Class selection is now open.
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Please see the tabs below for Classes, Ringing Opportunities, and Exhibiting Partner Showcases.


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 more.

Click on the instructor’s name to learn more about them.


50 Shades of Damping

Michèle Sharik (Sessions 3 and 4)
There is so much more to damping than just “on” or “off.” This class explores the middle-ground between strict note value damping and LV free-for-all and demonstrates how the judicious use of the ringing and damping techniques you already know can raise your music-making to new heights.


Adaptive Notation: Evolving into the Digital World

Diana Montgomery (Sessions 8 and 9)
While adaptive notation has been in existence for years, it is now time to move away from the old system of scrolls and into the digital arena. This class will introduce participants to a PowerPoint-based system of adaptive notation. Participants will experience ringing with this notation and learn how to create it.


Advanced Bass Bells: Developing the Individual Ringer and the Section

Justin Wooten (Sessions 5 and 11)

This class will expand skills for bass bell players and directors, demonstrating techniques needed to elevate a bass bell section. Participants will expand their toolbox of techniques for bass bell ringing and learn how to incorporate low bass bells (2s/aluminums) into their ensembles.


All About That Bass: Digging Deeper

Leslie Lewis (Sessions 3 and 12)

This session will help ringers and directors decide when and how to “double down” so that they can use the lower octave bells in music that was originally written for a smaller range of octaves. We will also look closer at the philosophies of assigning bass bells, and how this might apply to the full ensemble.


Arranging Rock, Pop, and Jazz for Handbells

Ron Mallory (Sessions 2 and 5)

Performing pop, rock, and jazz – whether one of the great oldies or a new chart-topping hit – can be enjoyable for handbell ringers and audiences alike. But there are some interesting challenges involved in adapting this music for our unique instrument. We’ll look at several approaches to arranging pop, rock, and jazz music for handbells, as well as the process involved in securing permission to legally arrange and perform copyrighted songs.


Audition Skills for Ringers

Sharon Schmidt (Sessions 1 and 8)

Are you eager to join a community or college group but find that the audition process is new and scary territory? This session will step you through the entire process from signing up to dealing with the results.



Stevie Berryman (Sessions 3 and 8)

Take a break from ringing, but not from improving your skills. Learn how $5 worth of latex balloons can provide a year’s worth of games for your handbell choir that teach coordination, dexterity, ensemble skills, and more. Participation is expected.


Basic Percussion Methods

Jack Burdwood (Sessions 1 and 11)

How do I play the tambourine? What is a vibraslap? Why can’t I play the triangle with a screwdriver? All these questions and more are answered in this crash course for all things percussion. This hands-on class covers the techniques, do’s and don’ts for various percussion instruments commonly used in handbell repertoire.


Basics Revisited: Your 100,000 Measure Tune-Up

Michèle Sharik (Sessions 5 and 6)

Whether you are a brand-new beginner or a veteran ringer, this class will teach or remind you what to do before you ever pick up a bell or chime. Learn ergonomic techniques to help you not only survive those long rehearsals, concerts, and day-long ringing festivals, but also do so without pain or soreness. Ringers will be introduced to the “Three S’s: Stance, Seat and Stroke,” and use these to focus on developing a relaxed ringing style to control the bell, ring dynamically, and make beautiful music.


Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Kevin Mazimas Ko (Sessions 1 and 4)

Have you ever been called to be the substitute director for a rehearsal with late notice? Instead of canceling when the director is not available, after this class you will have 8 different rehearsal ideas for substituting in their absence. You will learn how to proceed even if you have not seen the music beforehand or had any preparation time.


Beginner Bass Bells: Molding the Individual Ringer and the Section

Justin Wooten (Sessions 4 and 6)

This class is geared toward the ringer or director new to bass bells that wants to learn the basics. Everything from bass bell techniques to what type of gloves work best will be covered in this class. In addition to working on individual skills, we will push toward creating the bass bell section that works well together as one cohesive unit. Please bring mallets specifically designed for bass bells.


Beginning Solo Ringing

Ron Bellamy (Sessions 2 and 5)

Ringers will be introduced to many of the techniques required to build a solo ringing foundation. This hands-on class will give ringers an opportunity to learn and rehearse skills like table-damping, switching, and weaving, and well as many others. Clearly marking music for future reference will also be covered.


Behind the Baton

Deborah Rice (Sessions 2 and 3)

Let’s go behind the baton to explore conducting tips for rhythmic accuracy and musical interpretations with your ringers. This session provides a check list for physical gestures including the importance of your anacrusis, managing fermatas, cues, dynamics, and critical listening applied to a selection of music.


Bell Trees Continued: Beyond the First Branch

Laura Blauch (Sessions 12 and 13)

Adding branches to your bell tree opens the door for more exciting repertoire but also creates new challenges. In this class, we will assemble additional branches using the traditional keyboard setup, learn how to move from one string to the next, and work to determine how to approach sticking patterns. Please bring mallets appropriate for C5 and up.


Between the Music

Pamela “P.L.” Grove (Sessions 1 and 7)

P.L. will share her tips and tricks for creating great concert spiel that will enhance your performance. Over the years, she has spent nearly as much time creating intricate stories and song introductions for concerts, as she has spent playing the music itself. She has written material for all of Velocity’s concerts, and segments for several handbell solo artists. In 2013, she wrote and delivered the rhetoric for the popular and dynamic Kiriku performance at National Seminar in Portland. Following the Kiriku concert, many people asked P.L. to develop a “how to” class on what to say in between concert selections, and so this class was developed.


Choosing Repertoire for the Classroom

Brian Seemann (Sessions 11 and 14)

Is this piece the appropriate level of difficulty? Will this piece engage my students? Does this piece fit into my curriculum? These are some of the many factors that go into selecting music for your school ensemble. We will discuss how to search for appropriate repertoire, tried and true suggestions of secular repertoire, and an overview of teaching materials available.


Class Composition: A Creative Collaboration

Kathleen Wissinger (Sessions 10 and 12)

Composing a piece in a cooperative classroom setting encourages your ringers to apply music theory, ringing skills, discipline, ear training, and musicality. We will focus on sequential steps that can lead a beginning group to create their own special piece of music and enrich their ringing experience at the same time. This is also applicable to more experienced groups as well. Bring an assortment of mallets!


Conducting 101: You’re the Leader, Now What?

Joy Toll-Chandler (Sessions 3 and 9)

Have you been called upon to move from ringer to conductor of your ensemble? This introduction to conducting will help first-time conductors learn essential skills like basic beat patterns, simple entrances and cut-offs, dynamics, and how to use each of your hands differently in your conducting. There will be a brief look at score preparation and how to use a baton. Ringers are welcome to help better understand their director. Please bring a baton if you have one.


Coordination Conundrums

Marie Loeffler (Sessions 10 and 13)

According to Valerie Stephenson, “All good ringing is based on training muscle memory.” This class will explore Valerie Stephenson’s collection of exercises adapted from ringing dilemmas in handbell literature. Using Valerie’s methodical and fun approach, we will discover how to develop the muscle memory needed to master complex ringing scenarios and ring a smooth musical line no matter how difficult the passage.


Developing Spiritual Community

Mitchell Eithun (Sessions 1 and 11)

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. This class is aimed at ringers and directors in faith-based handbell ensembles.


Do Not Be Afraid: Theory is Fun!

Joy Toll-Chandler (Sessions 1 and 7)

No need to be frightened of music theory. In this class you will have fun learning the basics. Based on the game Bingo, participants will learn: Basic rhythmic values; Intervals and triads; Notes on the staff; Getting it all together; Other basics like dynamics and enharmonic notes. There will even be a game prize!


Easy Music Programming & Recording with GarageBand

Damien Lim (Sessions 1 and 6)

GarageBand is a free app that comes with the purchase of any iOS device. Learn how to make use of this app to enhance your music-making moments by learning the simple steps of music programming and music recording.


Engaging Students with Handchimes and Literature in the Elementary Music Classroom

Charlotte Herbstsomer (Sessions 3 and 4)

I love reading to my students. I love it even more when I can incorporate instruments into the story. Learn how to use handchimes or other melody instruments to create a full music and literature experience and help create a sound story for a favorite book.


Fascinating Rhythms: System of Ta

Susan Capestro (Sessions 2 and 5)

A simplified form of Konnakol, an Indian percussion language, is used to instantly recognize, easily decipher, and interpret rhythms that might otherwise appear daunting. Learn a philosophical and holistic yet practical approach to rhythm that aids in interpretation and shortens practice and rehearsal time. Participants do plenty of tapping, clapping, and laughing with musical examples and leave with ideas on how to learn and teach rhythms joyfully and effectively.


Fewer Hands Can Still Make Big Music

Kathleen Wissinger (Sessions 2 and 6)

A smaller ringing group does not necessarily mean smaller music. Careful repertoire selection, astute ringing assignments, and thoughtful adaptation of music allow a dedicated cohort of flexible ringers to make a big splash!


