Taking it to the Top with Technique

 

Ringing technique is everything!  As directors, we spend countless hours in rehearsal.  We are not only there for teaching music skills, mastering a score and readying for a performance.  We may also be creating community, fostering social skills, motivating and ministering. It’s hard to believe that we do this all in an hour or two each week.

For many, the largest portion of our time is dedicated to teaching notes and coaching eye-hand coordination.  However, the underlying component to having our ringing ensemble work as one unit or instrument and achieving the highest musical results is proper ringing technique.

Taking the time in the beginning to introduce and reinforce good technique to ringers will lead to quicker musical results in the end.  “Beginning” may have different meanings depending on your situation – new ringers, new program year or each new rehearsal.

Here are some things to consider and focus upon for your fresh start:

Ringing – The flick of the wrist is just the beginning of the tone. How we move the instrument determines the musicality of the tone.  Where we hold the instrument while we ring it – low or high in the plane – reinforces its identity as melody or harmonic support.

Damping – In music, a rest can be more important than the notes played.  Be sure that your ringers are damping properly so that the note is cleanly damped exactly when it should be.

Arm extension – Before ringing, the arm extension should match the duration of the note so that the instrument may be brought back to the shoulder for damping with the tempo of the music.  For example, in a moderate tempo, a whole note is equivalent to extending the whole arm; a half note is equivalent to extending at the elbow, etc.

Precision ringing – Be sure your ringersbreathe together before playing a chord so that all instruments strike at once.

Learn more about ringing techniques on handchimes here.  Musicality tips may be found here.

With the foundation of good ringing technique, your musical success will be easily built.

Ringing in Contemporary Worship

 

 

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 II   (2 – 3 Octaves)  Level 1+

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship III  (2 – 3 Octaves)   (3 – 5 Octaves)  Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship IV  (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)  Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship V  (3 – 5 Octaves)  Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship VI  (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)  Level 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship VII  (2 – 3 Octaves) Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship VIII  (3 – 5 Octaves) Levels 1 & 2

Lamb of God with There Is A Redeemer (3- 5 Octaves)  Level 2

Awesome God & Almighty (2 – 3 Octaves)  Level 2-

How Beautiful (3 – 5 Octaves)  Level 2

Lamb of God  (3 – 5 Octaves) Level 2+

Peace & Harmony in the Classroom and World

 

It’s always good to incorporate life lessons into our music.  During the past weeks, we have witnessed students from around the globe become organizers of change.  They have been using their voices to condemn policy, violence, social injustice and hatred to name a few.  These leaders were formed in their homes, communities, centers of faith and in their classrooms.  Through lessons in the music classroom, we can also share in the social development of our children.

At ChimeWorks, we offer the lessons below in the theme of peace.  They combine a great text and tune with easy-to-teach harmonization which will work well in the classroom or concert stage.   All are available for immediate purchase and digital download at the cost of $2.29 each – just pennies per student – in our “Handchimes in the Classroom & Rehearsal” store.

 

Lessons Using Chords to Harmonize Singing

Dona Nobis Pacem

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: Latin
  • Origin: Europe

Dona Nobis Pacem is a traditional song in round or canon form.  The text translates to Grant Us Peace and is taken from the Latin mass.  While the source of this canon is unknown, it is believed to date from the 16th century.

 

Greeting of Peace

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Chords: 5
  • Language: English, Hebrew
  • Origin: Israel

 Hevenu Shalom A’leychem is a traditional Jewish greeting wishing the goodness of a peace-filled life.

 

Peace Like a River

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Chords: 3
  • Language: English
  • Origin: African American Spiritual

Peace Like A River is an African American Spiritual.  The first three items of the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22) are love, joy, and peace. This spiritual compares the peace of God to a placidly flowing river, the joy of Christ to a merrily bubbling fountain, and the love of God to a deep, wide ocean.

 

Shalom Chaverim

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Chords: 3
  • Canon:Y es
  • Language: English, Hebrew
  • Origin: Israel

Meaning farewell, good friends, Shalom Chaverim is a traditional song sung at parting.  It may be sung in English or Hebrew. It may be used as a three-part canon (round).  It may be used for welcoming guests or in teaching friendship.

 

Lessons Using Ostinati Taught by Rote to Harmonize Singing

Good and Joyous

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English, Hebrew
  • Origin: Israel

Good and Joyous is a traditional Hebrew song usually sung in canon (round) form.  It is based on Psalm 133.  In the text, the word people may be used in place of brothers.

 

Happy Days

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Happy Days is a four-part canon that has been sung for generations.  Its origin is unknown.

 

Make New Friends

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Make New Friends is a traditional campfire song sung by Girl Scouts in North America.

