Classes at National Seminar cover all aspects of handbell musicianship:
Techniques for treble to bass, solo to ensemble; musicality, percussion, and rhythm; managing and building a handbell program; and so much more. Review all the options below and make your selection before you begin the registration process.
Some class sessions will be available virtually as well as in-person. Look for the following icons:
Indicates that the class will be offered both virtually and in-person.
Indicates that having access to bells is suggested, though not required, if attending virtually.
Both in-person and virtual attendees may view recordings of virtual classes they do not attend live any time throughout the event and until July 25.
A Bell Choir is as Good as its Director presented by Kathleen Shaw
Often said by Don Allured and how true it is! In this non-ringing session, we’ll explore the many responsibilities of a director from equipment, recruitment, organization, repertoire choices, assignments, rehearsal techniques, ringer motivation, musician, and more!
4 On The Floor: Getting Started with Quartets & Small Ensembles presented by Mark Arnold
(Virtually in Session 2 only)
Add a new dimension to your handbell program with quartets and small ensembles – they’re not just for social distancing! We will cover techniques for ensemble ringing, music selections for different types and levels of ensembles, and hands-on ringing in a small ensemble setting.
50 Shades of Damping: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Dissonance presented by Michèle Sharik
One of the first things we learn as a handbell musician is to damp the bell. But, there is so much more to damping than just “on” or “off” — and you already know the techniques to do it! In this class, we will look at the still under-explored territory of different damping philosophies and methodologies and how we can use all of our musical knowledge, not only when ringing, but also when damping.
All the Sounds! The Handbell & Handchime Timbre Dictionary presented by Christian Guebert
Handbells and handchimes can make more distinct sounds than many people realize. We’ll use the 2020 Timbre Dictionary to explore the strange and beautiful timbres which number over 170 for bells and 70 for chimes. Let’s get more sound variety into our music!
American Handbell Change Ringing presented by Danny Lyons
This is a class about ringing changes on the handbells you already have and without regulating them differently from what’s in the cases, and using (or refining) the techniques that you already know. Leave the class with knowledge about change ringing, and with something you can use in church on any Sunday of the year.
Arranging for Non-Arrangers Steps to Success! presented by Travis Maslen
(Virtually in Session 15 only)
If you are a non-arranger and want to learn how to arrange a song methodically, then this class is for you. It is also for you if you have ideas but don’t know how to transform them into musical ideas. We will examine each stage of the decision-making process when creating an arrangement. You will follow a step-by-step approach and will be encouraged to produce content. Together, we will generate abstract ideas and learn how to transform them into musical ideas. The only prerequisite for this class is a little creativity and a willingness to participate.
Audio Recording for Handbell Ensembles presented by Bob Avant
(Virtually in Session 9 only)
Whether you are an experienced audio engineer; one who is dabbling; someone who wants to know more about how to record handbell ensembles; or utilize audio for a livestream this session is for you. Capturing handbells presents a challenge as compared to other instruments. There are a number of variables to consider including the categories of audio goals, layouts, locations, equipment, process, and post-production.
Audition Skills for Ringers presented by Sharon Schmidt
Are you eager to join a community or college group? Auditions can be new and scary territory for ringers. We’ll step through the entire process from signing up to dealing with the results.
Balls! presented by Stevie Berryman
Take a break from ringing, but not from improving your skills! Learn how a $30 bucket of tennis balls can provide a year’s worth of games for your handbell choir that teach rhythm, coordination, ensemble skills, and more. Participation is expected. Protective gear is optional.
Basic Training for Beginning Handbell Musicians presented by Kaethe Grabenhofer
For those who want to try ringing or are just starting out. No experience necessary. We will cover all the basics. Come and have fun learning a new instrument.
Beginning Conducting presented by Brian Childers
(Virtually in Session 1 only)
A hands-on entry-level class for beginning conductors.
Bell Tree Beginnings: Where Do I Start? presented by Karen Van Wert
Start with a single strand of bells and inexpensive equipment. String a tree, discover the $5 bell tree pole, and ring. You’ll be given simple melodies to play that sound great on the bell tree. From solo to ensemble, we’ll talk about ways you can be creative with bell trees in your situation. Bell trees are handy to have in your toolbox anytime but especially during this time of virtual music. Please bring mallets to class.
Bell Tree Creativity: Hymn Embellishments Made Easy presented by Karen Van Wert
There are so many easy ways you can add embellishments to make a hymn shine – through ostinato phrases, rhythms, and more. A few basic skills will empower you. We’ll turn your creativity loose so you will return home with ideas of how to embellish a hymn tune using a simple bell tree. Bell Tree Beginnings or bell tree ringing experience are required. Bring mallets to class.
Bell Trees Plus Choir: Extending Bell Tree Skills presented by Karen Van Wert
Bell trees were introduced to the handbell community in the 1980s by Louise Frier. She developed this concept to extend her choir and involve more people by combining handbells and chimes at the table with Bell Trees as a processional element. It also added an element of the show to concerts and special occasions. I will take you on a journey through bell tree and choir music and adapting music for bell tree and choir.