First Look: Strategies for Sight-Reading Success

Stevie Berryman (Sessions 1 and 7)

First contact with new music doesn’t have to be a minefield. In this class, ringers will learn multiple strategies for sight-reading music, and directors will learn strategies for introducing new music in a way that sets their choir up for success. Anyone can learn strategies for successful sight-reading.


Going Digital: Using Technology for Music in Handbells

Rick Holdsworth (Sessions 6 and 12)

This class will consider the advantages of using an iPad or tablet for your handbell music instead of a binder. We will review what equipment is required and what apps are needed. Time will be spent demonstrating apps’ functions and discussing the advantages of using digital music. The class will also cover some of the challenges when ringers change positions and what to do if some ringers still use paper scores. The HMA policy regarding the use of iPads and tablets will be reviewed, and information on how best to contact publishers for digital permission will be shared.


Handbells, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

Mitchell Eithun (Sessions 4 and 5)

How much do computers know about handbells? This cutting-edge class will share the results of querying artificial intelligence systems about handbells, including generating art and concert programs. We will also analyze data scrapped from the HandbellWorld database to see what we can learn about handbell music publishing. (Description created with the help of AI.)


How Do I Conduct That? Keeping the Bell Choir Together When the Music Gets Weird

Joel Plaag (Sessions 8 and 13)

Some handbell music includes random ringing, different meters, or changing tempos. How do we keep our groups together when these passages appear? We will discuss cuing, tempo changes, unusual gestures, and using the conducting pattern to communicate effectively with our players.


Instilling Musicality in the Beginning Handbell Choir

Daniel Moore (Sessions 6 and 7)

In a director’s enthusiasm and zeal to get a new, inexperienced handbell choir to ring, the nuance of musicality is often left to the last minute, if addressed at all. This class will present a series of practical techniques and exercises to quickly enable, encourage, and focus the musicality of your beginning handbell choir, no matter the age level.


Intermediate Solo Ringing

Ron Bellamy (Sessions 4 and 7)

Ringers with a basic understanding of solo techniques, including table-damping, switching, and weaving will be introduced to a variety of skills that will take their solo ringing to a higher level. Ringers will learn and rehearse bell displacement, multiple bell techniques, finger damping, and table damping. Participants will also be introduced to traveling 4-in-hand, and we will discuss the role movement plays in a performance.


Introduction to Bell Trees: The First Branch

Laura Blauch (Sessions 9 and 10)

Bell trees are fun to play and can be used in many ways, with or without other instruments. In this class, we will set up the tree stand, put together the first “branch,” learn how to play some simple tunes, and explore various options for using your tree. Please bring mallets appropriate for C5 and up.


Just 2s and 3s: Rhythms Made Easy

Brian Seemann (Sessions 8 and 12)

Complex rhythms are easier once you realize that almost all rhythm is just a grouping of either 2 or 3. That crazy syncopated 16th-note pattern? Just groups of 2s and 3s. That awkward 7/8 time signature? Just groups of 2s or 3s. Once you can identify these groupings, deciphering complex rhythms and time signatures becomes much easier. Please bring mallets to this class.


Keep Calm and Carillon

Mitchell Eithun (Sessions 9 and 14)

A carillon is a set of large tower bells played using a clavier. As the most public of instruments, music from these “singing towers” is heard from churches, universities, and civic buildings throughout the United States. Learn how a carillon is played, the brilliant music written for the instruments, and where to find one near you.


Left or Right? A Guide to Malleting

Jack Burdwood (Sessions 7 and 13)

This class provides guidance for deciding which hands to use in malleted passages. Learn a variety of strategies to approach these passages, both as a ringer and director, and try them out for yourself. Bring your mallets.


Music Activities: Bells and Chimes for Older Adults

Bruna Marinho de Almeida (Sessions 11 and 14)

In 2017, the global population aged 60 and over was 962 million, more than double that from 1980. It is important that we be prepared to work with an aging population. In this class, we will experience fun music activities, body warm-ups, stretches, and music repertoire perfect for older adults to help them play, sing, ring, and dance!


Music Theory and Why It’s Important

Ron Mallory (Sessions 3 and 4: Both Sessions Required)

Ever wonder why some pieces have lots of sharps and flats, while others have none? Curious why a composer chooses to write certain notes, and not others? This class will give a broad overview of scales, chords, key signatures, melody, harmony, rhythm, and more, as we look under the hood of some well-known handbell pieces to see how and why they work. We’ll also talk about why understanding these concepts is vital in your ensemble’s journey to better musicianship.


Musicality in Handbells

David Harris (Sessions 11 and 12)

One of the most cherished compliments a handbell director can receive is, “Your performance was incredibly musical.” What exactly does that mean?  What are some common elements of musicality? What is the conductor’s role in expressing musicality?  What about the ringer’s role? In this class, we will answer these questions and more.


Off the Table! Handbell and Handchime Activities for the General Music Classroom

Gillian Erlenborn (Sessions 4 and 10)

Looking for handbell and handchime activities for your elementary-aged students? Interested in games and lessons that can improve your young ringers’ focus during rehearsal? This class will give participants the chance to embrace their inner child and participate in several short activities that are ideal for the general music classroom. We will explore lots of resources and ideas on how to use handbells and handchimes in a non-traditional ensemble setting.


Plink, Plank, Plunk: 1 + 2 = Malleting

Damien Lim (Sessions 9 and 14)

Handbell ringing is a percussive art form. Explore handbell ringing from a percussionist’s view, and learn how to create music using sensitive dynamics, phrasing, proper malleting technique, and alternative options. Recommended for all ringers and rhythm-loving people. Please bring mallets.


Practicing at Home With or Without Bells

Ron Mallory (Sessions 6 and 14)

You’ve just finished rehearsing with your handbell group and it will be another full week before you can touch the instrument again, so there’s no way to practice on your own. It doesn’t have to be this way! There are many ways handbell musicians can practice at home, even if they don’t have their own personal set of bells. This class will be taught from the ringer and director’s perspective.


Problem Solving for Rhythm Challenges

Marci Nuoffer (Sessions 1 and 6)

This class will help ringers and directors learn how to attack challenging rhythmic sequences in a step-by-step approach. Participants will have the opportunity to look at sample sequences and practice working through them to find success.


Quartet Ringing Basics

Sharon Schmidt (Sessions 6 and 11)

You and three others can make music. This hands-on class introduces you to the basics of quartet ringing through exercises and simple selections created by Herb Geisler. These skills are applicable to small ensembles of all sizes, as well as solo ringing.


Refreshing and New Teambuilding Activities

Greg Urban (Sessions 4 and 14)

Tired of the same old silly icebreakers and get-to-know-you teambuilding games? Ready to refresh your bag of tricks? Come learn from an activity expert who literally wrote a book on adventure activities. We will engage in a few activities, and then discuss some intentional sequencing ideas, and facilitation tips and tricks.


Repeatable Changes

Sharon Schmidt (Sessions 3 and 4)

How do you play that tricky passage the same way every time? Once you have the basic skills of weaving, table damping, and changes to chimes or mallets, the next step is to figure out when to do what, and how to mark your score so that you can repeat the change. In this hands-on class, we’ll solve multiple problems and explore marking techniques. Bring your mallets.


Ringers Rehearsal Techniques

Beth Judd (Sessions 5 and 10)

A session designed to help ringers maximize their time in rehearsal. Tips will include effective score marking, analysis skills, and much more. This is a great class for both ringers and directors.


Roundtable: I’m Excited, Now Where Is Everybody?

Michael Glasgow (Session 8)

Recruitment and retention can be tough! This session addresses the ever-present, and often changing, challenges of getting and keeping ringers. We start with a fun icebreaker and then focus on recruitment concepts and suggestions for improving communication and messaging within your group, including digital and low-tech options.


Roundtable: Managing Performance Anxiety

Nikki Evans (Session 13)

Everyone has a bit of performance anxiety. In our roundtable, we will discuss what we can do to overcome performance anxiety and use it to our advantage.


Roundtable: Next Steps for Bells in Schools

Gillian Erlenborn/Bells in Schools Committee (Session 12)

Members of the HMA Bells in Schools Committee will highlight some of their past projects and discuss what they are currently working on accomplishing. Participants will be asked to share their thoughts about what the Bells in Schools Committee could set their sights on for the future.


Roundtable: The Care and Feeding of Your Handbell Clinician

Brenda Austin (Session 14)

Many organizations host an out-of-town clinician for their handball festival, workshop, or clinic. There are always questions about contracts, fees, expenses, needs of the clinician, etc. Let’s discuss what your clinician needs, or doesn’t need, so that you can set them up for success and help make your event a smashing hit.


