Overtones Current Issue

Continuing to Evolve

Much has changed over the 14 years that I have worked for AGEHR and now Handbell Musicians of America. Back in “the day,” all event information had to be sent by mail in thick packets. News about the Guild and the handbell world was found only in Overtones and printed Area newsletters or traveled by [...]


New Year, New Vitality

The Monday before Thanksgiving, Gideon was born. He was just over 7 pounds and 21 inches long with dark hair and long fingers. His parents are active members of the church where I serve, both ringing in our handbell choir. His father is bass ringer at the church and also for the Columbia Handbell Ensemble. [...]


Beyond Membership

Handbell Musicians of America is, at its core, a membership association. This means our primary source of revenue comes from membership dues. Over the years, we have faced many challenges in maintaining our membership base:


There’ll Be Some Changes Made

We’ve all heard the saying, “The only constant is change”, attributed to Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher. Change comes in many ways and degrees, sometimes very large and world-reaching, sometimes small and only recognized by the person directly affected. Sometimes the things which don’t change are just as important.


Teaching Music Reading to Beginning Handbell Musicians
An effective, efficient and fun (but “colorless”) approach

Much has been written about teaching beginners to read by non-traditional notation. I have tried and used several of these methods myself at times. Some are very simple, others very elaborate; huge charts with colors and beats diagrammed for every song.


Heard from the Trenches
What is the biggest issue facing your handbell ministry?

Crowdsourcing on a topic is a good way to both identify common issues and brainstorm solutions to those problems. Unless you work in a paradise where everyone gets along all the time, money and personnel are plenteous, and everyone is musically competent and always present, you will surely find some company in what follows here. [...]


Stepping In and Stepping Up
Using subs and integrating new permanent ringers

I was recently at the Area Leadership Meeting in Cincinnati. Having been to the meeting several times in the past, I always enjoy seeing familiar faces and learning about new Guild initiatives and functions created by our brilliantly talented staff and national board. At the meeting, groups were asked to design a group name reflecting [...]


The Big Ring
How to break a Guinness World Record

On November 19, in Bloomington, Minnesota, 664 handbell musicians gathered at the Mall of America to set a new world record for the largest handbell ensemble. This was the culmination of four months of work in partnership with the Salvation Army and the Mall of America.


Discovery Questions

The following is an explanation on how to use the Discovery Questions sheet on the next to pages of this Tips & Tools issue. Be sure to check out the online edition of Overtones to download both Microsoft Word and PDF formats to which you can add your own group name or logo.


Taking Time to Fill Mind, Body, and Soul
Attending events that enrich and inspire

This month we asked just one question of our panel: “Do you plan to attend an event, a conference, or a learning activity in the next few months? Please describe the event; who, what, where, and when? It doesn’t need to be a handbell-related activity: it could be a time to enrich musicianship, health, spirituality, [...]


Constructing a Memorable Concert
Engaging, Educating, and Entertaining Your Audience and Musicians

Just as we need a blueprint, a timeline, and fine building materials when planning to build a lovely new house, we also need a strategy when constructing a satisfying handbell concert. Whereas, the initial reaction of an audience to a handbell performance is universally enthusiastic, maintaining this level of delight and enthusiasm throughout a program [...]


Wake Up and Shout for Joy!

Here is an easy piece for Easter using 2-5 octaves of bells.