Spring Collections for the Sacred Setting

By now, you may be putting on the finishing touches to your Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday music and it time to make music choices for the weeks that follow.  At ChimeWorks, we offer some wonderful collections of music that will give you the opportunity to finish the season with ease.  These budget-friendly resources offer a variety of options for your ensemble allowing you to be flexible as Spring sports, travel and other obligations gear up.

All of the following collections are available for immediate purchase and digital download from our store.  Click the links below to learn more about these collections appropriate for handchimes or handbells which will allow you to ring in Spring!

 

All Things Bright and Beautiful  (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Cathy Moklebust
  • Level: Level 1+, Level 2, Level 2+
  • Topic: Christmas, Communion, Easter, General, Lent, Palm Sunday
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Cathy Moklebust’s reproducible collection contains several well-known hymn tune arrangements and original compositions for use during various seasons of the church year. Two of the pieces include instrumental parts. Published in compatible editions for 2-3 and 3-5 octaves, this budget-stretching reproducible collection will be a great addition to the libraries of church handbell choirs. Contents: All Things Bright and Beautiful; All Glory, Laud and Honor; God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens (Brethren, We Have Met to Worship); Calming Peace (Prayer for Kristin); Thee We Adore, O Hidden Savior; Kyrie, Processional on All Glory, Laud and Honor; Now the Green Blade Rises (Sing We Now of Christmas); Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (From the East the Donkey Came)

 

Bells and Keys… More or Less

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Sandra Eithun
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 1.5 – 2 Octaves, Small Ensemble
  • Level: Level 2
  • Topic: General
  • Options: Keyboard
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Tunes: LYONS; DIX; KINGSFOLD; CRUSADERS HYMN: CANDLER; DUKE STREET • General • Contents: O Worship the King; For the Beauty of the Earth; I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (O Sing a Song of Bethlehem); Fairest Lord Jesus (Beautiful Savior); Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown; Jesus Shall Reign • Level 2 • The purpose of this collection is to offer a wide range of performance options when you may have “more or less” ringers and could possibly use a keyboard to add fullness if desired.  These reproducible arrangements have been set for use with or without keyboard and with or without bass clef ringers.  They can be performed with 12 bells in the treble (from C5 – G6), or with the addition of the bass clef for a full 2-octave ensemble sound.  The general hymn titles are perfect for year-round ringing in any concert or worship service.

 

Essential Classics for Two Octaves

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Barbara Baltzer Kinyon, Cynthia Dobrinski, Kerry Boyce, Ruby Shaw Hollis, Susan Geschke
  • Level: Level 1+
  • Topic :Advent, Christmas, Easter, General
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

This 60-page collection includes thirteen of our best-selling arrangements of recent years, all for 2 octave choirs. Levels range from 1+ to 2+. These tried and proven winners come from a variety of composers and arrangers and represent a wide range of styles and are useful throughout the church year. Single copies of these 13 titles exceed the cost of this one book which you can then reproduce for all your ringers!

Song List
  • Simple Gifts
  • Jubilate, Amen
  • Carol of the Bells
  • Thine Is The Glory
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • He Is Born, the Holy Child
  • Come, Thou Almighty King
  • Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  • Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
  • Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
  • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
  • All Creatures of Our God and King

 

Hymns for Three Octaves

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Michael Ryan
  • Level: Level 1
  • Topic: Praise

From arranger Michael Ryan here are eight, solid Level 1 settings of a variety of popular hymns. There are no bell changes and no subdivisions of beats making these settings easy to learn by any size, or level, bell or chime group.

Song List
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
  • Morning Has Broken
  • All Creatures of Our God and King
  • ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
  • In Thee Is Gladness
  • My Life Flows on in Endless Song
  • How Firm a Foundation
  • Day by Day

 

Reproducible Rings II (2 – 3 Octaves)  ( 3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Lloyd Larson
  • Level: Level 2
  • Topic: Easter, Holy Week, Lent, Patriotic, Pentecost, Transfiguration
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Arranged with the volunteer handbell ringer in mind, these eight hymn settings by Lloyd Larson are quickly learned and ready to perform with limited preparation time. Engaging settings of familiar hymn tunes guarantee broad appeal to both ringers and listeners. Includes: Ah, Holy Jesus; All Glory, Laud and Honor; America The Beautiful, Fairest Lord Jesus, I Know That My Redeemer Lives; Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart; The Day of Resurrection and What Wondrous Love Is This

 

All Glory and Praise (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Dan R. Edwards
  • Level: Level 2, Level 2+
  • Topic: Easter, General, Lent, Palm Sunday, Pentecost
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Tune sources: American spiritual; ST. THEODULPH; ELLACOMBE; EASTER HYMN; Jean Sibelius; Camille Saint-Saëns; BROTHER JAMES’ AIR; MORECAMBE • Lent, Palm Sunday, Easter, Pentecost, General • Contents: Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley, Palm Sunday Processional (with All Glory, Laud and Honor and Hosanna, Loud Hosanna); Easter Triumph (incorporating Christ the Lord Is Risen Today); The Lord Is My Shepherd; Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart • Levels 2 and 2+ • Ring in the spring with this collection of seasonal favorites carefully selected to highlight Palm Sunday, Easter, as well as other special Sundays in the spring. The selections will be meaningful additions to worship and can be mastered with minimal rehearsal time. Published in editions for 2 or 3 and for 3, 4 or 5 octaves, the two editions are compatible for massed ringing events.