Boomwhacking Your Way to Social-Emotional Learning presented by Greg Urban
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the new buzzword in education. Come learn how to use experiential activities (and Boomwhackers) to teach these important skills to people of all ages. For the educators, directors, and people who just love Boomwhackers!
Brazilian Rhythm on Handbells presented by Bruna Marinho
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Brazil? Carnival? Dance? Rhythm? PROBABLY! AND YES! We have wonderful music and here it is your chance to learn about it. But, better than that, you will be able to do Brazilian rhythms on handbells. Join us and learn how the Brazilian rhythm works and how to perform it on bells sounding original, authentic, and creative.
The Care & Maintenance of Malmark Instruments presented by Kathleen Shaw
Join us to gain knowledge of the basic design of your instruments. The design and component parts of Malmark handbells and Choirchimes will be explained. Routine maintenance tips will be offered to keep your instruments in good ringing condition.
Certification Level 2: Arranging & Composing 1 – Introduction to the Elements presented by Sondra Tucker
Learn to use the full range of bells by creating a simple processional, craft a melody that catches the listener’s emotions and attention, harmonize that melody, and assemble the beginnings of a simple arrangement.
Prerequisite: Music Theory 2 or consent of Instructor. For more details go to http://certification.handbellmusicians.org/arranging-and-composing/
Certification Level 2: Conducting presented by Lee Afdahl
Level 2 examines the components of conducting, execution of metrical patterns, and the means by which to communicate all the musical indicators contained in the score in a clear, concise, and understandable manner.
Prerequisite: Conducting Level 1 & a video submission. For more details go to http://certification.handbellmusicians.org/conducting/
Certification Level 2: Handbell Techniques presented by Michèle Sharik
Handbell Techniques Certification level 2 examines basic multiple-instrument handbell and handchime ringing and damping techniques (commonly known as “weaving”) as well as handbell and handchime articulation techniques. Special attention will be given to identifying current and historical notational conventions for the various handbell and handchime articulation techniques, as well as to principles of ergonomics and sound production.
Prerequisite: Handbell Techniques level 1. For more details go to http://certification.handbellmusicians.org/handbell-techniques/
Certification Level 2: Music Theory presented by Trinity Martin
Theory certification level 2 for directors that wish to expand their theory knowledge to improve their understanding of the music and communicate the mechanics of the music to their ensemble.
Prerequisite: Music Theory level 1. For more details go to http://certification.handbellmusicians.org/music-theory/
Concept to Encore presented by Beth Ann Edwards
(Virtually in Session 13 only)
Does your audience beg for more at the end of the concert, or do they check the time and take off before the final bow? This class teaches some techniques and offers suggestions for presenting a well-thought-out, cohesive concert that gives the audience a connection to the ringers and the music. Learn the art of selecting music, presenting it in a concise order, and crafting a musical experience that sends the audience home eagerly anticipating the next concert.
Concert Creation presented by Elizabeth Mays
Handbell concerts are wonderful events and a great way for handbell musicians to showcase their skills. But how does one go about creating a handbell concert experience? This class will look at the different elements to consider when planning a concert. It will also review examples of concerts given by various handbell ensembles to help brainstorm ideas that work for individual ensembles.
Coordination Conundrums presented by Michèle Sharik
Looking for that next-level challenge? Good coordination is essential to making music safely with handbells and chimes. Come break, er, BUILD your brain as we tackle the exercises in Valerie Stephenson’s “Coordination Conundrums!”
Developing Spiritual Community through Handbells presented by Mitchell Eithun
(Virtually in Session 12 only)
Come into God’s presence with ringing! Together we will share ideas to encourage ringers to grow in their relationships with God and each other through community building and reflection. Along with meditating on scripture (including references to bells), we will perform spiritual practices designed for handbell ringers. This class is aimed at ringers and directors in faith-based ensembles.
Extending Your Reach: Creating a Culture of Handbells in your Church or School presented by Mark Arnold
Your handbell choir is an important part of the music ministry or school program, but what’s the next step? We will explore ways to expand the handbell program as a part of the overall culture of the church or school, based on your goals and the nature of your current program.
Finale and Sibelius Help Desk presented by Cathy & David Moklebust
Need a little one-on-one assistance with Finale or Sibelius? We’re here to help! Bring your laptop with Finale or Sibelius loaded and/or any projects you’re working on. Sign up for a time to meet or just drop by when you have a minute!
First Look: How to Introduce New Music presented by Stevie Berryman
(Virtually in Session 11 only)
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. Class will cover sight-reading strategies, your musical “handshake,” and ways to read through music together without bells.
