July 19-21

Distinctly Teen is designed for individual young ringers (8th–12th grade) who wish to stretch their ringing skills and challenge their musicianship.

Distinctly Teen

Distinctly Teen is designed for individual young ringers (8th–12th grade) who wish to stretch their ringing skills and challenge their musicianship.

Participants will spend 2½ days working on intermediate to advanced repertoire and developing skills in handbell technique and general musicianship under the leadership of Emily Li. The event schedule will combine dedicated rehearsal time for Distinctly Teen with the opportunity to attend classes offered as part of the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar. Plus, attendees who register by March 15 will get to help choose a pop tune that will be specially arranged for the Distinctly Teen ensemble by arranger Nick Hanson.

The event culminates with a final public performance with the National Seminar All-Star Ensemble on Saturday, July 21.

About Emily Li

Emily Li holds a Master Degree in music, major in composition. She started ringing in 1986 and has since developed an obsession with this instrument. She received her handbell training with renowned experts on performance, conducting and composition in the United States for many years, and she completed the graduate handbell program at Concordia University, Wisconsin.

Having the mission to promote handbell ringing in Hong Kong, Emily founded the HK Handbell Academy in 2004 with aims to provide handbell resources and proper training for the young generations. She founded the Handbell Association of HK and organized the annual HK Handbell Festival since 2006. At present, she is the Artistic Director of the Academy, Chairperson of Handbell Association of HK, director of the HK Youth Handbell Ensemble and the principal guest conductor for Ministry of Bellz in Singapore. Emily loves nurturing youngsters holistically through ringing. Her youth ensemble has performed around the world. She served as the clinician and massed ring conductor at the 15th, 16th  & 17 th  International Handbell Symposium in Liverpool, Korea and Vancouver.  

Emily is a published composer and handbell soloist. She performed as a handbell soloist at the National Seminar concert (Cincinnati, 2012), director of the HK Youth Handbell Ensemble at the Final Concert (Portland, 2013) and director of the All Stars Choir (Atlanta, 2014).  


Each registrant is responsible for purchasing the following music:

  • Procession in Bronze – Sherman / Red River RRG0011 / L.4
  • Cantabile – Li / AGEHR AG35244 / L.3
  • Gaudete – Glasgow / Choristers Guild CGB907 / L.4-

Register by March 15, and vote for your choice from the options below to be arranged for Distinctly Teen by Nick Hanson:

  • “Perfect” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Meant to Be” – Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line
  • “Something Just Like This” – Chainsmokers & Coldplay
  • “Treat You Better” – Shawn Mendes

National Seminar Classes

Your registration includes the opportunity to attend classes offered at National Seminar. During the registration process, you will be asked to pre-register for the classes you want to take. You will be able to attend five class sessions — 7, 8, 11, 12, and 16.

For a complete list of class descriptions, visit this page.

Event Schedule

You must pre-register for any class sessions. To help you plan your personal Distinctly Teen experience and to aid in the registration process, download the Distinctly Teen Personal Event Planner.

Please see the General Event Schedule for the complete lineup of activities


Registration fee is $125 and includes:

  • All scheduled event activities
  • Event T-Shirt
  • Hymn Festival
  • Campanas Cristalis Concert
  • Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble Concert
  • Dinner on Thursday and Friday

How to Register

  1. Login to your Handbell Musicians of America account.  If you need login assistance, contact viverson@handbellmusicians.org.
  2. After logging in, follow the registration link on your login welcome page for Distinctly Teen.
  3. Follow the prompts to complete and pay for your registration.


All event activities will take place at DeVos Place Convention Center and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The two venues are connected via a skywalk.

The Amway Grand Plaza, considered the finest hotel in West Michigan, sits snuggled in downtown Grand Rapids — surrounded by art museums, stunning architecture, a lively music, sports, and theater scene and arguably some of the best restaurants and the very best breweries in the entire country. Not to mention the incredible scene surrounding you before you even walk out of our doors.

Special Rates and Registration Information

Go to the Lodging and Transportation page for rates and reservation information.

Hotel Surcharge

To ensure that we are able to meet the room block required by the Hyatt Regency Orange County, registrants who opt for alternate lodging are required to pay an additional surcharge of $150.00. This surcharge does not apply to registrants with a home address within a 60-mile driving radius of the event site. Lodging requirements will be confirmed using a rooming list of reservations provided by the Amway Grand Plaza.

News & Announcements


Our annual silent auction is a major fundraiser for Handbell Musicians of America.  Consider supporting our mission by donating an item to be included in the auction.

About Silent Auction

Event Schedules

General Event Schedule

Pre-registration is required for all Seminar classes. To help you plan which classes you wish to take before completing the online registration process, you may download and fill out the following Personal Event Schedule Planner.




Use of Tablets to Hold Music 

Handbell Musicians of America is committed to upholding the copyright laws of the United States and protecting the rights of our publishers, arrangers and composers.  If you wish to use a tablet computer to hold your music in place of standard paper copies on a music stand, you must contact the publisher of each piece of music to first obtain permission to convert a purchased piece of music to the format required for the tablet you are using.  Copies of the written permission received from publishers must be presented on request from the event organizer, event chair, or Handbell Musicians of America staff. Permission from a publisher for one piece does not imply permission for other songs from the same publisher.  The title of each song used in this format must be included in the written permission received. Attendee should also have legally purchased copies of all music with them for verification.