 

God Reigns, Let Earth Be Glad (2 -3 Octaves) (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Anna Laura Page, Bill Ingram, Cathy Moklebust, Kevin McChesney, Sandra Eithun
  • Level: Level 1, Level 1+, Level 2
  • Topic: General, Lent, Pentecost
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Playable by either handbells or handchimes, this delightful reproducible collection includes accessible hymn arrangements by five outstanding composers. Published in compatible editions for 2 or 3 octaves and for 3, 4 or 5 octaves, the two editions are compatible for festivals and other massed ringing events. The collection will be excellent for developing choirs as well as more experienced groups who need music they can learn quickly.

Tune sources:  CRUSADER’S HYMN; ASSURANCE; TERRA PATRIS; O LAMM GOTTES, UNSCHULDIG; HOLY MANNA

 

Spring Ring! (2 – 3 Octaves) (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Tammy Waldrop
  • Level: Level 1
  • Topic: General, Palm Sunday
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

The reproducible Spring Ring! collection, published in compatible 2-3 and 3-5 octave editions, is a valuable resource of accessible music for general and lenten worship, Palm Sunday, concerts, and festivals.  Titles include: The GatheRing (easily memorized); Amazing Grace (in 4/4 meter); Sweet Hosannas Ring! (a setting of “All Glory, Laud and Honor”); Morning Has Broken (a step-up piece which incorporates Grieg’s “Morning Song”) and Spring Ring! (an original composition full of techniques and fun!) Contents: Amazing Grace; The GatheRing; Morning Has Broken; Spring Ring; Sweet Hosannas Ring

All Creatures Great and Small – Lesson Plans about Animals using Handchimes

Spring is on the way and this time of year welcomes songs about furry and feathered friends.  At ChimeWorks, we have lesson plans that will surely delight your students as they sing and chime along to some new and some familiar tunes while learning how to harmonize a melody or follow the steps to early music reading.

ChimeWorks uses three teaching methods with the folk songs below to implement handchime use in the classroom or singing rehearsal.  With icons, students will develop eye – hand coordination by initially using symbols or colors to introduce music literacy and gradually progressing to score reading.  By using chords indicated by the teacher pointing to a chart, students can easily harmonize their singing.  And finally, with ostinati lessons, harmonic patterns are taught by rote to harmonize the singing and develop more independence when playing.

All of the lessons are available for immediate purchase and digital download for pennies per student.  Only one copy of the lesson is needed for teachers to bring effective music-making and success to the classroom.  Browse our complete store here for other creative and successful lesson plans.

When using these lessons, be sure to check out Malmark’s colored bands to wrap on the handchimes which act as a valuable teaching aid when using colors.

 

 

Lessons using Icons

 B-I-N-G-O

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

B-I-N-G-O is an English language folk song dating back to the late 1700s.

 

Baa, Baa Black Sheep

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Baa, Baa Black Sheep is an English nursery rhymed dating back from 1731.  Its original context is thought to be a complaint on the taxation of wool.

 

The Farmer in the Dell

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: Germany

The Farmer in The Dell is a nursery rhyme and children’s game.  The song originated in Germany and was brought to North America in the late 19th century.

 

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Old MacDonald Had A Farm dates to the early years of the 20th century.

 

Lessons using Chords

 Six Little Ducks

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Chords: 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Six Little Ducks is an English language nursery rhyme and singing game.

 

Ev’ryone But Me

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Chords:3
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Ev’ryone But Me is an American folk song with roots in New England.

 

Go Tell Aunt Rhody

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Chords: 3
  • Language: English
  • Origin: France

Jean-Jacques Rousseau composed the original tune as a gavotte or dance in the mid-1700s.  The tune later traveled through England, Germany to New England where the folk text was added.  Countries around the world use the tune for various folk texts.

 

Old MacDonald

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Chords: 3
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Old MacDonald Had A Farm dates to the early years of the 20th century.  The tune will be familiar and allow the students to focus on chiming.

 

Lessons using Ostinati

The Frogs

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

The Frogs is a traditional campfire song sung by Girl Scouts in North America.

 

Sweetly Sings the Donkey

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Sweetly Sings the Donkey is a traditional song that children love to sing.  Additional verses may be created by adding animals and their sounds.