The General Theory of Creativity presented by Jason Krug
Think creativity is something reserved for a select, chosen few? Think it’s a natural talent, either you have it or you don’t? Think again! Come let your preconceived notions about creativity be debunked, and learn just how much innate, creative talent you really have. Then, learn all the myriad ways you can apply that creativity to every aspect of a handbell ensemble (whether director or ringer), and even to every facet of your personal and professional life!
Getting on the Path to Musicianship presented by Kathleen Shaw
(Virtually in Session 3 only)
So many aspects of musicality rely on how the handbells are assigned. This class will explain in detail how to make assignments for two to seven octaves and how to mark the handbell score. Pieces that use handbells and handchimes together will also be discussed.
Hamilton for Handbells presented by Jason Krug
(Virtually in Session 7 only)
The hit Broadway musical Hamilton tells of the life and times of one of the Founding Fathers … but did you know it also contains many pearls of wisdom and advice for our handbell programs? Come explore the lyrics and messages of Hamilton and see how they apply to our musicianship, our rehearsals, our concert programming, and the musical life in general!
Handbells in General Music: Elementary & Intermediate presented by Kaethe Grabenhofer
Music teachers need to have many different toolkits. They may already have access to handbells and may not have realized it. This class will give a variety of ideas and a list of suggested resources to use handbells in the general music classroom.
Handbells on Social Media presented by Bruna Marinho
(Virtually in Session 10 only)
What is the most common habit that almost everyone has around the world? Checking social media. Yes, there are people that spend more than 6 hours on social media, but there are also people that work with social media to promote your art or business and that’s what we are going to talk about in this class. Getting started can be intimidating, so here is a class with some tips for effectively promoting your art on social networks. How can we reach people on social media? How can we make them watch our videos and interact with us? How can we deal with Facebook/Instagram restrictions? How can we choose the right platform? Join us to learn effective ways to work on social media!
How Can I Legally Arrange *THAT* Song? presented by Nick Hanson, Greg Urban, Brian Seemann
(Virtually in Session 4 only)
Have you ever wondered how to get your favorite song from the radio performed on handbells, or perhaps even published? This class will talk about the steps necessary for finding and receiving permission, as well as submitting the arrangement to a publisher.
How to Cheat at Handbells presented by Brian Seemann
We’ve All been there: Too few hands, and too many notes on the page. Some notes have to be left out, but which ones? Using some basic music theory knowledge and a little score study, this class will cover how to determine what notes are really integral to the piece, and which ones you won’t notice much if they aren’t there. Using real music examples, we will cover all situations from “Should I play the bell or the chime here? I can’t play both” all the way up to “I have only 8 ringers to play 3 octaves.”
How to Mark Handbell Music presented by Brian Childers
(Virtually in Session 8 only)
This class will guide participants through the process of learning a new score, determining bell assignments, marking parts for handbell ringers and preparing for the first rehearsal. Techniques incorporate the wisdom of Don Allured, Margaret Hillis, and the instructor.
If You Can Sing It, You Can Play It presented by Jon Snyder
(Virtually in Session 8 only)
Everyone in our handbell choirs has a voice, as shown on their way into rehearsal and even between reps. Yet, when we ask them to sing or join the vocal ensemble, they respond that they can’t sing. So much can be gained by singing through instrumental music, if it has lyrics like a hymn text or not. We can learn rhythm, accents, dynamics, and more! We’ll look at strategies for introducing singing into rehearsal in an atmosphere of trust and all of the benefits we can gain from singing together.
Integrating New Ringers presented by Michael Joy
(Virtually in Session 3 only)
What does a director do when one or two ringers decide they can’t continue ringing? Most of us have faced the challenges of integrating new ringers into our group. This class will look at ringers with varying degrees of experience and explore various strategies that can be used so that the new ringer can feel successful and so the rest of the group isn’t frustrated.
It’s not Always a Nail presented by Elizabeth Mays
All of our handbell techniques give us great tools to make beautiful handbell music. But how do we determine which tool to use in our music, both as soloist or in an ensemble setting. This class will review various treble bell techniques including traditional solo ringing tools and how to apply these techniques to all styles of ringing. It is recommended to have a working knowledge of weaving and four-in-hand techniques coming into this class.
Keeping Up Handbell Skills, Bells Not Necessary presented by Brian Seemann, Nick Hanson
(Virtually in Session 5 only)
Your in-person rehearsal time is limited, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow as a musician between outside of rehearsals, 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.
Making & Using Singing Bell Batons & Bell Tree Staffs presented by Danny Lyons
Singing bell batons (sticks) have been in usage for a while, but here are some tips for making your own and tricks of the trade for using them. Bell tree staffs are not so well known, but are a cool piece of equipment to have, and they’re easy to make at home.
Making the Most of Every Gesture presented by Jon Snyder
What if you could take the best of instrumental and choral conducting and combine them effectively for your ensemble? In this class, we will explore various gestures, with and without a baton, which will allow directors to convey more information in the gesture and less in words. We will find positive aspects in your current conducting and see how we can maximize every second of rehearsal to get an excellent final product. Conductors of children through adults can apply these ideas to gestures and wait for ringers to see the difference!