Scavenger Hunt: Deciphering Handbell Notation

Lisa Arnold (Sessions 12 and 14)

Have you ever looked at a piece of handbell music, seen an unfamiliar marking, and wondered “How am I supposed to play that?” Participants will go on a scavenger hunt through provided music, searching for common and obscure handbell notations. Once found, we will review how to interpret and play each of them.


Shtick Happens

Stevie Berryman (Sessions 12 and 13)

What is shtick and when is it appropriate to use with your choir? We will discuss the essential components of appropriate shtick and how it can enhance a performance without making it awkward for your audience.


Spinning Around the Circle of Fifths

Michael Glasgow (Sessions 2 and 5)

This class demystifies the often confusing and misunderstood Circle of Fifths. Participants will learn some 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 required at all.


Stage Presence and Its Importance

Hillary Marotta (Sessions 2 and 3)

The public performance is the culmination of all that a handbell choir has learned. This class teaches the importance of and attention to details that allow performances to truly stand out and communicate the unspoken messages and musicianship of the art of handbell ringing. From the way we as ringers and conductors get on stage through the final note of the last piece, this class covers all the ways we communicate with our audiences and achieve the level of professional musicianship.


Take It Up a Notch: How to Advance Beyond the Basics

Jennifer Stack (Sessions 7 and 10)

Your group can ring with an appropriate stroke, read simple music, and track their part; however, they may be at different stages of their handbell journey. This class will identify skills that ringers need and give tools and techniques to take your group into level 2 music and beyond, in a way that leaves them feeling confident, not frustrated.


Take Me Out to the Bell Game

Lisa Arnold (Sessions 5 and 8)

Let’s have some fun while testing your ability to hear and replicate notes, chords, rhythms, and even phrases from a song. Using the rules of baseball, we’ll pick teams, and when you are up at bat you will choose the difficulty level from first base to home run. A player from the opposing team will play something, and if you can replicate it accurately, you will get on base and maybe even score a run for your team. This game is designed for participants of all levels to feel a sense of accomplishment as they collaborate and learn together, and can be used in school, church, and community settings.


The Struggle is Real! Rehearsal Techniques and Strategies for Developing Directors

Lynn Atkins (Sessions 7 and 9: Both Sessions Required)

This class will help new and novice handbell directors feel more comfortable in front of their handbell choirs while providing clear, effective instruction. Particular emphasis will be given to planning rehearsals, reviewing music, developing strategies for teaching rhythm, reinforcing consistent tempo, and helping ringers to fix mistakes, while promoting healthy handbell ringing technique.


There’s More Than One Way to Peel a Banana – A Hands-On Overview of Different Assignment Methods

Michèle Sharik (Sessions 11 and 13)

Do you find yourself with 5 or more octaves of bells, but only 8 ringers? People have solved this problem in many ways over the years. In this hands-on overview of different assignment strategies — Allured, Hilty, Ivey, KatSigning, and beyond — we will experiment with different ways to assign bells to ringers.


Training for Handbells: Building Strength, Endurance, and Durability

Justin Wooten (Sessions 12 and 13)

This class is an introduction to strength training for handbell ringers of all ages and experience. We will cover both lower body and upper body exercises that you can do in the gym or at home to help increase your strength and endurance for ringing handbells. With extended ranges and ever-expanding techniques, this class will help ensure that our bodies can keep up with the demands of the music and instrument.


Using Boomwhackers with Specials Needs Populations, Young Students, Seniors and Dementia Patients

Charlotte Herbstsomer (Sessions 11 and 13)

Do you teach classes with special needs populations or young students? Would you love to share the joy of music with seniors or dementia patients? In this class, you will learn techniques to use boomwhackers to make connections in fun and engaging ways with all ages and populations.


Wakeups, Warmups & Wrapups

Michael Glasgow (Sessions 3 and 9)

The main course of a rehearsal comprises score study, ringing techniques, conducting gestures, but what about the amuse-bouche, the appetizer, the dessert? This interactive class offers different ideas to get your group’s brains and bodies warmed up and explores ideas for starting and concluding rehearsals in positive, intentional ways.


When Left is Right: Weaving and Displacement

Pamela “P.L.” Grove (Sessions 2 and 8)

If you’ve ever played battery or bass bells, you know that four-in-hand is not always the answer for a tough passage in the music. Plus, you never know when your neighbor is going to need that E-flat right after you have played the D-sharp (enharmonically speaking, of course). This class will focus on solutions for ringing sections of music that require quick changes from one bell to the next. To weave or not to weave: yes, that is the question. But there’s more than one answer. Learning how to put the bells out of “order” can be a better solution than twisting yourself into a pretzel. Sometimes left can be right.


Unpublished Reading Session

7:15 PM – 8:45 PM, Thursday, July 11

Handbell Musicians of America will again be offering an Unpublished Reading Session at National Seminar. Conductor Ed Rollins will lead the session, to be held on Thursday, July 11, from 7:15 PM – 8:45 PM. This event provides a forum for unpublished works to be heard and help promote handbell composers. 
Interested Ringers should come to Room 14 (same location as ringing tracks) to participate. This is a first come, first served scenario, so please arrive early!

Interested Composers should review the information below regarding submitting a work for consideration:  

  • 1 piece per composer may be submitted. 
  • Composer must be registered for National Seminar and attend the Unpublished Reading Session. 
  • 5-octave range of handbells and handchimes will be available. 
  • 5 min piece, or 5 min excerpt of longer piece.  
  • No additional instrumentation will be available. 
  • Requests for participation to be made by email that must include PDF of piece or excerpt. 
  • 1st 12 composers to apply will be accepted. 
  • May 30 deadline. 
  • Requests for participation to be sent to:[email protected] 



Seminar attendees are not required to participate in a ringing track, but if you do, you must attend all sessions of that track. Music must be purchased and learned prior to the Seminar. Participants will be informed of positions in advance 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. When registering, please make sure you select the track option you choose in each session it is offered.

Click on the instructor’s name to learn more about them.

All-Star Choir (Sessions 1,2,7,8,9,10, and 14) Concert with Distinctly Teen, Saturday, July 13, 2:45 PM

with David Harris

Selected participants will rehearse advanced music and perform in a public concert on the final day of National Seminar. Those who wish to participate must audition on Tuesday, July 9, 3:00-4:30 PM Eastern, 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.

Festive Praises, L5, Gramann, AGEHR, AG45043
In the Shadow of Your Wings, L3, Buckwalter, Beckenhorst, HB787
Don’t Stop Believin’, L4+, Burt, Jeffers, JHS9527
Gethsemane, L3, Hascall, Red River, RRBL5022
Four Resonances, L5+, Payn, AGEHR, AG46008J
Beer Barrel Polka, L3, Morris, From the Top Music, 20721

Beginning Ringing Track (Sessions 1,5,9,13, and Open House, Saturday, July 13, 1:30 PM)

with Griff Gall

This ringing track provides hands-on experience with basic to intermediate ringing techniques in a learning-focused, stress-free environment. Work on four pieces, a selection of which will be performed in an Open House setting for fellow ringing track participants and a small audience.

Amazing Grace, L2, S. Eithun, Red River Music, MRRBL5056
Calming Peace, L2, Moklebust, Choristers Guild, MCGB439
Clarion Call, Joy, L2+, Choristers Guild, MCGB864
Dawn of a New Day, L2+, Krug, GIA Publications, Inc., MGIG9964

Intermediate Ringing Track (Sessions 2,7,8,10,14, and Open House, Saturday, July 13, 1:30 PM)

with Sandra Eithun

Stretch your ringing skills with a challenging, diverse, and engaging selection of repertoire. Multiple treble bell techniques, weaving, bass bell techniques, malleting, chime techniques, assignment strategies, stage presence, and other skills will be employed. All ringing tracks will perform a selection of their repertoire for each other and a small audience in an Open House setting.

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, L2+, M. Eithun, GIA Publications, GIG9813
Alleluia, L3, Tervo, AGEHR Publishing, AG35318
Sweet Hour of Prayer, L3, Krug, Choristers Guild, CGB879
The God of Abraham Praise, L3, Lamb, AGEHR Publishing, AG35252
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, L2+, S. Eithun, Hope Publishing, HP2801

Advanced Ringing Track (Sessions 3,4,6,11,12, and Open House, Saturday, July 13, 1:30 PM)

with Andy Wallace

Read and work on five pieces that incorporate various styles and challenges. Sessions will challenge each ringer to think conceptually about how to make their ringing even more musical. This track is appropriate for the advanced ringer or a ringer desiring assistance to move to a new level. All ringing tracks will perform a selection of their repertoire for each other and a small audience in an Open House setting.

