Handbell Brothers' Blog

Handbell news, education, and entertainment


Handbell Musicians of America (HMA) has had to cancel the annual Distinctly Bronze East event due to Hurricane Mathew. The event was set to be held on the coast of North Carolina in the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center. Hurricane Mathew has shifted west and is now headed for the American East Coast, directly at the city of New Bern. In an email to Distinctly Bronze participants, Jenny Cauhorn, the Executive Director of HMA,...

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In the year 3 BHE (Before Handbell Era), my mom and I decided that I would play French Horn in the beginning junior high band. The band director at my junior high, Doug Beasley, was an incredible Horn player with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, so it made sense to try and learn the Horn under his baton. There was only one problem. His first comment to me was “Aren’t you too small to play the Horn?” It was true. In sixth...

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It was around midnight after the closing ceremonies of the 17th International Handbell Symposium, and I found myself sitting on a dock overlooking the convention center that had been my home for the past 5 day lit up in rainbow colors celebrating Vancouver Pride. Luckily the weather by the ocean was perfect, not too hot and not too cold, since all the bars had closed for the night and we found ourselves stuck outside. My new friends...

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In Memory of Mr. Townsend

In Memory of Mr. Townsend


Posted By on Jul 24, 2016

Marshal Townsend and I, taken in May 2016 In March I received an unexpected phone call. The voice at the other end of the line was weak and breathy, but I immediately recognized the friendly, southern voice. My high school bell director Marshal Townsend was on the phone. I was having a tough time understanding him, so he passed the phone to his wife. She explained that the bell group was performing their spring concert in May, and Mr....

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The Wesley Bell Ringers in 2016 It was the summer of 2013, and as my brother and I drove across the country for the first ever Virtuoso event we made a stop in Salt Lake City to visit a high school group of ringers we kept hearing about. Due to a time change at the Utah boarder, we walked in mid rehearsal and were immediately met with a wall of sound. In the front of the church, among a sea of fancy blue tables and shinny bells, was a...

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The 2016 Westminster Concert Bell Choir Be on the look out! There’s a bus full of college bell ringers driving around the country, and chances are they will be showing up at your city next. The Westminster Choir College’s handbell ensemble just embarked on their concert tour that will take them from California to the mid-west. Over the next three weeks they have a grueling schedule of 12 concerts in 7 states. From the...

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Assignment Challenge: Sail Away

Assignment Challenge: Sail Away


Posted By on May 12, 2016

This odd pop song by Enya doesn’t initially seem like something handbells can play well, but with Kevin McChesney’s arrangement your group can sound like an Irish pop star. The arrangement layers thick chords of bells and chimes on top of a driving malletted bass line to recreate the ethereal sound of Enya. In this assignment challenge we are going to break down how I assigned this piece for 14 ringers playing 5 octaves of...

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At Distinctly Bronze West in March, 2016 participants were given a special treat. In addition to having the opportunity to play under the fabulous Toshikazu Yoshida for four days of intense upper division ringing, participants were treated to a concert by the Kinjo Gakuin University Handbell Choir from Japan. The all female group group wowed the audience with their technical skills and musical precision. Performing for an audience of...

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The first qualifying round for the new Handbell event at the Olympics. Due to an apparent typo by the International Olympic Committee, men’s and women’s “handbells” have been added to the Olympic Games. According to a source who wished to remain anonymous for this story, the error occurred when spell check changed handball to handbell shortly before publishing the final schedule for the 2016 games in Rio....

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Exciting news! Over the next couple weeks the incredible Kinjo Gakuin University Handbell Choir will be touring the United States. We have shared many of their videos on this blog over the years, so I am super excited to see them  perform. Their tour starts at Distinctly Bronze (DB) West in Oregon, then moves to Washington and Florida. Toshikazu Yoshida, the group’s conductor, is conducting DB West this year. Here is their full...

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