Mallet like a Percussionist presented by Cathy Moklebust
(Virtually in Session 12 only)
How do percussionists make malleting look so easy? Learn a few tricks of the trade in this session which will address stance, grip, stroke, sticking, rhythms, rolling, and notation. Bring your own pair of mallets.
Manipulating the Information presented by Michael Joy
(Virtually in Session 10 only)
Neuroscientists have spent years trying to discover how the brain learns best. Here is one of the most important concepts: In order to move information from short-term memory (working memory) to long-term memory, ringers need to “manipulate the information.” This is “edu-speak” for practicing the information in many different ways. This hands-on class will explore many different ways to help the concepts in the music become more permanent, leading to more polished performances.
Motion and Meter: Ensemble Rhythm Warm-ups presented by Christian Guebert
Proper execution of natural rhythmic accents will solidify the foundation of ensemble playing. This hands-on class will utilize handbells with rhythm instruments to explore the natural rhythmic accents found in handbell music. You will leave equipped with exercises to use (as a ringer or director) and you will have the opportunity to implement these ideas by playing rhythmic excerpts from existing handbell music. Come ready to have fun and get in the movement of ensemble rhythm! BYO mallets if you have them.
Musical Analysis of Repertoire “Greats” presented by Christian Guebert
What makes a handbell masterwork? This score analysis class for composers, conductors, and enthusiasts takes apart Catherine McMichael’s “Contemplation on Ubi Caritas,” Fred Gramann’s “On Christmas Day in the Morn,” and others to uncover the elements of structure, texture, and harmony which drive these pieces.
Orff, Eurhythmics and Handbells presented by Kaethe Grabenhofer
Using movement, you will explore the space around you with and without handbells. Work on your reaction time and your rhythm. Give yourself permission to move. Explore these ideas. Come with an open mind and leave your preconceived notions and stress at the door. Carl Orff stated, “Experience first, then intellectualize.” Eurythmics will also be explored. Dress comfortably.
Playing the Classics for Free presented by Jon Snyder
(Virtually in Session 4 only)
There are hundreds of years of Western music, yet only the surface has been scratched and put into ‘proper handbell notation.’ Even for those who aren’t arrangers or composers, we can still make a couple of simple adjustments to make them playable for our choirs. We’ll look at several techniques – some requiring simple notation software skills, and some reading just off the page – to make your favorite work from the Western canon approachable, performable, and lovable by your whole choir.
PPADDLE Your Way to a Musical Performance presented by Kathleen Shaw
(Virtually in Session 1 only)
Don Allured used the acronym PPADDLE to explain the keys to musicianship in ringing. At Westminster Choir College we’ve updated it a bit through the years as we strive for musical excellence in ringing. Join us as we explore elements of a musical performance: Precision, Pulse, Accuracy, Dynamics, Duration, Legato and Emotion. Participants will have the opportunity to explore musical examples throughout the class.
Recording All Parts Yourself presented by Christian Guebert
(Virtually in Session 6 only)
With only your bells, an affordable audio recorder, and free software, you can make an excellent recording. We will teach this and then do it on the spot (if in-person). Composers/arrangers and directors can add this unique skill to their toolkit.
Refreshing and New Teambuilding Activities presented by Greg Urban
Tired of the same old silly ‘icebreakers’ and ‘get-to-know-you’ teambuilding games? Ready to refresh your bag of tricks? Come learn from the activity experts who literally wrote the book on adventure activities! We will play a few activities ourselves, and then discuss some intentional sequencing ideas and facilitation tips and tricks.
Ring til You’re 100 presented by Libbie Randels
This class focuses on reducing the muscle and joint strain associated with stance, ringing, and malleting. It is designed for ringers and directors alike. Because we all want to ring until we are 100!
Ringin’ Relay presented by Kendall Ladd
So you think you’ve mastered those handbell techniques? How about using all of the different equipment? What about sight-reading pesky rhythms and syncopation? More often than not, playing handbells is a team sport (I still see you soloists!) and requires everyone’s full effort and participation. Put all of your handbell skills and knowledge to the test with a head-to-head team relay featuring trivia, techniques, and teamwork. Teams will be randomly assigned and tasked with strategizing which individual will be their ringer for each task, passing off their bell when it’s the next team member’s turn. Ringers will be responsible for bringing their own mallets to this class.
Ringing the Buckets Doesn’t Take Superpowers: Even Though It May Look Like It Does presented by Leslie Lewis
(Virtually in Session 7 only)
Learn how to look like a superhero ringing the bass bells without possessing superpowers (although strength and height do make it easier). This class teaches the basic techniques and tricks of the trade needed to successfully ring the ‘buckets’ in a healthy manner. Proper preparation including stretching, equipment, and physical layout will also be covered. Bring gloves and bass mallets.