Allegro from Solomon, L5, Griffin, Beckenhorst Press, MBEHB270
His Eye is On the Sparrow, L3+, Childers, Beckenhorst Press, MBEHB709
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, L4, Compton, From the Top Music, MFM20570
I’m a Believer, L3+, Eithun, Hope Publishing, MHP2808
Spiritoso, L5, Sherman, Hope Publishing, MHP2469

We encourage you to attend these Exhibiting Partner Showcases, which include presentations and reading sessions.

Showcases in alphabetical order by Exhibiting Partner name.
What’s New in Pop?

Nick Hanson & Brian Seemann
8-Bit Handbell
Thursday, July 11, 1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Nick and Brian share what’s new in the 8-Bit Handbell catalog this year. From oldies-but-goodies to recent hits, this showcase is sure to have something for your ensembles to include throughout your concert season.

Something Old, Something New

Brian Childers
AGEHR Publishing
Thursday, July 11, 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM

New Releases from Alfred Handbell

Sondra K. Tucker
Alfred Handbell
Friday, July 12, 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM

Join Alfred Handbell Editor Sondra Tucker to read and ring new and best selling music, including small ensemble all the way to full choir pieces. Alfred Handbell has music to fit every need.

New Music from Beckenhorst Press

Jason Krug
Beckenhorst Press, Inc.
Friday, July 12, 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM

Come ring some of Beckenhorst’s newest handbell titles from some of the handbell world’s favorite composers! Music for Lent, Easter, Advent, Christmas, and everything in-between, plus secular titles in a wide range of styles.

Choristers Guild Showcase

Mitchell Eithun, Sandra Eithun, Cathy Moklebust
Choristers Guild, Inc.
Wednesday, July 10, 1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Please join us to explore a variety of recent publications from Choristers Guild for ensembles both large and small. Ring under the direction of composers Mitchell Eithun, Sandra Eithun and Cathy Moklebust. Explore the variety and diversity of the Choristers Guild catalog. Hope to see you there!

Something Older… Mostly Newer… All Terrific!

Kathryn Jurado
From the Top Music
Saturday, July 13, 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM

Join us to ring a mix of brand 2024 new releases plus a few amazing titles that were released during the “Covid” period. Enjoy wonderful music from your favorite composers such as Brian Childers, Hart Morris, Michael Mazzatenta, Derek Hakes, Sondra Tucker, Kurt Meyer, Fred Gramman and more! Some are settings of hymn tunes perfect for worship; others include rhythmic and exciting concert-style titles; plus there are a few amazing original works. All are Level 3 and will be great to read, enjoy, and select for your upcoming events. We are very excited to welcome Kathryn Jurado to the podium to lead this session!

New Music from Grassy Meadow Music

Jason Krug
Grassy Meadow Music
Wednesday, July 10, 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM

Come ring some of the newest titles from Grassy Meadow Music! Whether handbell solo, duet, 8-bell or 12-bell ensemble, or full choir, there’s something for all handbell musicians!

The Diversity of Handbells: Small Ensemble and Solo Music

Alison Pruett, Nikki Evans, Ingrid Daniel, Michèle Sharik, Carol Scheel
Heitz Handbells & Music
Thursday, July 11, 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM

Overwhelmed with the amount of music composed during the year? Listen to selected compositions that tickle your fancy, stretch your abilities and touch your heart. Participate in new small ensemble music. Music given away and chocolate to keep your energy up during the class.

There’s Always Hope

Brenda Austin, and various handbell composers
Hope Publishing Company
Thursday, July 11, 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM

Join Editor, Brenda Austin, as you read and ring Hope’s recently released titles. The session will be packed with great music from a variety of levels and styles. Several of our composers will make an appearance to conduct their music. Walk away with one copy of your 3 favorite pieces to erase at your leisure.

Jeffers Publications

Kevin McChesney
Jeffers Handbell Supply, Inc.
Friday, July 12, 1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

A showcase of the newest releases from Jeffers Publications.

Keeping Your Handbells and Choirchimes in Top Condition – The Dos and Don’ts of Ringing

Kathy Ebling Shaw
Malmark Bells, Inc.
Friday, July 12, 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM

This hands-on class will survey ringing techniques and how to perform them properly so you won’t damage your instruments! A great review for ringers and directors.

What the Music Means to Me

Michael Glasgow
Wednesday, July 10, 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM

Being a composer of choral, handbell, and orchestral music is far more than Michael’s job; he considers it a gift to help bind hearts together through the universal language of notes and rhythms. Everything Michael composes has a story to tell and a purpose to serve; he’s never sat down and said, “Now I’m going to write something to publish and sell.” Rather, each piece is created to honor or remember a cherished friend or family member, celebrate a blessing, mark an occasion, or fulfill a commission, which affords Michael the sacred honor of helping others commemorate similar people and events in THEIR lives.

In this reading session, Michael will share some of his favorite stories behind the origins of several of his works, as well as “where are they now?” glimpses into the journeys some of his pieces have taken. Join us for a unique opportunity to share the funny, moving, sweet stories that afford an intimate look into the muse of this creative composer and arranger.

The Mallet Makes the Difference: Making Good Choices

Greig Ashurst
Schulmerich Bells, LLC
Saturday, July 13, 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM

The Greig Ashurst Artist & Legato Series Mallets by Schulmerich are specifically engineered to meet the demands of today’s professional handbell musicians. Come join us as we explore the different mallet options available, and how to choose the correct mallet for a particular style of music.

Vreana’s Reading Session: Self-Published Works

Mareike Davis
Wednesday, July 10, 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM

If you are looking for new music that you won’t find in any handbell publisher catalogs, join us as we sight-read independently published works! Repertoire will include pop songs, sacred music, and other genres for full ensembles.

RON BELLAMY began ringing handbells in 1979 and has been a performer and clinician for Handbell Exploration, Solo/Ensemble Extravaganza (SEE), and Handbell Musicians of America. A former member of the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble, he is now their artistic director. He is a solo handbell artist and was the solo ringing clinician at the 2019 HMA National Seminar in St. Louis as well as the 2023 HMA Area 2 festival. Ron is presently directing two handbell choirs at two Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area churches. He has conducted several massed ringing festivals including, most recently, the 2024 Toms River Handbell Festival and the 2024 Virginia Bronze Ring in Spring Festival.  A graduate of the University of Scranton and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, his full-time employment is in the field of accounting and finance.

STEVIE BERRYMAN can’t whistle. But she makes fantastic pesto, and she can fold a fitted sheet. 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 114 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 beginners how to ring, and her innovative, play-based methods have made her a sought-after educator and clinician at area, national, and international handbell festivals. Stevie serves as the handbell director at First Congregational Church Houston, Texas, and co-leads Rocket Bells in League City, Texas. She loves helping other choirs as a private clinician or planning epic concerts for them as a creative consultant. She and her husband, Paul, are co-owners of Truly Horrible Things, a snarky card game company, even though her mother always told her that no one would ever pay her to be sarcastic.

LAURA BLAUCH discovered a passion for the art of bell tree ringing after taking classes at past National Seminars, which led to studying privately with Barbara Brocker.  She has performed at local churches in worship and last year played in the closing concert for Into the Forest, a bell tree focused event.  In addition to bell trees, Laura has been conducting handbell choirs for over 20 years, studying with Dr. William Payn through the HMA Master Series and also attaining the highest level of the HMA Conducting Certification program.  She has conducted festivals in North Carolina and Virginia, was a finalist in the 2019 Distinctly Bronze Associate Conductor program, and conducted solo pieces with an ad hoc choir at International Handbell Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee.  She is currently the director of Queen City Ringers, an auditioned community ensemble in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Laura has over 30 years of experience as a ringer, participating in multiple Distinctly Bronze and Virtuoso events, and has taught a variety of classes at area festivals and in private workshops.  She has served as the historian and membership chair for Area 3, the Certification Program coordinator for HMA, and is currently the Scholarship Chair for Area 3.  Laura holds a B. A. in sacred music with a concentration in voice from Lebanon Valley College.  As a singer, she has been a church choir member for most of her life and has performed with choirs at Wolf Trap, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and in Europe.  Laura retired from her financial analyst position at HP last year after a 35-year career with that company, so when not making music, she is exploring hiking trails and taking riding lessons on a sweet horse named McKenzie.  Laura lives in Mooresville, North Carolina, with her husband, Dave (also a ringer!), and their 3 cats.

JACK BURDWOOD has had a passion for handbells ever since she found the “Handbell Harmony” minigame on Wii Music in 2008. Four years later, she began ringing for audiences instead of high scores with the Wittenberg University Handbell Choir, while also picking up her bachelor’s degree in percussion performance on the side. Today, Jack is an accomplished handbell ringer and freelance percussionist, having performed in the past with the Austin Handbell Ensemble, the Austin Klezmer Bund, and the Austin Civic Orchestra. Currently, she performs with the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble and the Pennsylvania Symphonic Winds. Jack shares her love of music and percussion with others through teaching at marching band programs, clinics, after school programs, and private lessons throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She’s very excited to be sharing it with you as well.

