Category Archives: Guest contributor

Composing for handbells by David York

Bells of the Cascades, an auditioned ensemble in Portland, OR, recently hosted a composition contest. Their director, David York, prepared an excellent summary for composers, and he kindly granted permission for me to share this document with you.

These guidelines have been prepared to assist composers who might be unfamiliar with handbells. Get a copy of “Handbell Notation, Difficulty Level System, Solo and Ensemble Notation” published by the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers  and follow its guidelines on notation standards and techniques. Continue reading Composing for handbells by David York

Stage lighting

While at National Seminar, I had the pleasure of meeting Alison O’Connell at the soloists’ dinner. Ali lives in Australia and is a professional production manager and stage manager. She has a lot of experience working with stage technicians, and had responded to an SOS last year when I needed information for a concert at a performing arts center, where I would be working with a lighting tech for the first time. I knew from prior experience that I needed to spell out my expectations clearly, as hardly anyone is familiar with the idiosyncrasies of solo bells. For example, I had performed in one venue where the sound tech was surprised to learn I wouldn’t stand in one spot through the whole performance. Continue reading Stage lighting

Master’s project on solo ringing by Alan Reese

Concordia University, Wisconsin, offers a Master of Church Music Degree. One option is to take it with a handbell emphasis; Dr. John Behnke is the faculty member in charge of the program. Many of the finest handbell musicians I know have completed the course, including Emily Li, Michael Glasgow, Linda Lamb, Sandy Eithun, and Alan Reese. Al, who is a handbell soloist and the Music Director of the Virginia Handbell Consort, did his master’s project on solo ringing, and has kindly given permission for me to share it with you here. Continue reading Master’s project on solo ringing by Alan Reese