Roundtable: The Business Behind the Music presented by Sharon Schmidt
Connect with others involved with the day-to-day operations of community handbell ensembles. Bring your concerns and successes to share in this round table.
Roundtable: Finding Your Inner Ally presented by Kendall Ladd
It’s a topic we’ve been hearing a lot about lately: diversity and inclusion. How do we have the tough conversations regarding the diversity and inclusion of our individual handbell choirs and the broader handbell community as a whole? During this roundtable, we’ll discuss resources available that can help us become better allies and encourage inclusion with our handbell community, and share experiences and approaches taken to encourage diversity and support inclusion.
Roundtable: HMA Resources and Implementing What I Learned at Seminar presented by Mya Dundzila and Tracey Bowers
Whether you’ve been a member of HMA for 50 years or 5 months this discussion is for you. This roundtable discussion will explain the benefits of membership, available online resources (more coming soon) and explore the next steps after gaining the knowledge and experiences at National Seminar.
Roundtable: K-12 Education presented by Gillian Erlenborn and Greig Ashurst
Year after year, we are seeing more and more handbells and handchimes being used in classrooms around the US. As handbell musicians, how can we reach out to these programs and help expand the perception of handbells? Have you started using handbells in an educational setting? How can we work together to make handbells in schools commonplace? How can we show schools that handbells are an essential tool?
Roundtable: Meet the National Board presented by HMA National Board
This roundtable discussion is an opportunity to meet and chat with the members of the HMA National Board. Several board members will be at seminar, and this discussion will be an opportunity to ask questions and get you know your HMA National Board
Roundtable: Our Church Handbell Choir Has an Outside Gig presented by Beth Ann Edwards
Your church handbell choir just received an invitation to perform a concert. Are you concert-ready? This round-table discussion explores how to transition from a Sunday worship service to a concert setting. Participants are invited to submit questions before or during the session. Discussion will include music selection, objective analysis of your choir’s abilities and interest, and methods for preparing a church handbell choir to perform in a concert setting. Oh – and what should we wear?
Roundtable: Rebuilding after COVID
The past year has been a difficult and new experience for everyone. This roundtable discussion will brainstorm ideas of how to use this forced restart as a launching pad to grow and strengthen your handbell programs. Let’s use this “extra life” try new things and think outside the bell!
Roundtable: What Are You Worth? presented by Brian Seemann
“How much should we pay the new director?” “What should our ticket price be?” “How much do you charge for a performance at a holiday party?” Money and pay is one thing we are often afraid to talk about, but a very important conversation for directors both in church and community group settings, as well as community ensembles putting on public performances. Pulling examples from both within the handbell community, and the greater performing arts world, we will discuss these topics to make sure that you are getting paid what you are really worth.
Schulmerich Maintenance presented by Bethan Neely
This hands-on class will give you the skills and resources to disassemble, reassemble, and adjust your Schulmerich bells with confidence! We will review basic repair and maintenance, as well as provide resources for troubleshooting the more stubborn problems.
Shtick Happens presented by Stevie Berryman
What is “shtick”, and when is it appropriate to use with your choir? Discuss the essential components of appropriate shtick and how it can enhance a performance without making it awkward for your audience.
Signing Your Life Away: A Chat on Clinicians, Commissions & Contracts presented by Michael Glasgow
The coronavirus pandemic caused widespread cancellations and postponements, and made a lot of folks realize the importance of contracts! As the handbell world advances professionally, more and more clients and event organizers are negotiating contracts with composers, conductors and clinicians. This class isn’t a substitute for legal advice, but it gets serious about discussing the ups and downs of contracts, retainers and cancellations (for event-leadership as well as commissioned pieces) to optimize that all-important element on both sides of the equation: communication.
Spinning Around the Circle of Fifths presented by Michael Glasgow
(Virtually in Session 14 only)
This class demystifies the often confusing and misunderstood “Circle of Fifths,” tipping the scales (ha!) of musicians’ “love-hate” relationship with it over to “love-love!” This is for beginners; participants will learn VERY BASIC music theory in a non-intimidating setting that uses puzzle-reasoning, and come away knowing why sometimes it’s “C-sharp” and sometimes it’s “D-flat.” They’ll realize that notes like E-sharp and A-double-flat aren’t just nasty tricks from mean composers, and understand what that “Circle of Fifths” thing is all about…without a bunch of memorizing!
Start Succeeding at Stopped Sounds presented by Greg Urban
Pluck! TD! Sizzle! Mallet! Martellato! Lipschitz! Come learn what each of these handbell techniques are, how to spot them in the wild, and when you can swap one for the other (hint: not often, and depends on the octave). We will use some well known handbell compositions to explore stopped sounds.
Suzuki Solo Ringing presented by Christine Anderson
(Virtually in Session 9 only)
What is the Suzuki method for learning the violin, and how can it be used to learn solo ringing? True social distancing for the passionate ringer!