SUSAN CAPESTRO loves inviting young pianists to evoke anything with their music, even a waterfall in the room! Grammy-winning jazz artist and former student Steven Feifke says, “It was one of the greatest gifts that could possibly have happened for my career … she really embraces everybody at their level.” Playing Rachmaninov’s Elégie and jazzy blues at one piano conference, Susan inspired a whole crowd of teachers to chant: “1a, 2a, 3kati4kati … !” to discover how unpacking a seemingly complex rhythm can become both easy and fulfilling. A seasoned workshop leader (Music Teachers National Association and National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, e.g.), she encourages audience participation.

Director of music at the UCC church in Bedford, Massachusetts, Susan also plays with Merrimack Valley Ringers (MVR). An independent studio teacher, she is “tremendously innovative … inspiring and motivating” says Linda Holzer, professor of music at University of Arkansas. Susan holds music education and performance degrees from Ithaca College, with an MM in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern. She studied jazz with Charlie Banacos for eight years, as well as Indian and West African music that underlies and informs jazz. She integrated this diversity by touring on keyboards with master drummer Ibrahima Camara and playing piano with swing bands and symphony players. She has composed music for Hit or Miss, Salvation Army, Boston Scientific and Upjohn, and published articles in The American Music Teacher and Clavier Companion. MVR premiered Susan’s Roslyn Castle at the 2023 Boston Handbell Festival.

ERIK DER is a lifelong handbell musician who loves the instrument for its emphasis on ensemble, movement, and rich sonic textures. He is an active director, ringer, and clinician in Orange County and Los Angeles, California, and has experience directing a variety of age groups (middle school, high school, college, adult). He is currently the director of handbell activities at Concordia University Irvine, where he directs the Spirit Bells ensemble, teaches handbell pedagogy and directing, instructs private lessons, manages national tours, and runs the annual handbell invitationals and festivals in partnership with his colleague Alex Guebert. He additionally serves on the Area 12 board for Handbell Musicians of America, directs handbells at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange, performs with the Cathedral Bells of St. John’s Lutheran in Orange, and is a founding member of the Handbell Renaissance septet in Irvine, California.

MITCHELL EITHUN is a church musician, composer, and mathematician. He has over 60 published pieces of handbell music and has received commissions from community and church handbell ensembles. Mitchell is interested in developing innovative handbell rehearsal techniques and writing about the history of church music. Mitchell holds a B.A. in mathematics and computer science and a minor in music from Ripon College (Ripon, Wisconsin) and an M.S. in computational mathematics, science and engineering from Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan). Currently he is pursuing an MDiv at Duke Divinity School (Durham, North Carolina) and serves as a carillonneur at Duke Chapel. Mitchell previously served as handbell director at the First Presbyterian Church of Holt, digital ministry intern at University Lutheran Church and pastoral intern at Campus Edge Fellowship. In his spare time, he enjoys learning the carillon and traveling to new places.

GILLIAN ERLENBORN is the choral director and musical theatre teacher at Frelinghuysen Middle School, in Morristown, New Jersey. Gillian utilizes handbells and handchimes in her vocal ensemble curriculum to better engage her students in a full body and literacy based musical education. Gillian graduated from Westminster Choir College in 2018 with both a Bachelor of Music in music education and a Master of Arts in teaching. She also directs the handbell choir and children’s choir at Middlebush Reformed Church in Middlebush, New Jersey. Gillian is proud to serve on the national board of Handbell Musicians of America.

A native Texan relocated to Colorado, NIKKI EVANS has played other instruments (including piano, guitar, and knowing what the little buttons do on an accordion), but found her passion when she discovered the art of handbell ringing. She jumped in with both feet, immersing herself in the handbell world however she could. As a soloist, she has presented several concerts and contributed music to numerous worship services in Texas and Colorado, and she was honored to perform at National Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2021. Nikki has coached handbell soloists and has taught workshops for church and community handbell groups in Colorado Springs. She was on faculty for National Seminar in 2023 and is excited to be back in 2024.

MICHAEL J. GLASGOW is a native of Michigan and cannot believe that 2024 marks 30 years since he last raised and lowered the flag at his high school (not to mention started college, found his “tribe,” and realized that the bullies who picked on him for being the “flag kid” were simply not worth the energy). After a full-time church-music career spanning more than 23 years, Michael now freelances full-time. Heralded for his “abundant melodic gift” (New York Concert Review), Michael is an award-winning composer of organ, handbell, and choral works, and keeps busy with commissions. He is deeply committed to his craft, and proud that each piece he writes has a story and a purpose behind it.

Michael made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting his Requiem for chorus and orchestra in June 2017, and conducted its European premiere in Vienna in June 2019. More than 160 engagements also have brought him to three dozen states, as well as England, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, and a cruise ship in the Eastern Caribbean.  In June 2022, he returned to the podium in Carnegie Hall to conduct the world premiere of his Gloria for chorus and orchestra.  “The more people I meet through music,” he says, “the smaller the world becomes.” He serves as the bass section leader of the North Carolina Master Chorale, the chorus conductor of the Tar River Orchestra and Chorus (Rocky Mount, North Carolina), and in early 2024 was named a principal guest conductor of Singapore’s Ministry of Bellz. Visit and @MichaelJGlasgow on YouTube for more information and samples of his work.

PAMELA “P.L.” GROVE has been a handbell ringer and director for more than 45 years. As a founding ringer with the critically acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble, her more notable performances included those with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Kronos Quartet, Frederica von Stade, and twice on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. She served as artistic director for Velocity Handbell Ensemble for over 20 years, has rung at several Distinctly Bronze events, was the Distinctly Bronze West chair from 2014 to 2016, represented the United States as the director at the 18th International Handbell Symposium in Australia, and rang in the inaugural Zenith event in 2023. She is one of only a few people to have completed a bachelor’s degree in handbell performance and is a past president of Handbell Musicians of America. Retired from her work as a government public information officer, P.L. currently works as a church vocal choir director and spends as much time as possible making music.

JENNIFER STACK is the current Area 1 chair, and Area 1 Chime Loan Program coordinator.  She also sits on the education committee for the board of Handbell Musicians of America.  She began ringing bells in 2013 at the invitation of a work colleague, and “fell in deep” when she joined Merrimack Valley Ringers in 2018.  Jennifer currently directs an adult handbell choir and a children’s chime and vocal choir for the Holy Rood Collaborative. Her passion is handbell education and spreading the word that handbells are an amazing instrument for music education.  Her overarching philosophy is that if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.

KEVIN MAZIMAS KO graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and Master of Arts (MA) degrees in music composition from Hong Kong Baptist University in 2001 and 2003 respectively. He also obtained his Master of Church Music from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2005. He founded the Asia Handbell Music Centre and has instructed seminars in Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Malaysia. Kevin has been directing school handbell choirs for 23 years and has been developing his very unique classroom handbell methods with Miss Chan Cheuk Yiu since 2010. He is also a published composer and soloist. Kevin was a clinician at the 2016 Vancouver International Handbell Symposium and the Handbell Ringers of Japan 40th Anniversary event. He was also the Hong Kong selected Mass Ringing Conductor at the 2018 Cairns IHS and will be the Hong Kong conductor in 2024 IHS in Japan. He is currently the chairman of Hong Kong Asia International Handbell Association, the artistic director of Asia Handbell Music Centre, Malmark Handbells, Inc. Hong Kong representative, the director and founder of Hong Kong Elite Youth Ringers, and the handbell examiner of London College of Music Examinations.

A native Texan relocated to Colorado, NIKKI EVANS has played other instruments (including piano, guitar, and knowing what the little buttons do on an accordion), but found her passion when she discovered the art of handbell ringing. She jumped in with both feet, immersing herself in the handbell world however she could. As a soloist, she has presented several concerts and contributed music to numerous worship services in Texas and Colorado, and she was honored to perform at National Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2021. Nikki has coached handbell soloists and has taught workshops for church and community handbell groups in Colorado Springs. She was on faculty for National Seminar in 2023 and is excited to be back in 2024.

DEBBIE RICE has been a university professor for 12 years in Canada for a school of music and faithfully served in music ministries for Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, United Methodist, and United Church congregations.  She draws on her vast experience as a professional singer and choral conductor and her passion for teaching to encourage high standards for the handbell and handchime instrument. Debbie travels as clinician, adjudicator, and mass conductor that has included assignments in more than 20 countries. Her next international tour as mass conductor with Witte Travel and Tours will be in 2025. With Handbell Musicians of America, she has held elected offices on the national board as national secretary and national president and has served as Area chair. In 2014, she was awarded Honorary Life Membership, HMA’s highest honor. Debbie is also a past executive director of the International Handbell Committee.

