Including handbells and handchimes in contemporary worship is possible and it works! As some churches change their worship style of a particular service or entire Sunday morning, the practice of putting ringing instruments away in a closet has occurred over and over. However, there is no reason to do so.
The music of contemporary worship tends to reflect trends of popular music. The belief of many is that some are attracted to worship in a way that reflects the secular culture of their daily lives. Ever present in popular music that is played on a daily basis is an instrumental background to a vocalist or group. The variation in instrumentation not only adds color but reinforces the rhythmic drive through a particular song. The same concept is used in contemporary Christian music.
As church musicians, we have the call to use the resources of our congregation – people and instruments – to lift our best to God in every way. By using our ringing instruments rather than discounting them, we can embellish contemporary music with their ethereal and sparkling sounds and we can increase active participation in Worship through the talents of members of our congregations.
While the common sound of the praise band may include keyboard, drums and guitar, why not take it up a notch by adding some handchimes to the bass echoing the harmonic pattern for more resonance and sustain. A simple ostinato on bells may replace that of a keyboard and give more color. Convert a non-pitched percussion part into a pitched one using ringing instruments. All of these are simple additions which will lead to uncommon ground in contemporary music.
Contemporary music can be played by a ringing ensemble as well. Over the years, we have seen more releases of published arrangements of popular music that are stunning. The same is true for Christian music.
Below are some examples of music that can be used in a contemporary Worship setting. All of these pieces are available in the ChimeWorks store for ringing ensembles and work well with handbell and handchimes. The scores are available for immediate purchase and digital download.
Click on the links below to find more information on each collection or piece. They begin at Level 1 in difficulty.
Easy to Ring Praise & Worship (3 – 5 Octaves) Level 1+
Easy to Ring Praise & Worship V (3 – 5 Octaves) Levels 1 & 2
Lamb of God with There Is A Redeemer (3- 5 Octaves) Level 2
Awesome God (3 – 5) Level 3+
Awesome God & Almighty (2 – 3 Octaves) Level 2-
How Beautiful (3 – 5 Octaves) Level 2
How Majestic Is Your Name (2 – 3 Octaves) Level 2+
Lamb of God (3 – 5 Octaves) Level 2+