Ringing in the Resurrection

After the Lenten journey, there is no morning more joyous than Easter!  This is the day that the Lord has made – Choirs, organ, brass, handbells and handchimes – let all rejoice and be glad! ChimeWorks has some classic choices for your ensemble to ring out the message of resurrection on the holiest days of the Christian calendar.  All are available for immediate purchase and digital download.  Click the links below to find them in our store.

 

Jesus Shall Reign (2 – 3 Octaves) (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Cynthia Dobrinski
  • Octaves Used: 2 – 3 Octaves
  • Level: Level 1
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

This joyful rendition of the Duke Street tune employs a careful and judicious use of big chords and techniques. Though easily accessible, “Jesus Shall Reign” is constructed to allow the ringers to sound more expert than Level 1.

 

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Cathy Moklebust
  • Octaves Used: 2 – 3 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2
  • Options: Snare Drum, Tambourine
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Here is a delightfully different piece for Easter. The lively, march-like arrangement of the 13th-century French tune, ORIENTIS PARTIBUS, includes parts for snare drum and tambourine. Techniques used are finger damp, ring touch, and vibrato.

 

Easter Alleluia

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Susan T. Nelson
  • Octaves Used: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2
  • Options: Bb Instrument, Percussion
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Optional use of instruments makes this festive setting of “O Filii Et Fillae” highly versatile. Handchimes enhance the texture, percussion adds excitement, and the solo instrument provides variety.

 

In the Garden

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Cynthia Dobrinski
  • Octaves Used: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2

Cynthia Dobrinski arranges C. Austin Miles’ “In the Garden.” A wonderful setting of the gospel classic.

 

Alleluia!

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Wayne Kerr
  • Octaves Used: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2+
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Alleluia! is a joyous original composition in which both treble and bass ringers share in playing melodic material. With no bell changes, this accessible piece will be an excellent addition to worship services, concerts and festivals.

 

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Barbara Baltzer Kinyon
  • Octaves Used: 2 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2+

A joyous setting of EASTR HYMN.

 

Easter Bells (2 – 3 Octaves) (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Michael Ryan
  • Octaves Used: 2 – 3 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2+
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

The unbridled joy of Easter morning is brilliantly reflected in this ingenious pairing of LASST UNS ERFREUEN (“All Creatures of Our God and King”) and EASTER HYMN (“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”).

 

Easter Hymn

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Patricia Hurlbutt
  • Octaves Used: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 3
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Easter Hymn begins simply, with melody and fragments of it leading to the statement of the tune.  An interlude generates excitement, culminating in a grand and triumphant presentation of the powerful resurrection hymn.

 

Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Dan R. Edwards
  • Octaves Used: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 3
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

This uplifting arrangement of the hymn tune LLANFAIR will keep all ringers actively involved. It features an engaging middle section in which the theme passes through several interesting keys. Techniques include finger damps and LVs.

Handchimes and Holy Week

Lent is here and if you haven’t already made music choices for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, now is the time.  If you own handbells, choosing to ring handchimes on these two holy days may be an effective decision.  Their mellow and ethereal sound will set a tone for your worship.

Here are some pieces that we highly recommend for your consideration.  All of the title are available from ChimeWorks for immediate purchase and digital download.

Maundy Thursday

Humbly, I Adore You

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Shawn Gingrich
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 1+

A classic French melody arranged in an easy-to-ring style for 3-5 octaves. Ideal for an offertory or prelude on a special service.

 

Communion Meditations

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Margaret R. Tucker
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2

This collection of four pieces includes two familiar communion hymn tunes (ADORO TE DEVOTE and EUCHARISTIC HYMN) and two original compositions (O Taste and See and Eat This Bread, Drink This Cup). The original pieces have alternate titles for general use. The four pieces may be played separately or as a group, and each piece has points at which the music may be shortened or repeated.

 

Communion Meditations, Set 2

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Margaret R. Tucker
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2

This collection includes four reflective, variable-length pieces suitable for communion or general use. Three of the pieces are arrangements of “Holy Manna, Picardy” and an old Cornish round, “The Lord is My Shepherd.” The fourth piece, “In Remembrance” (or “Meditation in G Minor”), is an original composition, which also incorporates the optional use of the hymn tune “Martydom”.

 

Gift of Finest Wheat

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Robert E. Kreutz, Sondra K. Tucker
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 2 – 3 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2+

This arrangement of the beloved communion hymn moves gracefully from 4/4 to 3/4 time, providing a good introduction to mixed meter. Ringers should be sure to emphasize the melody, particularly when it appears in the inner voices, and maintain a legato line throughout.