ANDY WALLACE is Shoreline Ringers’ music director and the music director at the Dunn’s Corners Community Church, Presbyterian, where he has been directing the handbell and choral programs since 1996. Andy has been ringing handbells in choirs and ensembles since 1991 and is active as a solo ringer and clinician throughout Area 1. He is a middle school history teacher and has received several outstanding teaching awards, including the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, the “Oscars” of education.

SANDRA EITHUN, M.M.Ed., is a graduate of Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, with an emphasis in the Kodály teaching method, keyboard, and flute. She is currently on the faculty of Valley Troubadours of Appleton and at Holy Family Conservatory of Music in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, leading the handbell program for both schools. She served as director of music ministry, handbell director, children’s choir director, organist, and choral accompanist at First Congregational United Church of Christ in New London, Wisconsin, from 1992-2021, and directed the Silver Lake College Handbell Ensemble from 2009-2020. Sandra has over 600 pieces for handbells in publication as well as several sacred keyboard books and teaching collections for the incorporation of handbells in the music classroom. Sandra’s compositions have been recently featured on the PBS Christmas special Holiday Handbells as well as concerts by noted groups across the country including The Raleigh Ringers and The Bells on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. She continues to work as a handbell clinician and conductor at numerous festivals and workshops throughout the United States.

SHARON SCHMIDT was a member of The Agape Ringers, an auditioned community handbell ensemble from the Chicago area, for 30 years and is past chair for Area 8. She previously directed multiple handbell ensembles at Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton, Illinois, served on the Area 8-Illinois State Committee from 1994-2021, was chair for 11 Distinctly Bronze events, served as Area 8 treasurer for four years, and was the Certification Program coordinator for five years.  Now living in the Denver, Colorado, area, Sharon is the substitute director for the Rocky Mountain Ringers.  Her handbell teaching experience includes numerous local events, events in Areas 1, 5, 7, 8, and 10, multiple National Seminars, a National Festival, and the International Handbell Symposium in 2008.

BRIAN SEEMANN is the director of handbell ensembles at the Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, and the music director of Virginia Bronze. He has been music director of 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 Symposiums.  His ensembles have been invited to perform at Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar three times in 2016, 2019, and 2024.  In addition to being a ringing member, he also serves on the board of Sonos Handbell Ensemble.  Along with Nick Hanson, Brian is the co-host of Two Tacos High, a handbell podcast.

MICHÈLE SHARIK rings professionally with Sonos Handbell Ensemble, is the founding artistic director of Timbré, and is an internationally-renowned handbell soloist, conductor, and teacher. She has played, taught, and/or conducted bells in 39 US states and 9 countries. She designed and is the master teacher of the handbell techniques curriculum for HMA’s certification program. In addition to degrees in computer programming, visual and performing arts, and music technology, she has a master’s certificate in performing arts medicine and is a fervent “evangelist” for safe ringing techniques.

DAVID M. HARRIS has been the director of The Raleigh Ringers (Raleigh, North Carolina) since January of 1990, when he was instrumental in the formation of the group. Under his leadership, The Raleigh Ringers have performed across much of the United States; in France and England; on International Television on the Hour of Power program; as a showcase choir for Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar and Area Festivals; with the North Carolina and Virginia Symphony Orchestras; and as special guest performers at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. David is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has studied conducting privately with Dr. William Payn (Bucknell University). David has led well over 200 handbell festivals and workshops in 39 states as well as in England, Puerto Rico, Canada and the Caribbean. He has also been the primary handbell clinician for several denominational music events, including Montreat (North Carolina), Lake Junaluska (North Carolina), Lutheridge (North Carolina), Mo-Ranch (Texas), Massanetta (Virginia) and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (Kentucky). David is an adjunct professor at Meredith College in Raleigh, where he leads the Meredith College Ringers. He also conducts the educational groups sponsored by The Raleigh Ringers, The Millbrook Ringers and The Atlantic Ringers.

CHARLOTTE HERBSTSOMER began her handbell journey while teaching elementary school music in Maryland. Since then, she has enjoyed ringing in advanced handbell choirs in Maryland and New York, and has served as music/handbell director for over 17 years at churches in Maryland. Charlotte was awarded a set of handchimes from the loan/grant program in Area 2 and learned to combine her love for teaching music with her love of handbells. Over the next few years, she worked to discover ways that handchimes and other non-traditional instruments like boomwhackers could be used in a music curriculum. Students of all ages/abilities loved using these instruments. After retiring in 2020, she moved to Rochester, New York. She continues to share the joy of handbells through both performing and teaching. Her latest classes include advanced handbell techniques for adults and beginning ringing for homeschool/private school students. On the side, she dabbles in arranging music for handbells.

RICK HOLDSWORTH has dedicated his career to sharing music with the public as a vocalist, instrumentalist, director, arranger, and music educator. His love of music began at an early age, and grew as a member of his high school marching band. After graduation, he began his first professional music career in the U.S. Navy. During his 30 years of service, Rick performed in, managed, and directed Navy bands around the world. After retiring as a master chief, he began his second career in music ministry. For more than 20 years now, Rick has been leading an extensive music ministry, including vocal and handbell choirs of all ages and skill levels, as the director of music at Pine Shores Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, Florida.

A recognized expert in all facets of handbell music and operations, Rick has been an enthusiastic member of the handbell music community for nearly four decades. In 2009, Rick founded Ring Sarasota, an advanced handbell community ensemble, and continues to lead the organization as principal conductor. He has been an invited guest conductor and clinician at handbell conferences and festivals throughout the southeast and has published handbell arrangements and orchestrations with five different music publishers to-date. His first handbell arrangement, a complete transcription of “Jupiter” from The Planets, was published by From the Top Music and selected for performance at Distinctly Bronze East 2015, an event he has participated in for a decade. When not creating handbell music, he works behind-the-scenes as the Florida Handbell Doctor repairing, adjusting, refurbishing, and cleaning handbell sets for organizations throughout the southeast.  In his spare time, he can be found tinkering with his Lionel O-Gauge model train layout.

BETH JUDD is retired from full-time music and arts ministry after years of conducting singing and ringing choirs with children, youth and adults, overseeing liturgical dance and art gallery ministries, and developing concert series. She served as music chairman and later as president of AGEHR, and has proudly been attending AGEHR/HMA events since 1965. She also served as president of the Greater Dallas Handbell Association, secretary/treasurer for Area 9 AGEHR, associate conductor of the Dallas Handbell Ensemble, and the first conductor and artistic director of Concert Bells of Fort Worth. Beth continues as conductor and clinician for seminars, festivals, and denominational worship and music conferences.  She conducted the 2015 HMA Distinctly Bronze East and the 2021 Distinctly Bronze West events, as well as at the International Symposium in Toronto. Beth is also honored and humbled to serve as a volunteer for Hospice Austin in patient care and family bereavement.

JOY TOLL-CHANDLER has been playing and directing handbells since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music and a Master’s in Church Music (handbell emphasis) from Concordia University. She has two pieces published by AGEHR Publishing and has a goal of doing much more composing. She was also accredited as a faculty instructor for Level 1 Handbell Certification in theory and conducting. Joy is currently the director of the handbell choir of the Congregational Church in Cumberland (Maine).  Having retired from full-time pastoral ministry, she and her husband, Paul, are happily settled in Maine and enjoy time with family, traveling, visiting lighthouses, and doing puzzles.

GREG URBAN lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with his husband and dog. He currently rings with the Back Bay Ringers in Boston, Massachusetts, and has previously rung with Bells of the Cascades (Portland, Oregon) and Sonos Handbell Ensemble (Oakland, California). When not ringing or arranging handbells, he facilitates team building and group development for groups using a high ropes course. He is always looking for the next pop/rock piece to arrange for bells and figuring out how he can get unique sounds out of our quirky instrument.