Take It To The Streets! presented by Christine Anderson
Social distancing for handbells at its best ~ with 4 or 5 bells in hands & no tables. This ensemble ringing is perfectly portable and easy to go anywhere. Learn techniques and repertoire along with ideas for ringing anywhere, any time, even on the streets in another country.
Taming the Buckets: Assignments & Using Table Space Effectively presented by Leslie Lewis
We’ll take a look at several methods of assigning bass bells and the pros and cons of each. This class will also offer some suggestions to identifying bells assigned at the front of the score and tips for placing bells to maximize the use of table space available. Bring gloves and bass mallets.
Tricks of the Treble Trade presented by Michèle Sharik
(Virtually in Session 14 only)
With small bells comes great responsibility – treble ringers are often responsible for many bells at a time! Learn how to use various types of four-in-hand to wend your way through the tumult of tiny bells, especially in those weird, wonderful, and totally treacherous times we so often encounter in our music. You’ll be in “bell hog heaven!”
Weaving Made Easy presented by Libbie Randels
(Virtually in Session 5 only)
To weave or not to weave…learn a variety of techniques for weaving 3 and 4 bell problems. Included will be passing, placement, and quick-grab techniques.
What’s Up with those Black Dots? presented by Elizabeth Mays
Score Study is a key skill in being able to perform musically. While many musicians believe that score study is the primary responsibility of the director, individual ringers can also learn a great deal by studying those black dots on the score. This class will examine the ways we look at handbell scores both as a ringer and as a director. It is designed to help promote musicality by understanding the printed music.
Whitechapel Maintenance presented by Kathryn Hughes
Worship Alive!: Creative Use of Handbells in Traditional Worship presented by Elizabeth Judd
(Virtually in Session 15 only)
Creating those breathless awe moments for the movement of the Spirit in worship is a goal for all who lead worship. This class will explore many ways for handbells to enable those special encounters and provide a few opportunities for learning how to write your own, even if composing is not one of your primary gifts.
Writing Quality Music for the Small Ensemble presented by Jason Krug
The 2020 pandemic showed us both the importance of music during such a tumultuous time, as well as the viability and versatility of compositions for small handbell groups. Even in a non-pandemic world, these ensembles have much to offer the handbell world, so it’s up to composers to write the best music we can for these sometimes-hard-to-write-for groups! Come learn tips and tricks for writing music for ensembles from eight to sixteen bells, solos, and more!
Yes, You Can Take the H.E.A.T. presented by Bob Avant
(Virtually in Session 2 only)
The Handbell Ensemble Assessment Tool will dig deep into the topic of ensemble improvement. To do this, we will use a framework that identifies sequential interim steps from entry level through exceptional level for a number of topics that make up aspects important to ensemble development. With this knowledge, the participant can identify their own group’s current status and then plan specific steps to take towards the ultimate goal of attaining exceptional status in each category. Improvement is an incremental journey and this H.E.A.T. will point the way.
Young Choirs: Ringing for Today & Building for the Future presented by Mark Arnold
(Virtually in Session 6 only)
Children and youth can be a vital part of your handbell program, but they are definitely not the same as your adult ringers! This class is based on my 30+ years of teaching young ringers. It will provide ideas for how to develop a children’s or youth bell group, including recruiting, group dynamics, music selection, and rehearsal strategies for various ages and situations, with examples from a variety of church handbell ministries.
A number of our business members also present showcases throughout the event. We encourage you to attend these Exhibitor Showcases, which include presentations and reading sessions featuring their publications, products, and services.
AGEHR’s Hidden Gems
Company: AGEHR Publishing Presenters: Brian Childers
Choristers Guild Showcase
Company: Choristers Guild Presenters: Cathy Moklebust, Mitchell Eithun, Sandra Eithun, Anna Laura Page
Explore a variety of Choristers Guild publications for handbells and handchimes.
From the Top: New Releases 2021
Company: From the Top
Secular and sacred music for 3 – 5 (7) octave groups plus a few selections for smaller ensembles.
The Great Christmas Ring – No Tables, No Pads, No Fuss – It’s a Mammoth Good Time
Company: The Great Christmas Ring Presenters: Neesa Hart
Attendees will experience a Great Christmas Ring and learn how to bring this nationally acclaimed event to their own home town.
Performing Abroad after the Pandemic
Company: Witte Performance Tours Presenters: Keith Cole and Debbie Rice
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on travel this past year, but the future looks bright for handbell ringers who wish to perform abroad! Join us to learn about how performance travel has changed after the pandemic, and what you can expect from future trips as international borders gradually re-open. Keith Cole & Debbie Rice will also share their exciting plans for the 2022 International Handbell Festival in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia!
Play the New Edition of “Crimes Against Handbells” Card Game!
Company: Truly Horrible Things Presenters: Paul and Stevie Berryman
Join us and play Crimes Against Handbells 2nd edition (with all new cards!), or any of our other Truly Horrible games. That’s it. That’s the showcase.
