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E-Notes October 2015


This Month

Call for Faculty & Performers – Deadline November 1

College Ring-In – More Details Available

Annual Giving – Support Our Mission

International Symposium – Early Bird Deadline October 31

Malmark & Zildjian “Forge Bond” to Recreate Cherished Asian Wedding Bell

Music Notes from John Behnke


National Events

Please consider helping defray the Guild’s
day-to-day expenses
by making a
contribution to


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. 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



Call for Faculty & Performers
Deadline November 1

The National Seminar planning committee is seeking submissions from those interested in sharing their talents and expertise at our annual event.  The event is scheduled for July 12-16 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, New York.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE is November 1, 2015.

See complete details and application forms below:

Faculty/Class Submissions

  • Those submitting must have their own individual Handbell Musician membership or be the primary contact for an organization’s Handbell Musician membership.
  • Consider all aspects of handbell musicianship in all settings as you develop your class ideas. The committee strives to select a wide variety of classes for all constituencies of our membership.
  • Those submitting more than one class topic will be given priority consideration.
  • Those interested in teaching at the event must submit a separate Class Submission Application for each class topic/idea they would like to present.  Download the Class Submission Application by clicking the application button below.  Completed applications must be emailed to
  • Any applicant that did has not taught at a National Seminar or Pinnacle in the past three year (since Portland 2013) must provide two letters of reference from individuals who have observed the applicant teaching within the past 12 months. These letters must be sent directly to by the person providing the reference.
  • Deadline for submission is November 1. Applicants will be notified of committee selections by January 1, 2016.
  • Questions regarding the process should be directed to


Performer Submissions

  • Those submitting must have a Handbell Musician membership in the name of the performer or performing group.
  • We will be selecting feature performers for four evening concerts and two to four more performers for daytime mini-concerts.
  • The committee strives to select performers that represent all areas of Guild membership. Performers from worship settings, schools, and the community, as well as youth, adult, soloists, small ensembles, and other unique combinations, will all be considered.
  • Those interested must complete a Performer Submission Application which is available by clicking the application button below.  The completed application must be emailed to
  • A link to an on-line video of a recent performance will be required with the application.
  • Deadline for submission is November 1. Applicants will be notified of committee selections by January 1, 2016.
  • Questions regarding the process should be directed to


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College Ring-In – More Details Available

Schedule and repertoire are now available for the College Ring-In with Michael Joy, a new event for college students and recent alumni.  The event is scheduled for January 14-16 and will be held at Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton, Illinois.

Registration is on an individual-basis, with attendees receiving specific ringing assignments in a set of ad-hoc choirs, similar to the Distinctly Bronze format.  In addition, the event will provide opportunities for participants to bring their own unpublished compositions and arrangements for reading by the group. During these reading sessions, handbell publishers and editors will be on hand to provide guidance and advice about the publishing process.

Registration is now open $85 per person.  Members (including sub-members) receive a $15 discount.  Registration includes lunch on Friday and Saturday.


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Annual Giving – Support our Mission

Handbell Musicians of America relies on your charitable contributions to support the development of new resources and events that drive our mission to advance the art of handbell and handchime ringing through education community and communication.  Member dues alone are not enough.
Help us continue to offer programs like Back to Bells and provide services and benefits to handbell musicians around the world, giving them the tools they need to thrive.

Our new partnership with the Network for Good makes giving easier than ever.  Visit our giving page and make your contribution today.


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International Symposium – Early Bird Deadline October 31

The Handbell Guilds of Canada will host the next International Handbell Symposium in Vancouver, Canada, July 26-30, 2016. The deadline for early bird pricing is October 31.


Handbell Musicians of America members who wish to attend will need to pre-register first. To get more information about registration fees, deadlines and to pre-register, follow the following link:


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From Malmark Bellcraftsmen:

Malmark & Zildjian “Forge Bond” to Recreate Cherished Asian Wedding Bell for Carter Beauford

Carter Beauford is not your typical rock or jam band drummer. Carter has honed his craft for over 30 years and is a founding member of the Dave Matthews Band. Steeped in a love for jazz and meticulous in his approach, he is known for his ambidexterity, the use of his kit as a melodic instrument and his impeccable, syncopated and unique hi-hat patterns.

Continuing his quest to add to his hi-hat sticking technique and sound, Carter came across (10 years ago?) many years ago a bronze oriental weeding bell and mounted it, upside down, on his hi-hats. It has become a staple of kit and sound ever since.

This past spring, after many years of service, the wedding bell went silent due to a crack. With a lengthy world tour on the horizon Carter reached out to Zildjian, makers of cymbals for nearly 400 years and suppliers of his extensive setup, for help in recreating the bell.

While considered to be the best cymbal company in the world, Zildjian to their credit recognized bell crafting is not part of their many talents. They quickly reached out to the bellcrafters at Malmark. While Malmark’s 40 years on the job is only one tenth of Zildjian’s, it took little time to become known as the world’s finest maker of handbells.