Director, educator, composer, publisher, ringer, clinician KATHLEEN (KATH) WISSINGER is all about the bells…and bell people. Known for her creative teaching style, clear directing, and engaging compositions, she has led events across the US and in Canada and Japan. Artistic director of Mosaic Handbell Ensemble (8-9 advanced ringers on 4-5 octaves bells and chimes) and Gloria Dei (an adult church group), Kath also developed Square One, a complete curriculum for first-year ringers based on 18 years of teaching handbells in the classroom. Her students also wrote many compositions as classroom projects. Her own compositions span a wide range of ringing possibilities from Level 1 to Level 5; Solos and small ensembles to full 7-octave concert epics; commissions and special projects, many released through her publishing company ringTrue Handbell Music. Kath currently serves on the national board of HMA; coordinates the CHIME Loan program for Area 3; served on the Area 3 board for eight years; and often mentors ringers, directors, composers and new events. A former National Park Service ranger (Acadia and Shenandoah) with a degree in geology, Kath lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, Skip (also a former Park Ranger), teaches piano lessons, and makes world-famous bread & butter pickles. Contact her at [email protected]

JUSTIN WOOTEN hails from the western foothills of North Carolina near Charlotte in a small sleepy town called Union Grove. After finishing a high school career dominated by athletics, Justin switched gears, started working in regional professional theaters across the US, and went to Elon University, where he received a degree in music theater. Immediately after college, he moved to Los Angeles for the sunny days, bodacious beaches and active lifestyle. While soaking up the rays, he became a fitness trainer where teaching classes, training fitness enthusiasts and celebrities, and learning as much about the human body was just a typical day in the life of. Throughout all his adventures in life, handbells has always been a constant. He began playing handbells at the ripe old age of seven years old. Even after moving to Los Angeles, he played with Charlotte Bronze under the leadership of Linda Krantz. In 2020, during the pandemic, Justin moved back to North Carolina where he immediately joined Charlotte Bronze under the direction of Tim Waugh. His one rule in life is: “If it’s heavy, try to pick it up. If it is too light, make it heavier. If it’s too heavy, get stronger.” This should explain why he only hangs out in the low bass. Post pandemic, Justin now resides in North Carolina, trading in the big city vibes for the quiet country lifestyle. He continues to pick up heavy things, set them down, then repeat as many times as possible. Now, he also runs his own studio, where he teaches others to do the same. On top of all of that, he lives on a farm with cows, donkeys, dogs, watermelons, blueberries and a friendly family of raccoons in his backyard.

GRIFF GALL is the founding artistic director of the Back Bay Ringers, one of New England’s premier handbell ensembles. Under his direction, the ensemble has performed throughout the Greater Boston area and has developed a reputation for their musically sensitive performances. He has collaborated with many of the area's finest musical organizations including the Handel and Haydn Society, New England Conservatory Choral Department, the Boston Children's Chorus, and the Boston Pops. Griff is an elementary music and movement specialist in the town of Danvers, Massachusetts. He earned a Bachelor of Music in music education from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Music in Education from Boston University, and received his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Education Leadership from Salem State University. He is frequently invited as a guest clinician and conductor, leading workshops in handbell pedagogy, conducting, and Orff Schulwerk for  local and national handbell and music education and handbell conferences. He is the co-author of Ring, Dance, Play, First Experiences with Choirchimes and Orff Schulwerk, published by GIA. Griff is the recipient of the Donna Nagel Award for his contributions to the field of General Music from the Massachusetts Music Educators Association and the Spotlight Award from the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement.

LISA ARNOLD started ringing in 1976 with the Wesley Bell Ringers of Salt Lake City, Utah. More recently, Lisa has rung with Bay Bells in California from 2004-2010 and with the Merrimack Valley Ringers in Massachusetts since 2010. She has rung handbells in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces, as well as Italy, France, Spain, and the UK. Lisa has taught workshops on a variety of topics at many Area 1 events. As a co-organizer of BFF WHOA/New England, Lisa often uses attendees as test subjects for new workshop ideas.  She spends her free time traveling, learning Italian, and riding her bicycles.

KEVIN MAZIMAS KO graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and Master of Arts (MA) degrees in music composition from Hong Kong Baptist University in 2001 and 2003 respectively. He also obtained his Master of Church Music from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2005. He founded the Asia Handbell Music Centre and has instructed seminars in Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Malaysia. Kevin has been directing school handbell choirs for 23 years and has been developing his very unique classroom handbell methods with Miss Chan Cheuk Yiu since 2010. He is also a published composer and soloist. Kevin was a clinician at the 2016 Vancouver International Handbell Symposium and the Handbell Ringers of Japan 40th Anniversary event. He was also the Hong Kong selected Mass Ringing Conductor at the 2018 Cairns IHS and will be the Hong Kong conductor in 2024 IHS in Japan. He is currently the chairman of Hong Kong Asia International Handbell Association, the artistic director of Asia Handbell Music Centre, Malmark Handbells, Inc. Hong Kong representative, the director and founder of Hong Kong Elite Youth Ringers, and the handbell examiner of London College of Music Examinations.

LESLIE LEWIS has been ringing handbells since 1979 when she was introduced to them at the Montreat Worship and Music Conference. She has been ringing in the bass section for Distinctly Bronze East since the event began in 1999, participated in the Distinctly Bronze European Tour in 2007, and added Distinctly Bronze West in 2019 & 2021. She has rung low bass in many area and national All Star Choirs and rang low bass at Virtuoso 2017, 2019, & 2022 sharing the stage with the Raleigh Ringers for the final concert. In 2022 Leslie crossed Bay View Week of Handbells off her bucket list and will continue to participate when the International Handbell Symposium doesn’t conflict with the dates. Leslie had the honor of travelling to Singapore in 2023 as a Foreign Guest Ringer with the Ministry of Bells (MOB) and will be ringing with MOB at the 21st International Handbell Symposium in Hamamatsu, Japan in August.

Leslie enjoys substituting for choirs in the Gastonia/Charlotte and Wilmington/Myrtle Beach areas and assisting The Raleigh Ringers with demo recordings. She also dabbles in solo ringing. Having added the lower 6th and 7th octave chimes to her growing set of handbell “toys,” she hopes to offer her services to add the lower chimes for groups that don’t have them. After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in computer science, Leslie worked for IBM and First Union National Bank for a combined 15 years before turning a part-time role preparing income taxes into a career. Leslie is currently president of Unified Income Taxes and Accounting, Inc., in Gastonia, North Carolina, where she prepares all types of tax returns and, as an enrolled agent, represents clients during IRS tax audits and appeals.

Trained as a military and theatre percussionist and Yamaha Electone musician, DAMIEN LIM is founder and music director of the award-winning MINISTRY OF BELLZ from Singapore. percussion and handbells have led him to perform, teach, and adjudicate in over 20 countries, including the USA, Japan, Egypt, Canada, Australia, South Korea, the UK, Hong Kong, Ireland, Turkey, Ireland, and France, to name a few. Damien is a fellow of the London College of Music (UK). He holds a Master of Music (performance) from the University of West London – London College of Music (UK), and was recently awarded the title of doctor of letters (honoris causa) by ATU in 2022 for his work in handbell music development in Singapore. He is currently pursuing his second Master of Music (leadership) at the National University of Singapore – Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. Damien directs advanced handbell teams at five schools and is consultant for eight other school ensembles. He is also executive director of the Handbell Ringers of Singapore (HRSG). A firm believer of creative excellence thru handbell music, he contributes actively to the development of handbell standards in Singapore through his tireless work with students, youths, persons with special needs and his colleagues. He constantly seeks to be “purposeful in pursuit of excellence.” Get to know more about Damian at

MARIE M. LOEFFLER enjoyed a successful career as a professional dancer, choreographer, and studio owner.  When she transitioned to arts administration, she discovered handbells and a new way to bring music to life.  Never looking back, Marie has earned the moniker of Belldancer for her graceful performances as a solo ringer. Her popular workshops include myriad technique and performance topics. In addition to her handbell achievements, Marie holds a degree in behavioral sciences and is a certified life purpose and career coach.  She is a popular speaker and workshop presenter known for her original Ringing True series, which helps professional women rediscover their creativity, increase their confidence, and strengthen their leadership skills.  Her bells frequently share the stage at her speaking gigs and add a unique twist to each presentation, thus creating a one-of-a-kind an experience for her participants. As an active member of HMA for many years, Marie has served on the boards for both Area 1 and Area 4. She is certified in Levels 1-3 handbell techniques and is accredited handbell techniques Level 1 faculty.  Marie currently lives in Melbourne, Florida, where she continues to ring as a soloist, introduces bells to every new venue she can find, and serves as manager for the bell choir at Eastminster Presbyterian Church where she is pushing the ringers outside of their comfortable two bell box.

RON MALLORY has been playing, directing, and composing for handbells for nearly 30 years and has extensive experience working with handbell ensembles in the church, school, and community choir settings. Ron has more than 250 handbell pieces in print and has won several composition contests. He has served as guest conductor at numerous festivals and teaches regularly at local and national handbell conferences. In addition to his work as a composer/arranger, Ron runs Martellato Media, which produces handbell demos and music for multimedia projects, and Paraboloid Press, a music and arts publishing company. Outside of music, Ron’s primary interest is astronomy, and he is actively involved in space science education using his portable planetarium dome. Many of Ron’s musical compositions are written on astronomical themes. Ron has a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in music composition from California State University, Long Beach. He lives in Mulvane, Kansas, with his wif,e Emily, and their children, Vivian, Miles, and Rigel. A lifelong Christian, Ron is always working to grow in his relationship with God. For more about Ron and his music, visit

BRUNA MARINHO is an energetic handbell ringer, pianist, music teacher, and music therapist based in São Paulo, Brazil. She is the founder of Handbells Brasil, an organization that promotes the art of handbell ringing in Brazil through performance and education. Bruna is very active and creative on social media. She has many series of handbell videos on YouTube to engage people from all ages and spread the joy of handbells. She served in the music ministry of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, in Iowa City, Iowa, for six months in 2019, ringing bells, conducting the children’s handbell choir, and studying liturgical music. Bruna graduated from Catholic University of Santos in 2014 with a degree in music education and from a post-baccalaureate in music therapy in 2022 from Santa Marcelina College, through which she started working with elderly people doing sessions with handbells and handchimes. Currently she is pursuing a master’s degree in gerontology at University of São Paulo to investigate the effectiveness of the Yura Rhythm, which is a Japanese music method for older adults that she learned in Sendai, Japan, in 2023 through a scholarship from JICA – Japan International Cooperation Agency. Bruna works as a music therapist in Senior living and retirement centers utilizing handbells and handchimes as a music teacher at a Canadian School and promoting the art of bells in Brazil.