 

Thee We Adore – Collection for Holy Week and Easter

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Cathy Moklebust
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 2 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

These easy arrangements will be ideal for a beginning bell choir. The hymns included are: “Thee We Adore (Adoro Te Devote)”; “Lamb of God, Most Holy (O Lamm Gottes, Unschuldig)”; “Now The Green Blade Rises (Noel Nouvelet)”; and “Christ The Lord is Risen Today (Orientis Partibus)”.

 

Thee We Adore, O Hidden Savior (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Cathy Moklebust
  • Level:Level 1+

Ethereal and delicate, this is a very easy setting of the 17th century French tune “Adoro Te Devote.”

 

O Lamb of God, Most Holy

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Kathleen Wissinger
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 2 – 3 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2-

This gentle 16th-century tune features fermatas. Few parentheses are used for the mostly-chordal melody, played by both treble and bass ringers. All ringers but one encounter at least one easy bell change. Some unison exercises on (1) preparing for bell changes, (2) watching the director for fermatas will help train ringers to play calmly and precisely.

 

Good Friday

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Susan Geschke
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2+

This deeply-moving setting uses rich textures and lush harmonies to mirror the emotion of the text. This prayerful setting is especially effective during Lent, Communion or any time of quiet meditation. Using only legato ringing and an ABA form, this beloved hymn is accessible to virtually all choirs and is certain to become a favorite.

 

In the Shadow of the Cross

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: William E. Moats
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2+

The familiar Lenten hymns Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed and Beneath the Cross of Jesus progress to the final theme of Amazing Grace in this thoughtful medley.

 

Kyrie

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Cathy Moklebust
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 2 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 3

The melody in this original work is hauntingly reflective of the words “Kyrie eleison,” meaning “Lord, have mercy.”

 

What Wondrous Love Is This (2 – 3 Octaves) (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Susan Geschke
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 2 – 3 Octaves
  • Level: Level 1+

Published in two compatible editions, this tender setting of the beloved Appalachian folk song may be played by either handbells or handchimes. With minimal bell changes and easy techniques such as shake and echo, this piece provides an excellent opportunity for expressive, sensitive ringing.

 

He Never Said A Mumbalin’ Word

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Arnold B. Sherman
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 3
  • Origin: African American Spiritual
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

 

Jesus Paid It All

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Alan Lohr
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 3 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2

This simple three-octave arrangement of the well-known gospel hymn by John T. Grape features minimal bell changes and plenty of harmonic interest. The straightforward treatment enables the listener to reflect on the meditative text of the hymn.

 

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Arnold B. Sherman
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2+

A pensive setting of the Hans Leo Hassler chorale.

 

Pie Jesu

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Douglas E. Wagner
  • Octaves Used – Select One: 3 – 5 Octaves
  • Level: Level 2

A beautiful setting from Webber’s Requiem.

Handchimes and Black History Month

 

February 1st is just around the corner and the observance of Black History Month arrives with it.  To celebrate and educate about this rich cultural heritage, a great resource can be found in the African American Spiritual, perhaps the most significant type of American folk song.  By teaching the history, text and tunes of Spirituals we can impart a deeper understanding and awareness of this part of American culture.

Understanding the history of Spirituals and the different types will help those singing and listening have a greater understanding.  An informative synopsis produced by the Library of Congress offers a deeper look into this art form and can be found in the article, African American Spirituals.  We suggest that a brief history and explanation of the type of Spiritual being performed be shared with your students and audience to offer them a greater connection to what is being presented.

Using handchimes, we can introduce Spirituals in a number of ways.  Some of these resources include singing and some do not; either way, we recommend that the text and melody be taught by rote first to insure a deeper understanding of the song and its original use before introducing the handchime parts or score.

The resources below can be found on the ChimeWorks website and are available for immediate purchase and digital download.

Handchimes in the General Music Classroom or Choral Rehearsal 

Kum-Bah-Yah (Chords)

  • Use:Sacred
  • Level:K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Chords:3
  • Topic:Praise, Spiritual
  • Language:English
  • Origin:African American Spiritual

Students will harmonize the song by ringing chords when indicated either by chart or color.

 

Kum-Bah-Yah (Ring & Sing)

  • Use:Sacred
  • Level:3 – 6
  • Topic:Praise, Spiritual
  • Language:English
  • Origin:African American Spiritual

Students will harmonize the song by reading the text and ringing when a word is outlined and damping when it is underscored.

Come by here is the translation of Kum-bah-yah.  This song has been passed down by mouth and has become a favorite of camps and meeting places.  Originally, it was sung by those in need.

 

Michael, Row the Boat Ashore

  • Use:Sacred, Secular
  • Level:K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Type:Chords
  • Chords:3
  • Topic:Spiritual
  • Language:English
  • Origin:America

Students will harmonize the song by ringing chords when indicated either by chart or color.