New Releases Reading Session
Company: Jeffers Handbell Supply
There’s Always Hope
Company: Hope Publishing Presenters: Brenda Austin, Joel Raney
Hope Publishing will be showcasing some Hope classics as well as some new music for small ensemble ringing.
The Versatility of CymBells®
Company: Malmark, Inc. – Bellcraftsmen Presenters: Hyosang Park, Kathy Ebling Shaw
Join us as we demonstrate the many uses of CymBells. As a solo instrument or a supplement to choral and instrumental music, the many use of CymBells ring true.
Which Mallets Should I Use?
Company: Schulmerich Bells, LLC Presenters: Greig Ashurst
This showcase will explore appropriate mallet selection for a variety of musical styles and articulation choices.
Yes, You Can! Music for All occasions from Alfred Handbell
Company: Alfred Handbell/Jubilate Music Group Presenters: Sondra Tucker
These options involve cumulative learning over multiple class sessions. Participants should plan to attend all sessions included in the track. When registering, please make sure you select the track option you choose in each session it is offered. You are not required to take a track, but if you do, you must attend all sessions of that track. For ringing tracks, participants will be informed of positions prior to the seminar and must bring their own music, pair of mallets, singing bell dowel, gloves, split-back music binder, music riser (if desired), pencils, and polishing cloth. Music must be learned prior to the seminar.
All-Star Choir* with Joel Raney and Sondra Tucker
(7 sessions) Spend seven 75-minute class sessions working with Sondra Tucker and Joel Raney. Selected participants will rehearse advanced music and perform that music in a public concert the final day of National Seminar. Those who wish to participate must audition on Tuesday, July 13, 4:00-6:00 PM MST, and must attend all rehearsals if selected. One choir will be selected from those that audition. When registering for the event, those planning to audition should select a class for the planned All Star rehearsal sessions in the event that they are not selected.
All-Star Choir Repertoire
- Shenandoah, Sondra Tucker, Casa, #CSHB039
- Tapestry, Riker, From the Top, #20660
- Spiritfire, B. Tucker, From the Top, #20344
- Angel Gabriel from Heaven, Raney, Hope, #2575
- Prelude #2, Gershwin/Mathis, Choristers, CGB440
- Soon and Very Soon, Morris, Hope, #2274
Advanced Ringing* with Beth Judd
(6 sessions) The Advanced Ringing Track is an amazing opportunity to ring at an advanced level. Ringers will be reading and working on five pieces that incorporate various styles and challenges. The sessions will challenge each ringer to think conceptually about how to make ringing even more musical. This track is great for the advanced ringer or the ringer desiring assistance to move to a new level. New this year, the Advanced and Intermediate tracks will share the 6th session, giving both the opportunity to perform the music they’ve prepared for each other and any others who wish to attend.
Advanced Ringing Repertoire
- Nocturnal Fantasy, Emily Li, Choristers Guild, #CGB731
- Built on the Rock, Alex Guebert, Jeffers, #JHS9593
- Spiritoso, David Kent, From the Top, #20402
- Antiphonal Alleluia, Hart Morris, AGEHR, #AG57006J
- Till There Was You, arr. Sandra Eithun, Choristers Guild, #CGB1060
Intermediate Ringing* with Cathy Moklebust
(6 sessions) Stretch your skills in this energetic and rewarding 6-session track. A challenging, diverse, and engaging selection of music up to Level 4 will be rehearsed and brought to performance level. Multiple treble bell techniques, weaving, bass bell techniques, malleting, chime techniques, assignment strategies, stage presence, and other skills will be implemented. New this year, the Advanced and Intermediate tracks will share the 6th session, giving both the opportunity to perform the music they’ve prepared for each other and any others who wish to attend.
Intermediate Ringing Repertoire
- Grazioso, Arnold Sherman, Red River Music, #HB0042
- Hallelujah, arr. Joel Raney, Hope Publishing, #2674
- How Can I Keep from Singing, Cathy Moklebust, Hope Publishing, #2693
- Children, Go Where I Send Thee, Benjamin Tucker, Alfred Publishing, #46235
- Revelation, Cathy Moklebust, Choristers Guild, #CGB1113
Pop/Rock Music Track* with Nick Hanson
(3 sessions) Have you always wanted to ring some of the top 40 pop/rock tunes from the past few decades? Then this track is for you. Participants will have a blast ringing handbell arrangements of pop/rock music and learn to read and play some challenging rhythms in the process. For many ringers, this may be the only opportunity to ring and perform music of this style.
- Here Comes the Sun, arr. Julie Turner, Jeffers Handbell Supply, #JHS9539
- Rain on Me, arr. Nick Hanson, SMP Press, not published
- Sucker, arr. Brian Seemann, SMP Press,
- Sweet Caroline, arr. Nick Hanson, SMP Press,
- Tuesday’s Gone, arr. Payn, SMP Press, available in January,
Jeopardy! with Mitchell Eithun
(3 sessions) This… Is… Jeopardy! How well do you know handbell music, techniques, and puns? Test your handbell knowledge by trying out for Handbell Jeopardy, a game show experience complete with buzzers, prizes, and a bubbly host! Four contestants will be chosen by a short, written test during the session. Wager wisely! During the three sessions, contestants will play a three-game tournament. During Session 1 we will identify eight candidates. The first four candidates will play during Session 1 and the remaining candidates will play during Session 2. The winner of each game, along with the highest scoring non-winner, will face off in Session 3.
