New: Classes from National Seminar 2020 Online

The following are some of the favorite sessions from the online National Seminar 2020 that will be most beneficial to handbell musicians as they navigate ringing in these days of COVID. More National Seminar 2020 classes will be coming soon.

Assembling an Ensemble Virtually

Ringing together in a handbell ensemble is one of the most rewarding group experiences.  Using a little technology you can still enjoy making music together, even when physically separated.  This class will follow the basic process for preparing, recording, and editing a virtual ensemble, from creating parts and click tracks all the way through synchronizing and editing the clips.  We will focus on the process as a whole, not use of specific software, and will include some suggestions for free or cheap editing software.

Instructor: Brian Seemann

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Keeping up Handbell Skills: Bells Not Necessary

Let’s be honest, handbells ain’t happening right now in the traditional, full-ensemble, prepare-for-worship-or-performance kind of way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t grow as a musician during this time, even without access to handbells. Correctly-executed motion is necessary to ring a handbell, and precise timing is necessary to ring the handbell on beat. However, handbells themselves are NOT necessary to develop these fundamentals. This class will explore ways to keep ringing skills sharp, as well as how to practice at home with handbell music.

Instructor: Nick Hanson, Brian Seemann

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First Look: How to introduce New Music

Everyone knows the importance of first impressions. Learn ways to introduce new music to your choir that will help them learn the music before even touching a bell. The class will cover sight-reading strategies, your musical “handshake,” and ways to read through music together without bells (or even over Zoom). 

Instructor: Stevie Berryman

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Sing-a-Long with Henry: Fun Ways to Engage Your Children’s Bell Group via Zoom

During this time of Sheltering-in-Place, many of us have been searching for ways to connect and engage ringers from our at-home bunkers. This session will share ideas to connect with your children’s bell groups and keep them engaged and excited about ringing handbells until we can be together in person again.

Instructor: Brian Childers

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Nick Hanson received a BA degree from Concordia University, Irvine, CA, as a major in music with concentration in handbells. He just finished his twelfth year as the director of handbell ensembles at the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia, teaching privatehandbell lessons and instrumental music to 5th –12th grade students in four handbell ensembles. He also just finished his tenth year as the handbell director at Bush Hill Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Nick has served as faculty, clinician, and conductor at handbell events in 13 states, Washington DC, and internationally in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. In 2015, Nick was chosen as the first-ever Associate Conductor for Distinctly Bronze under the mentorship of renowned conductor, Dr. William A. Payn. Also in 2015, Nick conducted the Distinctly Teen ensemble at the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar in Dallas, Texas. Most recently, Nick was the 2018 guest foreign conductor for the concert “Showtime” performed by the Ministry of Bellz, the premier handbell ensemble of Singapore. He has written articles for the national handbell magazine “Overtones”, and has arranged and composed over 40 pieces of handbell music.

Brian Seemann lives in McLean, VA, where he is the Handbell Director at National United Methodist Church in Washington D.C. He also works as the assistant handbell instructor at The Potomac School, McLean, VA. He has been Music Director of Virginia Bronze, the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble, and the New England Ringers, and has performed with Sonos Handbell Ensemble, Back Bay Ringers, and the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble. Brian is also a published composer, and has served as faculty, clinician, and conductor around the US as well as at several International Handbell Symposia. Outside of handbells Brian is heavily involved in other aspects of performing arts. He spent four summers marching with the Jersey Surf and Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, and has been on the instructional staff of several high school marching band and color guards.

Composer of a variety of forms of music or handbells, choral , and large ensemble. Music Advisor for HMA, and Conductor and coach for handbell ensembles. "Ringing Deeply" Brian's book of devotions for ringers and directors is being used by handbell groups across the United States and beyond. Brian's music is available through a variety of publishers, including his own "Bellissimo Publications: available through Jeffers.

Stevie Berryman is astonishingly good at the game Boggle. She can fold a fitted sheet so it looks like it came right out of the package. Likewise, her skills as music director and teacher have also been acquired through long hours of arduous and dedicated practice. For much of her career Stevie has directed seven or more ensembles each week, meaning she has 98 years of experience (in dog years). Her effusive energy and wild creativity found a perfect setting in 2013 when she became the Artistic Director of the Houston Chamber Ringers, which has let her smash together her love for music, laughter, and tacos in a truly remarkable way. She has a particular passion for teaching children how to ring, and her innovative methods have made her a sought-after educator at area and national handbell festivals. Stevie loves helping other choirs as a private clinician, or planning epic concerts for them as a creative consultant. Her next step in global domination is to take over the card game world with the company she owns and founded with her husband Paul, Truly Horrible Things. In real life she is the handbell director at First Congregational Church in Houston, Texas.