Michael Row the Boat Ashore is an African American Spiritual first noted during the Civil War.

 

Peace Like a River

  • Use:Sacred, Secular
  • Level:K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Type:Chords
  • Chords:3
  • Topic:Peace, Spiritual
  • Language:English
  • Origin:African American Spiritual

Students will harmonize the song by ringing chords when indicated either by chart or color.

Peace Like A River is an African American Spiritual.  The first three items of the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22) are love, joy, and peace. This spiritual compares the peace of God to a placidly flowing river, the joy of Christ to a merrily bubbling fountain, and the love of God to a deep, wide ocean.

 

From Singing to Ringing

  • Author/Composer/Arranger:Karen Thompson
  • Use:Sacred
  • Octaves Used – Select One:2 – 3 Octaves
  • Level:Level 1, Level 2
  • Topic:General
  • Origin:African American Spiritual
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo:Caution

From Singing to Ringing is a valuable resource for teaching and reinforcing some basic, yet essential, music skills needed to ring handbells. Keeping a steady beat and visually tracking music from beat to beat (and measure to measure) are important skills that handbell ringers must accomplish to be successful. The conventional approach to aid in learning these two skills in a handchime/handbell setting is counting aloud by director and/or ringers. From Singing to Ringing serves the same purpose as counting aloud, but in a more enjoyable and engaging way.  Additionally, rhythms are easier to perform and internalize when sung. If they can sing it, they can ring it!

 

For the Handchime Ensemble

Five Spirituals

  • Author/Composer/Arranger:Bill Ingram
  • Use:Sacred
  • Octaves Used – Select One:2 – 3 Octaves
  • Level:Level 1, Level 1+
  • Topic:General
  • Origin:African American Spiritual
  • Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo:Caution

Bill Ingram continues the popular level one series with five attractive spirituals. One or two move into the level 1+ rating, offering good teaching opportunities while providing satisfying ringing experiences. These will be useful for school, church or concert venues.

 

Morning Songs

  • Author/Composer/Arranger:Bill Ingram
  • Use:Sacred
  • Octaves Used – Select One:2 – 3 Octaves
  • Level:Level 1
  • Topic:General
  • Origin:African American Spiritual, Ireland

Here is a set of three familiar melodies that share the theme of morning. The titles included are “Jesus in the Morning,” “Morning Has Broken,” and “My Lord, What a Morning.” The graduating levels of difficulty of the pieces make this set an ideal selection for the developing ensemble. Since the melodies are familiar, these are excellent teaching pieces to help ringers identify them on the page and work to bring them out when ringing. Because of their versatility, you may find yourself pulling these out every year.

 

Spirituals for Twelve Bells

  • Author/Composer/Arranger:Bill Ingram
  • Use:Sacred, Secular
  • Octaves Used – Select One:12 Note, Small Ensemble
  • Level:Level 2, Level 2+
  • Topic:General, Spiritual
  • Origin:African American Spiritual

As the volume of literature for 12 bells or chimes in F continues to grow, this collection of spirituals will be a welcome addition. The spirituals, listed below, range from lively and bold to reflective and meditative.  With no bell changes (thus no tables needed) there will be many opportunities to use these arrangements.  Contents:  Lord, I Want to Be a Christian; Steal Away; Great Day!; There Is a Balm in Gilead; Every Time I Feel the Spirit

Favorite Handchime Pieces for Lent

Looking for a special piece for Lent that will provide your ringers with a worshipful experience?    At ChimeWorks, we have searched our product store for the most meaningful Lenten pieces that are our favorites.   The recommendations below range from Levels 1 to 3 and include traditional and contemporary classics.  Surely, there is something for everyone on our list!

When choosing repertoire, keep in mind the strengths and weaknesses of your choir such as “chime” changes and complex rhythms, etc.  Also, choose music that they can be prepared comfortably in the amount of rehearsal time involved.  Ringing an easier piece beautifully is more satisfying to the ringer and listener than struggling through a more difficult piece.  If your ringers are relaxed while they ring, they will be able to focus on the message and beauty of the selection.

All of the music below is available for immediate purchase and digital download on the ChimeWorks site:

 

Oh Love, How Deep (3 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Bruce W. Tippette
  • Level: Level 1+

This sturdy hymn tune serves well to set the tone for worship during the Lenten season. It opens with a simple statement of the melody and slowly evolves into an expanded voicing of the original hymn, utilizing LV arpeggios across the ensemble between verses.

 

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Ludwig Van Beethoven arr. Linda R. Lamb
  • Level: Level 1+

Linda Lamb has combined portions of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” with the hymn tune EBENEZER to create this charming Level 1+ piece. The tune EBENEZER is associated with a variety of other hymn texts including “Once to Every Man and Nation.”

