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E-Notes October 2014


This Month

Register Now for Master Series 2015

Distinctly Bronze West 2014
Registration Now Open

Support Handbell Musicians of America through Amazon Smile

Free College Student Memberships

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 Twin Cities Bronze to your handbell library with special pricing on all of our CDs. Normally $15, you can purchase Holidays in Bronze, Encores in Bronze, or Boys Singing- Bells Ringing for only $10 each. Visit and click on Bronze Boutique. Offer good through December 31, 2014.



The Care and Feeding of Youth Handbell Choirs

In “Budgeting for Not-For-Profit Organizations, Michael McCrary talks about everything from revenues and expenses to potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Visit Handbell Musician Resources>>


Register Now for Master Series 2015

Master Series will be held January 23 – 26, 2015 at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott. Registration is now open, and applications to participate specifically in the Conducting Master Class are due
November 1.

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:

Master Class in Conducting

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.

Master Class in Composition

This course provides composers of all levels the opportunity to work one-on-one with master composer, Sondra Tucker.  Participants will complete a new composition (or one already in the works) during the course and have the opportunity to hear it played by a local choir of volunteers.

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.


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Distinctly Bronze West 2015 Registration
Now Open

Distinctly Bronze West returns to Portland, Oregon, February 26 – March 1, 2015.  The best handbell musicians around the world will gather at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower to rehearse a wide variety of music under the direction of Dr. William Payn.  A public concert will be presented at the end of the event on Sunday, March 1 at 4:00 PM.

Registration will fill quickly, so don’t wait.  Follow the link below for more information about the event.


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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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Free College Student Sub-Memberships

Playing handbells is a skill they will keep long after college, whether they plan on working in the education system or faith-based community, or they plan to continue playing as a hobby in a community ensemble.  College students who are members of their school’s handbell ensemble are eligible to receive a FREE ONE-YEAR SUB-MEMBERSHIP in Handbell Musicians of America.


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Music Notes from John Behnke

Something Beautiful for Christmas

Our featured piece for October is "Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine," AG35330, by Jason W. Krug. This is a Level 2 arrangement for 3-5 octaves of handbells and 3-5 octaves of optional handchimes.

This German carol was first used in a 16th century mystery play in Leipzig, Germany. Jason says, "It seems that there are three types of Christmas pieces—those that everyone has heard, those that folks may have heard of but not really heard, and those that most people aren’t aware even exist. I really enjoy arranging pieces from that middle group, as it’s a great way to introduce some really wonderful tunes to the handbell world, ones that are fresh, and quite beautiful."

Jason writes, "There are two parts to the tune—a verse and a refrain. The verse is a lullaby: ‘Joseph, dearest, Joseph mine, help me cradle the Babe divine.’ In contrast, the refrain is this celebratory, joyful exclamation of the importance of the day: ‘He came among us at Christmastime!’ I let the verse, the lullaby, run twice, and then the piece builds to this grand, effusive moment when the refrain at last comes in, proclaiming the Good Word. I really like the way the music swells into this jubilant moment, a moment where, despite trying to calm a newborn baby, joy and happiness win out, totally unable to be contained. At the time I wrote the piece, with my son’s birth in the not-too-distant past, the tune, the text, and the emotion really spoke to me."

That grand climatic moment occurs at m. 59 when all the bells are playing a wonderful forte. The words from the refrain are "Love’s diadem, Jesus, Jesus; Lo, he comes and loves and saves and frees us." When the words Jesus, Jesus occur, Jason stops everything at m. 73 and writes two long "forte" chords, and echoes them at m. 75 with two long "mezzo piano" chords. In essence, everything stops for Jesus.

Jason says, "Since the start of the year, I’ve had a new full-time job: stay-at-home dad! Our son just turned two-and-a-half, and I get the joy of being with him every day. Fortunately for me, he still takes naps, so that gives me a good two hours every weekday afternoon to get some composing done. Being a stay-at-home dad and being a composer are two fantastic jobs, and I feel very fortunate that I get to do them both full-time. Beyond that, whenever I can snag a spare minute, I still enjoy writing fiction, and I am still working (albeit very, very slowly) on my young adult fantasy series."

Jason says, "We as handbell musicians have this fantastic art form we’re a part of, but in many ways, we’re still few and far-between, at least compared to a lot of other artists and musicians. Handbell Musicians of America unites us, connects us with each other and with the greater world, and helps introduce handbell ringing to the rest of the the nation. It’s the community that will help us grow and keep us strong in the years to come."

I hope you will take a moment to listen to and look through this beautiful Level 2 arrangement of "Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine" for Christmas.



Until next month,
John Behnke, Music Editor

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