The production team at Malmark met with Zildjian and Carter’s drum tech and was asked if they could make one just like it. Well, you don’t get to be the premiere handbell maker by saying no to a challenge. Not long after taking possession of the broken bell they started a series of diagnostic and audio tests and utilized an optical comparator in order to recreate the bell to the same exact specs as the original.

Knowing that the true sound of a bell is deeply influenced by the quality of the materials used, Malmark enlisted the help of their foundry, Bridesburg Foundry to provide them with castings of the highest quality bell bronze, made via sandcasting. “It was roughly the same shape of the bell and we took that chunk of bronze and, with the help of CAD software, made our first sample on a CNC lathe,” said Malmark Tool Maker, Brad Miley. The result of all of the team work was a bell that t looked exactly like the original bell. However although both Zildjian and the production team at Malmark were in agreement that the bell looked beautiful, and was the exact size and shape of the original, the sound was not a perfect match.

Agreeing on what was a perfect sound match led to a lengthy discussion. Cymbal makers like Zildjian live in a world of relative pitch, while bellmakers live in a world of exact, or perfect, pitch. “After some back and forth it was determined that the bell should be tuned to D6,” indicated Steve Cacciola, Malmark’s Director of Operations, “however, that would require some changes to the original shape. Sound vs. wall thickness vs. durability vs. weight were all considerations that got bandied about. In the end, however, it was all about the sound.”

To the uninformed eye, there is no difference between the new bell that now sits atop Carter’s hi-hat rig and the original, and that’s how it should be. But Carter, the Zildjian team and the craftsmen at Malmark know how much effort and expertise were needed to pull off this project. Malmark President, Tim Schuback says, “I am so proud of our team here and their ability to work with Zildjian to give Carter exactly what he was looking for. We are thrilled that the bell we made is being played by one of the greatest drummers on the planet, on the stages of the biggest venues world-round.”

To find out where you can see Carter Beauford playing the Malmark produced wedding bell live click here: Dave Matthews Band Tour Info


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Music Notes from John Behnke

Christmas is Coming

It’s amazing that once school starts up and the temps decrease, we begin to think about Christmas.   This month’s featured piece is a fun and novel piece for your Christmas or Holiday concerts.   The title is “Sleigh Ride” but it’s not by Leroy Anderson, it’s by the master composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.   That’s right, Mozart wrote a Sleigh Ride as well.   It’s the third piece in his Three German Dances K.605 and it was written in 1791.   For us, it’s AG35341 “Sleigh Ride,” by W.A. Mozart, arranged by Joy Toll-Chandler for 3-5 octaves of bells, and 3 octaves of optional handchimes, plus optional sleigh bells.  It’s a Level 3 piece.

I asked arranger Joy Toll-Chandler what prompted her to arrange this piece.   She said,  “It was suggested to me by a fellow bell-ringer from the community choir in which I ring.   I didn’t touch it for a year or more, and when I went to National Seminar and took the composition class for a little review, I pulled this project out!”

As ringers listen to other music, I think they are always wondering how would this sound on bells?   Joy goes on to say “I also really liked the idea of taking something that was so ‘old’ and making it ‘new’ for handbells! Often we play hymns and newly composed works, but working with something that was written by Mozart is amazing.”

I asked Joy if she had a favorite part of the piece and she said, “I love the middle section where the sleigh bells start to ring!”   I do too.  In fact, Mozart, when he performed it, had specially tuned sleigh bells made just for this piece.

As is the case with classical music, the piece is sectional and proportional.   A motive of two marts “announces” the opening A section and the piece.   Joy has used thumb damps and marts throughout this piece to provide wonderful accents and articulation.   After the opening A section, comes the Trio and this is where the sleigh bells first appear.    It’s a wonderful piece to learn section by section and teach musical form.

I asked Joy if she has heard comments from other choirs who have played “Sleigh Ride.”   And she said, “My choir worked along with me as I was trying to ‘hear’ what I was working on, and we played it at our winter variety show last year.  As the director of the choir and of the event, I was so involved with making sure everything happened ok that day, I really didn’t get to listen to it.  My first real ‘hearing’ of the piece was when I heard it played by the Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble with tuned and rented antique sleigh bells!  I was sitting in a beautiful garden in Florida, decorated for Christmas, and listening to my arrangement of “Sleigh Bells” on a live stream.  How crazy is that?”

As you know I love to get the “dirt” on composers and their pieces.   So here’s what I discovered.   Joy Toll-Chandler is the director of worship arts at Burnt Store Presbyterian Church in Punta Gorda, Florida.   She has her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York, a Master of Divinity degree from Drew University, and a Master of Church Music degree  (Handbell Emphasis) from Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin.   She is married to husband Paul, and they have married/grown children.   Paul is a teacher and referees high school basketball and volleyball.   Joy loves to travel, watch movies, and spend time with her family.   The picture is Joy with her children.   Plus she has learned to play Mah Jong, and enjoys playing it with her friends.   She also has a “pet alligator” in the pond next to her home.


Until next month,
John Behnke, Music Editor

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