 

What Wondrous Love Is This (2 – 3 Octaves)   (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Susan Geschke
  • Level: Level 1+

This tender setting of the beloved Appalachian folk song may be played by either handbells or handchimes. With minimal bell changes and easy techniques such as shake and echo, this piece provides an excellent opportunity for expressive, sensitive ringing. This arrangement is especially effective during Lent and Holy Week or any time of quiet meditation.

 

Sheep May Safely Graze (2 – 3 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: J. S. Bach arr. Sharon Elery Rogers
  • Level: Level 2-

This gently flowing music is based on one of Bach’s most beautiful, haunting tunes. It is often heard as a choral anthem or a vocal or organ solo. With the constant ringing of solid chords building to a crescendo in the middle section, the use of a few techniques such as TD, mallets, or SK (with vibrato when rung by handchimes) are sprinkled throughout to reach a forte climax. The piece then closes with a more subdued ending.

 

Lamb of God with There Is a Redeemer (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/ArrangerMelody Green, Twila Paris arr. Peggy Bettcher
  • Level: Level 2

Two contemporary classics are set together beautifully in this arrangement.

 

My Jesus, I Love Thee (3 – 6 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Brenda Austin
  • Level: Level 2

Brenda Austin gives us a heartfelt and expressive arrangement of the beloved 19th century hymn. A straight-forward setting of the hymn serves as a contrasting middle section.

 

Pie Jesu (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Andrew Lloyd Webber arr. Douglas E. Wagner
  • Level: Level 2

This beautiful setting from Webber’s Requiem will be a favorite for your ringers and audience.  It is perfect for beginning ringers as it has no “bell” changes.

 

Nearer, My God to Thee (3 – 5 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: Susan Geschke
  • Level:  2

Rising like a gentle prayer, this expressive setting of an old favorite is fresh and memorable. Lush legato ringing creates an elegant beauty that will linger in listeners’ hearts long after the final notes fade away.

 

My Song Is Love Unknown (3 – 7 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger: John Ireland arr. Cathy Moklebust
  • Level: Level 2+
  • Options: Oboe or other C Instrument

This arrangement of English composer John Ireland’s tune LOVE UNKNOWN has been enhanced with an original melody and an optional oboe counter melody.  A minor key in the second verse creates a solemn mood befitting the passion of Jesus. The final verse is triumphant, and features a soaring oboe descant.

 

Walking with Jesus (3 – 6 Octaves)

  • Author/Composer/Arranger:  H. Dean Wagner
  • Level: Level 3

“Walking with Jesus” combines three hymns: “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” (SOJOURNER), “O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee” (MARYTON) and “Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown” (CANDLER.) This meaningful arrangement takes us on a journey of faith with our Savior through the valleys and mountains of life, and ends in the serene peace of heaven.

Budget-friendly Ringing Collections for Lent and Easter

Lent is right around the corner and if you haven’t begun to plan, now is the time! It’s always fun to shop for music at the beginning of a new budget year as you are not feeling the pressure of eliminating your resources. One smart way of stretching your budget dollars throughout the year is to purchase collections which offer a variety of music bundled together at a discounted price.

With the thought of Lent, Holy Week and Easter happening over the next three months, we offer the considerations below to get you through this holy time. Many of the resources suggested require one copy to be purchased with unlimited photocopying for your organization’s use. For those collections that require a minimum purchase of five, the understanding is that you will order as many copies as you plan to use for your ensemble. For example, a three octave choir with 11 ringers often uses 7 copies – one for the director and the other 6 copies in binders shared by ringers. Licenses are non-transferrable.

All of the suggestions below are available for immediate purchase and digital download on the ChimeWorks site. No waiting and no shipping charges!

 

All Glory and Praise (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)
• Author/Composer/Arranger: Dan R. Edwards
• Level: Level 2, Level 2+
• Topic: Easter, General, Lent, Palm Sunday, Pentecost
• Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Tune sources: American spiritual; ST. THEODULPH; ELLACOMBE; EASTER HYMN; Jean Sibelius; Camille Saint-Saëns; BROTHER JAMES’ AIR; MORECAMBE • Contents: Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley, Palm Sunday Processional (with All Glory, Laud and Honor and Hosanna, Loud Hosanna); Easter Triumph (incorporating Christ the Lord Is Risen Today); The Lord Is My Shepherd; Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart • Levels 2 and 2+ • Ring in the spring with this collection of seasonal favorites carefully selected to highlight Palm Sunday, Easter, as well as other special Sundays in the spring. The selections will be meaningful additions to worship, and can be mastered with minimal rehearsal time.

