This Month

Don’t Miss Out on College Ring-In

Spots Still Open for Reaching for Bronze

Deadline Approaching for Honorary Life Nominations

International Symposium Registration Now Open

Watch for Cyber Monday Specials Coming Soon

Video of the Month

Brian’s Music Notes



Nominations for national board are due by SEPTEMBER 1. GO HERE for details and nomination form.

Nominations for Honorary Life Membership award are due by DECEMBER 1. GO HERE for details and nomination form.

National Events

GO HERE to find out more about all our national events.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to receive notifications about new videos and live streams.

Become a Sustaining Partner

Upgrade your membership to SUSTAINING PARTNER and play an important role in ensuring the future of Handbell Musicians of America. As a SUSTAINING PARTNER

  • You are CONNECTED to the handbell community
  • You are IN PARTNERSHIP with other handbell musicians
  • You are NURTURED through education and resources


hf-logo-260px 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 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

Registration Now Open for College Ring-In 2020

Houston, Texas • Jan. 3-5, 2020
Stevie Berryman, Conductor

Join us January 3-5, 2020, for our College Ring-In, an event for college students and recent alumni.  Three days of ringing under the direction of Stevie Berryman culminates in a public concert on the final afternoon.  Participants will be given their own individual ringing assignment to prepare in advance and then join other attendees to rehearse and polish the music for the final concert.

This year’s music is a concert of movie music, which will include providing the sound track to a silent movie short.We will also live stream the final concert.

College Ring-In 2018 in Princeton, New Jersey

The event also includes a reading session of unpublished compositions and arrangements submitted by participants.  We’ll have publishers and editors from the handbell industry on hand to provide advice and guidance regarding copyright permissions and the publication process.

Info & Registration

Return to top

Spaces Still Open for Reaching for Bronze
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.

Reaching for Bronze alumnus Sheri Roach says of the event, “Don’t let the name Reaching for Bronze fool you. Although this event gives intermediate ringers an inside peek at what a DB event is like, it’s not just for those who hope someday to ring at the bronze level. The top clinicians in the country often direct the big festivals, where you are one in possibly several hundred ringers. Reaching for Bronze is an opportunity for intermediate ringers to ring with one of the best clinicians in a smaller group, where the focus is on each individual ringer advancing to his or her next higher level of ringing ability.”

Event Details

Return to top

Deadline Approaching for Honorary Life Nominations

Nominations must be received by December 1

The Guild’s first Honorary Life Membership Award was given to Frederick Sharpe in 1963 at the eighth National Convention in Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Sharpe was the honored guest at the convention and was considered the foremost English authority on tower bells, having done much to further the art of handbell ringing during his lifetime. His contributions became the model for future Honorary Life Membership Awards which now total 38 throughout the history of Handbell Musicians of America.

According to the Honorary Life Policy which has been developed by the national board of directors, the granting of an Honorary Life Membership Award in the Guild is reserved “for those who have made outstanding contributions to the art of handbell ringing. This status is to be deemed the highest honor which the Guild can bestow and is to be reserved for individuals of the highest caliber.” This 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.

Honorary Life Submissions

Return to top

Registration Open for International Symposium in Hong Kong

In August 2020, a distinctively beautiful sound will reverberate throughout the Pearl of the Orient. We wish to bring handbell ringers from around the world to Hong Kong. to make joyful and ethereal music together.

The International Handbell Symposium is an event that celebrates the flourishing of communication between nations, the spreading of the musical art of handbell and handchime ringing, and the spirit of peace through music. The event happens every two years, rotating between the member organization of the International Handbell Committee.

The event—for members of affiliated guilds, their friends and family—features massed ringing, educational workshops, cultural experiences, and opportunities to network and form friendships with handbell musicians from around the world.

This event is hosted by the Handbell Association of Hong Kong. This registration form is for members of Handbell Musicians of America from the United States only. Please login to your member account before starting your registration. To learn more about the event or to register from another country, visit

Details & Registration


Return to top

Thanksgiving is Right Around the Corner and Followed Closely by CYBER MONDAY!

Watch your e-mail, and join us Monday, December 2, for special discounts on

  • E-Press titles in our Online Store
  • Virtual Bell Acacemy Archive
  • New Sub-Memberships
  • Handbell Bucks
  • Handbell Musicians of America Apparel

Return to top

Video of the Month

The Highland Elementary Chime Choir plays the National Anthem at Lone Peak High School’s Varsity Basketball game on February 19, 2016. Their director, Paige Erickson, says, “Every year, my chimes choir at school goes to the local high school to perform the National Anthem at one or two basketball games. The kids feel like Rock Stars and it’s fun for them, and the team.”

