicians of America through AmazonSmile

We’re excited to announce that Handbell Musicians of America is now an AmazonSmile participant!



AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support the Guild every time you shop at Amazon, at no cost to you. Simply click on the “Get Started” link to the left and sign in with your Amazon account information (or create an account if you do not already have one).

Be sure to bookmark that page so that every time you shop at Amazon, you’ll be helping to support the Guild.

With every eligible purchase you make,
Amazon will donate .5% to Handbell Musicians of America.

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Music Notes from John Behnke

We Have News! News! for You

This month’s featured composition is Jill Fedon’s arrangement of “In Dulci Jubilo” entitled “News! News!” AG3089. It is a Level 1 piece for 3 octaves of handbells.

I asked Jill what inspired her to make this arrangement. She said, “My elementary ringers, The Peace Ringers, desperately wanted to ring “wah wah’s” like the older choirs. They needed a Christmas anthem, and I wanted to write a solid anthem for my Level 1 choir that had a variety of techniques and was fun and celebratory.” She said, “They love getting to ring all the techniques and think the song is really fun! They are proud to ring a longer anthem and love that the song is dedicated to them.”

This piece uses a number of techniques. There are shakes, echoes, martellatos, and a martellato lift.

I asked Jill if she had a favorite section in the piece. She said, “I like the echoes that originally inspired the piece. I also really love the progressions in measures 35-38 at the climax of the melody.”

If you don’t know Jill, she lives in northwest New Jersey – Area 2. She has another piece, “Scherzetto,” published by AGEHR. She teaches early childhood music and lower school computers at Gill St. Bernard’s School. She also directs four handbell choirs at Trinity United Methodist Church in Hackettstown, New Jersey. Her high school choir, the Trinity Ringers, performed with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland at Carnegie Hall this fall. And her son, Ben, recently asked her to start a handbell choir for Kindergartners so he can ring too. She says, “I’m thinking a 5th choir may be in my near future.”

She says, “my favorite sounds (besides handbells, of course) are my son’s belly laughs and the sounds of a baseball game. We love catching a ball game at our local minor league stadium cheering for the Somerset Patriots. Here’s a picture of son Ben, husband Ryan and Jill at a recent baseball game.

Jill made the comment that “the handbell community is truly the most welcoming, accepting, and encouraging group of people. I started ringing 29 years ago and through handbells, have found my closest friends and family. I attended my first National event at the 50th anniversary in Norfolk and as cliche as it may sound, the experience changed my life both personally and professionally. I never could have imagined that ten years later, I would attend National Seminar in Atlanta as chair elect of Area 2, the director of the handbell program I grew up ringing in and a published handbell composer.”

“News! News!” is a wonderful selection for Christmas. The techniques and sounds will delight.


Until next month,
John Behnke, Music Editor

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