HILLARY MAROTTA first became a musician through piano and flute but fell in love with handbells at Bucknell University under the direction of William Payn while playing for the Rooke Chapel Ringers. Since then, she has reprised her role at her alma mater both as a ringer and conductor and played in church groups in Pennsylvania and Virginia. She has rung with the Hershey Handbell Ensemble and is a regular Distinctly Bronze attendee. She was a 2022 Virtuoso ringer with The Raleigh Ringers. She has studied conducting under the direction of William Payn both privately and through master classes. She currently conducts her own group of beginning level ringers and coordinates both Distinctly Teen at National Seminar and the College Ring-In for HMA. She obtained a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction specializing in adult education and has taught and trained adults in various settings. She looks forward to bringing those teaching skills to National Seminar.

TRAVIS MASLEN is the band director and professor of music at San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas. He teaches aural skills and ear training, composition, American popular music, and music appreciation. previously, he was the instrumental music director for nineteen years at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, California. Travis also served as department chair of the Media visual, and performing arts department. As director of instrumental music, he conducted and oversaw three levels of band: jazz band, drumline, string orchestra, and handbell ensemble. Travis is currently a representative for the CMEA High School Capitol Section Honor Band and was a committee member in 2023 of the California All-State Golden State Honor Band.

As a composer and arranger, Travis has created works in the classical and jazz genres for instrumental and choral ensembles, both large and small. Ensembles and events include the Liberty University Band; Festival of New American Music (FeNAM) annually held at California State University, Sacramento; Cosumnes River College Brass Choir; San Jacinto College Band; Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus; Princeton Singers; Trombone Christmas Los Angeles; Tuba Christmas Sacramento and Monterey; and handbell ensembles. Travis Maslen holds a BA degree in music and an MM degree in music composition from California State University, Sacramento. He is currently a music education doctoral student.

DIANA MONTGOMERY has been an active handbell musician for more than 20 years.  She was a choir mom for Kirtsy Mitchell’s handbell choirs when her children were young and now directs the children’s and Chancel Bell ensembles at Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.  Diana also serves as the assistant organist and plays flute in the church orchestra.  In 2019, Diana became the director of the Brookwood Handbell Ensemble, a 17-member handbell ensemble founded by Linda McKechnie at the Brookwood Community, a residential community for disabled adults in Brookshire, Texas.  Diana joined the Houston Bronze Ensemble in 2021.  She also serves as treasurer for HMA Area 9 and is on the board of directors for the Greater Houston Handbell Association.  She has a degree in music education from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, with emphasis in flute and organ.  Diana retired from a career as a CPA in 2017 and now devotes her time to music, family and volunteer activities.

DANIEL K. MOORE of Rumford, Rhode Island, retired from teaching and directing the Concert Handbell Ringers of the Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island, after 37 years of service to the school. His auditioned high school ensemble toured annually throughout the US, Canada, and Bermuda, appeared frequently on television, performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and in opening concerts at both national and regional handbell festivals. Recordings include Joy To the World (Empire Brass), Inside Fessiwig’s (Ed Sweeney), and several solo Wheeler Concert Ringers’ CDs. He was a charter member of AGEHR/HMA’s committee to promote handbells in education and subsequently served the Area 1 and national AGEHR/HMA boards in many capacities.

Daniel has produced CD recordings for several of New England’s community handbell ensembles, including the Back Bay Ringers, the Shoreline Ringers, and the New England Ringers, where he has most recently served at their artistic director. He is a recipient of the Area 1 Margaret H. Shurcliff Leadership Award, which recognizes effective teaching, promoting healthy handbell ringing, organizing and promoting Area 1 handbell events, and mentoring ringers and directors new to the art of handbell ringing.

MARCI NUOFFER is proud to be the current chair of Area 12. She has participated in handbells for 38 years as a ringer and a conductor. After earning her BA in music, specializing in choral/handbell conducting in secondary education, from Concordia University in Irvine (California) in 1994, she continued conducting in the schools where she has taught. She currently teaches theology and handbells at Faith Lutheran Middle School and High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she conducts the middle school and high school handbell ensembles. In addition, she conducts her church handbell choir, which is a multi-generational group, and the newly formed Faith Lutheran Alumni Community Handbell Ensemble. She loves participating as an individual ringer at ringing events in Area 12 and at national events. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her family and travel.

JOEL PLAAG is the choir director at Cypress Creek Christian Church in Spring, Texas. He conducts the Cypress Creek Community Chorale, two handbell choirs, a children’s choir, and the Chancel Choir. After rediscovering a love of writing, he authored I’m a Choir Director, Singing in the Moment, and most recently, Caring for Your Choir. Dr. Plaag was choral director at multiple colleges in Texas and Arkansas while researching and publishing on conducting pedagogy. While teaching, he held positions as music director at First Christian Church of Grand Prairie, Texas; Holy Cross Lutheran Church of Houston, Texas; First Methodist Church of Brenham, Texas; and as quartet soloist at Temple Emanu-El of Livingston, New Jersey; and quartet soloist at Temple Emanu-El of Fort Worth, Texas. He founded the Batesville Choral Society and restarted the Brenham Chorale after a multi-decade hiatus. Currently, he also serves as cantor and pianist at Temple Israel in Schulenberg, Texas.

His major conducting professors include Professor Ronald Shirey, Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, and Dr. Charles Hausmann. He continued his conducting studies in Romania with Maestro Ovidiu Bãlan, Maestro Robert Gutter, and the Filarmonica “Mihail Jora” of Bacãu. Additionally, he studied organ with Dr. Linda Patterson and voice with Dr. Vincent Russo and Judith Gans. Dr. Plaag holds degrees from Texas Christian University, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Houston, where his dissertation was on using Laban Movement Theory in teaching conducting. He currently lives in Spring with his husband, Michael, and three dogs: Teddy, Freckles and Simon. On many weekends, you can find him working in his yard, fixing something in the garage, or writing.

A native of the Jersey Shore, LYNN GARY ATKINS, JR., enjoys a career as a conductor, professional tenor, and music educator. Lynn’s first foray into handbells was as a member of the Training Bell Choir at Westminster Choir College of Rider University during his freshman year. In 2002, he became a member of the Westminster Concert Bell Choir. After graduation, Lynn resurrected the handbell program at Ewing High School in New Jersey, a program that is still engaged in promoting musicianship through handbells for high school students now more than 20 years. Equally comfortable in community music and sacred music, Lynn has been proud to serve as artistic director for the James River Ringers of Richmond, Virginia as well as the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble. He has directed handbell programs for churches in New Jersey and Virginia.

Lynn received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Westminster in 2004. He is proud to be a member of the first cohort to be named Doctor of Musical Arts from James Madison University in 2012. Currently, Dr. Atkins serves as assistant professor of music, director of choral activities and voice area coordinator at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. In addition to these duties, he is also director of music ministries at Faith United Methodist Church in Torrance, California. In 2022, Lynn became the third artistic director of L.A. Bronze Handbell Ensemble in Los Angeles. Finally, he is honored to serve as member at large on the national board of directors for Handbell Musicians of America.

BRENDA AUSTIN is in demand nationally as a conductor and clinician because of her dynamic and energetic approach to connecting musicians through handbells. In 2019, Brenda joined the team at Hope Publishing Company in Carol Stream, Illinois as editor. In 2023, she was named music director for Embellish handbell ensemble. Before joining Embellish, she served as the artistic director for the Detroit Handbell Ensemble since 2016. Under her baton, DHE was honored to open the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar in 2018 and be the featured concert for HMA’s Area 2 2019 Festival in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Additionally, she has served First United Methodist Church in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, as director of music since 2003. She is also active in the community directing Children’s musical theatre.

Brenda graduated with degrees in vocal performance from Western Michigan University and a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She studied with Craig Arnold, Steve Zegree and Eph Ehly. For more information about Brenda, please visit her website at