 

All Things Bright and Beautiful (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)
• Author/Composer/Arranger: Cathy Moklebust
• Level: Level 1+, Level 2, Level 2+
• Topic: Christmas, Communion, Easter, General, Lent, Palm Sunday
• Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Cathy Moklebust’s reproducible collection contains several well-known hymn tune arrangements and original compositions for use during various seasons of the church year. Two of the pieces include instrumental parts. Published in compatible editions for 2-3 and 3-5 octaves, this budget-stretching reproducible collection will be a great addition to the libraries of church handbell choirs. Contents: All Things Bright and Beautiful; All Glory, Laud and Honor; God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens (Brethren, We Have Met to Worship); Calming Peace (Prayer for Kristin); Thee We Adore, O Hidden Savior; Kyrie, Processional on All Glory, Laud and Honor; Now the Green Blade Rises (Sing We Now of Christmas); Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (From the East the Donkey Came)

 

God Reigns, Let Earth Be Glad (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)

• Author/Composer/Arranger: Anna Laura Page, Bill Ingram, Cathy Moklebust, Kevin McChesney, Sandra Eithun
• Level: Level 1, Level 1+, Level 2
• Topic: General, Lent, Pentecost
• Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

The collection will be excellent for developing choirs as well as more experienced groups who need music they can learn quickly. Includes: Fairest Lord Jesus; Blessed Assurance; This Is My Father’s World; Lamb of God, Most Holy and Christians, We Have Met to Worship (Holy Spirit, Ever Dwelling
Tune sources: CRUSADER’S HYMN; ASSURANCE; TERRA PATRIS; O LAMM GOTTES, UNSCHULDIG; HOLY MANNA

 

Keep It Simple 2 (2 Octaves)  (3 Octaves)

• Author/Composer/Arranger: Lloyd Larson
• Level: Level 1
• Topic: General, Lent, Praise, Transfiguration
• Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

Lloyd Larson’s successful series Keep It Simple was created with the beginning choir in mind, these are readily accessible arrangements now available in both a new 2-octave version, and a 3-octave version. Full, lush and dynamic chords characterize these carol and hymn settings. Each selection is ideal for lesser experienced groups as well as ensembles needing to prepare selections with limited preparation time.

 

Ring and Sing the Seasons (3 Octaves)

• Author/Composer/Arranger: Karen Lakey Buckwalter
• Octaves Used – Select One: 3 Octaves
• Level: Level 1, Level 1+
• Topic: Christmas, Easter, General, Lent, Palm Sunday
• Options: Voice

Ring and Sing the Seasons is a reproducible collection comprised of both seasonal and general use hymn arrangements. The arrangements feature very simple rhythms and chords for handbells or handchimes, and unison vocal parts. Also included is an original processional, composed of layered ostinato patterns, with alternate texts for General, Christmas, Palm Sunday and Easter use. In her preface, Karen Lakey Buckwalter writes, “Having served 38 years in full time music ministry, I realized some of the most joyful moments were convincing choirs of all ages that they could ring and sing simultaneously.” One also has the option of having a soloist or vocal choir sing the hymn tune accompanied by the handbell or handchime choir. Separate vocal pages are included for the convenience of non-ringing singers. Contents: The Bells of Christmas; Christians, We Have Met to Worship; God, Who Made the Earth and Heaven; He Is Born; I Want Jesus to Walk with Me; Processional; That Easter Day with Joy Was Bright; This Is My Father’s World

 

Ring Around the Year (3 – 5 Octaves)

• Author/Composer/Arranger: Anna Laura Page, Cathy Moklebust, Kevin McChesney, Margaret R. Tucker, Sondra K. Tucker, Susan Geschke, Valerie W. Stephenson
• Level: Level 2
• Topic: Advent, All Saints/All Souls, Baptism, Christmas, Easter, General, Lent, Palm Sunday, Pentecost, Thanksgiving
• Use Caution with Techniques and/or Tempo: Caution

“Ring Around the Year” provides wonderful handchime music for use throughout the year. Most of the pieces are also suitable for general, non-seasonal use. The seven titles in this collection are written for 3, 4, or 5 octaves. This reproducible collection is designed to meet the needs of handchime choirs by helping to stretch their music budgets. With the purchase of this collection, the original purchasing organization (church, school, or community ensemble) is granted permission to make copies as needed for their ringers.

 

Reproducible Rings II

(2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)

• Author/Composer/Arranger: Lloyd Larson
• Level: Level 2
• Topic: Easter, Holy Week, Lent, Patriotic, Pentecost, Transfiguration

Arranged with the volunteer handbell ringer in mind, these eight hymn settings by Lloyd Larson are quickly learned and ready to perform with limited preparation time. Engaging settings of familiar hymn tunes guarantee broad appeal to both ringers and listeners. Includes: Ah, Holy Jesus; All Glory, Laud and Honor; America The Beautiful, Fairest Lord Jesus, I Know That My Redeemer Lives; Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart; The Day of Resurrection and What Wondrous Love Is This