*Participants in these tracks will be required to purchase and prepare track repertoire in advance. Assignments for the Advanced and Intermediate Ringing Track will be provided in May 2021.
The National Seminar planning team is pleased to announce the addition of nine virtual-only classes offered by our international friends in Great Britain, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia. These classes will be available to all full registrations of National Seminar, both in-person and virtual. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience handbell ringing from an international perspective.
All times listed are Glendale/Phoenix, Arizona time. (Mountain Standard/Pacific Daylight)
Building Skills for the Ensemble presented by Emily Li 7:00 PM Thursday
Handbell ringing is about coordinating the body. It is essential to include some uniform exercises in the weekly rehearsals in order to build up various rhythmic and technical skills for the ensemble, whether it is at the beginning, intermediate or advanced level. The class will give you ideas of various uniform exercises that can be applied to ensembles of different levels, even with zoom practice.
English Change Ringing presented by Sandra Winter 9:00 AM Thursday
A virtual introduction to English Change Ringing as you would hear from church tower bells around the country. Method ringing and call changes explained so you can ring straightforward changes on handbells with just one to four ringers and four to eight bells – as a call to worship, for a wedding, during a service or in a concert!
Handbells: Connected Thru Fusion: East Meets West presented by Damien Lim and the Ministry of Bellz 5:30 PM Friday
More compositions and arrangements of Handbell music are emerging from many parts of Asia. Much of this music reflects its cultural influences and identities from that particular region of Asia. It is of keen interest of many directors, ringers & audiences, that one wonders how various ethnic instruments may affect &/or connect, in a fusion of East Meets West. Hear the sounds of the Japanese Taiko, or Malay Rebana, or Arabian Darbuka, or Chinese Hua Phen Gu, in a fusion with the English Handbells. Certainly, these ethnic instruments add to the flavour of the music presentation. Understand its contribution to the music, and know its alternatives in western percussion. You don’t need to be a drummer to attend this class. Come with an open mind and heart. This class is presented by Damien Lim, Principal Conductor of the Ministry of Bellz, with a live-ensemble: The Ministry of Bellz (MOB) ringers themselves.
Having Fun With Handbells at Home presented by Tanimoto Tomoko 4:00 PM Friday
This class will give you hints and bits for ringing handbells at home with the family and/or friends. Items and techniques as well as music will be introduced in order to ring with small numbers. The class will be presented with Mr. Masaki Tanimoto (husband) and Yoshiki Tanimoto (son)!
Musical Expression Using Japanese Music presented by Miki Nakao 4:00 PM Thursday
The importance of brushing up on musical expression; 1) understanding the background and specialties of the music; 2) understanding the instrument and what expressions the instrument can make; will help very much when performing the music. In this course, we will use traditional children’s folk music and some modern anime songs to introduce you to the rhythmical background and other expressions. This will give you hints on how these compositions/arrangements can be performed with handbells and what the handbells can do to express them!
Nurturing Youth Ensembles: It’s Not Just About the Music presented by Ali O’Connell 4:00 PM Wednesday
Our young handbell musicians are the future of our instrument. How do we develop skills for life in young people through music theory, practice and excellence in performance? In this session we will discuss how to empower teenage musicians to be future leaders in the handbell community and the wider world.
“Paper-free” Performance?! It’s Possible! presented by Emily Li 7:00 PM Wednesday
Memorizing music seems a ‘No-no’ to most musicians in the handbell world. However, it makes a difference when musicians are free from the paper on the table and become more connected with the music, the director, and the audience during the performance. This class will show you various approaches in memorizing a piece of music, useful tips during rehearsals, and possible choices of repertoire.
Roundtable: Teaching Music Online presented by Damien Lim 9:00 AM Saturday
The era of the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide, ushered in a new dimension of teaching music: ONLINE. While teaching (topics) online, has been relatively common in the west, however, it was a big leap for many teachers/educators/instructors/directors in many other parts of the world, especially in Asia, to take to the internet, and for us to meet our students and/or musicians on the screen. This round-table discussion, allows participants to share their experiences and exchange ideas on how to improve our teaching and directing online, especially during this period, but more so, in the future, when it is widely seen that the online platform is expected to be the next common method used to teach music. Discuss the programs used, contents taught, methods of delivery, ideas to share and explore. The session is recommended for educators, directors and activity facilitators.
Whitechapel Maintenance presented by Katherine Hughes 9:00 AM Friday
Learn the basic tools and skills you need to maintain your Whitechapel handbells.