Return to top

Brian’s Music Notes

with Brian Childers

All Things Bright and Beautiful
Arr. Susan Geschke


This wonderful hymn has been arranged for 2-3 octaves of handbells by Susan Geshke. It opens with an 8-measure introduction comprised of original material utilizing the rhythmic motif of the verses of the hymn. The first statement of the refrain and verse begins at ms. 9 and is rung through in its entirety. The introduction material returns as an 8-measure interlude in measure 25, followed by a second statement of the refrain and verse. This time, the melody is found in the lower trebles and is outlined above and below by light martelattos. A third statement of the refrain and verse follows immediately, performed with all ringing and a few marts and swings for effect. The arrangement concludes with a final statement of the intro material, forming nice bookends to this lovely, accessible arrangement. You can place an order for “All Things Bright and Beautiful” from Lorenz:

About the Arranger

Dr. Susan Geschke is an energetic and inspiring conductor with a reputation for combining hard work with fun. She enthusiastically promotes opportunities for combined musical efforts, i.e. handbells and flute, handbells and choir, etc. People have told her that her rehearsals are more like an aerobic workout than a rehearsal: high energy level combined with hard work and lots of laughter. To date, she has more than 100 publications ranging from original pieces to traditional to contemporary styles of music. In her spare time, Susan enjoys kayaking, zip lining, spending time with family and friends, and diving deeper into God’s Word. Her first published piece was an original composition called “Rejoice with Gladness” published in 1998 by AGEHR.

Rehearsal Notes from the arranger

“As I watched my young boys joyfully bounce around the house, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this song’s words: All creatures great and small…the Lord God made them all! I arranged this song in thankful praise to God for those two little blessings. I’ve always loved this English melody! The piece came together very quickly and debuted for my intermediate choir’s final worship service in May. As is often the case, I arranged this setting for a specific choir, taking into account their level of experience, likes and dislikes, and my teaching goals to mature them as ringers. For example, you might notice that in the first two measures, the eighth notes fall easily into bell assignments, i.e. (E6 and F6), (C6 and D 6), and (A5 and B5.) That was quite intentional, and what it means is that those assignments —especially in the opening measures—make it easier for ringers to play the moving notes smoothly and easily.

“My hope is that the eight-measure introduction/interlude will help you see the beauty of God’s creation. As I worked on those measures, I imagined I was standing in the early morning English countryside—dawn’s pale light just beginning to flood the sky—its soft rosy glow dispersing the night. Warm, yet playful. Can you feel it?

I wanted to give everyone a chance to ring the melody—not just the treble bells—and everyone an opportunity to mart the accompaniment. My ringers had just reached this milestone and were begging me to let them showcase their new skills. I frequently use my pieces as a teaching tool, and ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ is no exception. The marts starting at measure 33 also encouraged my ringers to count precisely, listen to each other, and hold back—resist to urge to rush—as sometimes happens with sections like measures 33-48.”

I asked Susan how she was introduced to handbells. She responded, “I first experienced handbells when a friend of mine invited me to a May handbell concert where her daughter was ringing. I had no idea what to expect, since I had never seen or even heard a handbell before in my life! The energy, exuberance (at one point a music stand tipped over onto the floor but the ringing continued), and the incredible joy that radiated from these kids touched my heart in a way that I had never felt before. I was fascinated and thoroughly in love with handbells, and I decided right on the spot that I wanted to begin a handbell program at the church where I was music director. Over the past twenty-five years, I’ve been blessed with the good fortune to start or develop a strong handbell program where the good Lord has seen fit to place me, leaving behind a trail of ringers stretching across the country.”


All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.

1 Each little flow’r that opens, each little bird that sings,
he made their glowing colors, he made their tiny wings.

2 The purple-headed mountain, the river running by,
the sunset, and the morning that brightens up the sky.

3 The cold wind in the winter, the pleasant summer sun,
the ripe fruits in the garden, he made them, ev’ry one.

4 The tall trees in the greenwood, the meadows where we play,
the flowers by the water we gather ev’ry day.

5 He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty, who has made all things well.

Author Background

Cecil Frances Alexander was born in 1818 in Dublin. In 1850 she married Rev. William Alexander, who later became the Anglican primate (chief bishop) of Ireland. She showed her concern for disadvantaged people by traveling many miles daily to visit the sick and poor, providing food, warm clothes, and medical supplies. She and her sister also founded a school for the deaf.  “All Things Bright and Beautiful” was first published in 1848 in a collection titled “Hymns for Little Children.” This collection included several hymns which were Alexander’s  attempt to convert the Apostles’ Creed into songs for children.

“I Believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth” became “All Things Bright and Beautiful.”
“…who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary” became “Once in Royal David’s City.”
“…suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried” became “There is a Green Hill Far Away.”

Some historians also believe this hymn may have also been inspired by a verse from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “He prayeth best, who loveth best; All things great and small; For the dear God who loveth us; He made and loveth all.”

Then Sings My Soul, Book 2, Robert J. Morga

See & Hear the Music

Until next month,

Brian Childers
Music Adviser

Return to top