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+

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

 

Illuminating Music for Epiphany

It’s difficult to think past Christmas right now but, it is time to prepare for the 5+ weeks before Ash Wednesday on February 14th.  January 6th begins the season of Epiphany just 12 days after Christmas.  Themes for the season are the visit of the Magi, the Baptism of Jesus, the Miracle at Cana and Christ as the Light of the World.  The latter can also be seen as a revelation of Jesus to the world.

When we think Epiphany, we often refer to the Three Kings’ Day.  However, the season has so much more meaning and we can reflect that in the music that we choose for Worship.

 

We’ve compiled a list of titles that will help bring more meaning to this glorious season.  All of which are available for immediate purchase and digital download from the ChimeWorks website:

 

What Star Is This with Beams So Bright – arr. Cathy Moklebust

L1  2 – 3 Octaves or 3 – 5 Octaves

 

A happy, light setting of PUER NOBIS, also subtitled On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry, and That Easter Day with Joy Was Bright, is appropriate for Easter, Advent, or Epiphany. TD, LV, and RT are used.  Learn it now and ring it in April, too!

 

We Three Kings – arr. Valerie Stephenson

L1  2 – 3 Octaves or 3 – 5 Octaves

 

This familiar piece has no more rhythmic difficulty than quarter notes, but it offers some unique challenges. With its dynamic changes, shading and shaping the musical line, ringers can work to develop expressive and musical ringing. Techniques include finger damping and swings.

 

When Morning Gilds the Skies – arr. Karen Roth

L1+  2 – 3 Octaves or 3 – 5 Octaves

 

This setting of the well-known hymn offers excellent opportunities for expressive, musical ringing. It presents ringers with a chance to experience LVs and sensitive, musical ringing of a lovely arrangement.

 

What Star Is This That Beams So Bright – arr. Barbara B. Kinyon

L2-   2 Octaves

 

An easy setting of the tune, PUER NOBIS. May also be used during the Easter season as That Easter Day with Joy Was Bright.

 

One Star – Cheryl J. Rogers/Derek Hakes

L2   3 – 5 Octaves

 

Based on a choral anthem by Cheryl Jones Rogers (CGA460), this handbell transcription effectively captures the beauty and mystery of the original lyrics and music. This flexible piece includes an option for the anthem text to be spoken by a narrator, or, if desired, the bell piece may be used to accompany the singing of the anthem by a vocal soloist or choir.

 

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light – arr. Cathy Moklebust

L2  2 – 3 Octaves or 3 – 5 Octaves with optional C or Bb instrument

 

Kathleen Thomerson’s popular hymn tune HOUSTON has been treated simply and delicately with minimal bell changes and techniques, making this a very accessible arrangement.  A short original melody comprises the introduction, interludes, and ending.  In the second stanza, the upper treble bells/chimes are played with mallets, while the hymn tune is played by the lower treble and bass.  The optional C or Bb instrument makes a lovely addition.

 

Thy Holy Wings – arr. Cathy Moklebust

L2  3- 5 Octaves

 

“Thy Holy Wings” is a delicate, flowing arrangement of the Swedish folk tune BRED DINA VIDA VINGER. It opens and closes with an original melody. The piece is appropriate for services of baptism or confirmation or for themes of guidance, healing, and comfort.

 

I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry – John Ylvisaker/Martha Lynn Thompson

L2  3 – 6 Octaves

 

The ethereal opening and closing motifs, played on randomly-malleted suspended chimes, suggest the mystery surrounding the beginning and ending of life. The music of the stanzas depicts the various stages of life as described in the hymn text.  Mirroring the opening section, the piece grows softer until the final malleted chord. An optional hymn page for vocal soloist is included. If desired, the hymn text may be read by a narrator, beginning each stanza at the places indicated within the score.

 

Children of the Heavenly Father – arr. Cathy Moklebust

L2  3 – 5 Octaves

 

Now in an expanded version, this short, simple arrangement of the beloved Swedish tune, TRYGGARE KAN INGEN VARA, is delicate and lovely. Appropriate for baptism, confirmation, or any time a musical focus on children is desired.

 

We Three Kings – Sondra Tucker

L3  3 – 5 Octaves

 

This ebullient setting of “We Three Kings” evokes the pilgrimage of the Wise Men through the desert.  Judicious use of thumb-damp keeps the texture light.

Strike a Chord and Join the Chorus – Easy Christmas Lesson Plans

 

Bring some cheer to your class, singing choir rehearsal or Christmas party with these simple carol activities from ChimeWorks.  Using chords or ostinati with handchimes or handbells, our easy to learn harmonizations will put your musicians in the Christmas spirit and have them wanting more throughout the year!

 

Jingle Bells II

Surprise your pre-readers by working on eye-hand coordination with icons and delight them when they ring their beloved carol, Jingle Bells!

 

Pat-a-pan

Ostinati create a delightful accompaniment to Pat-a-pan, a French Christmas carol written by Bernard de la Monnoye (1641-1728) who collected folk songs of Burgundian dialect.  The carol tells of the birth of Christ from the perspective of the shepherds with the text reflecting the sound of the drum – pat-a-pan and of the flute – tu-re-lu-re-lu.

 

Sing Noel!

Go global and celebrate the season with this rhythmic Christmas carol from Liberia using only three chords for harmonic foundation.

 

Joy to the World

A great addition for any social activity during the holidays – distribute the song sheets with handchimes or handbells.  When a word is boxed, the pitch is rung and when it is underscored, the pitch is damped.  Sing in perfect harmony!

 

Christmas Round

Ostinati make this simple, two-part canon sparkle! God Bless All is a Christmas canon that has been sung throughout the centuries.  It’s origin is unknown.

 

Jingle Bells

Three chords chime in Jingle Bells, one of the best known and loved American Christmas carol written in the 1850’s in Massachusetts.

 

Christ Was Born on Christmas Day

Using four chords, harmonize the tune, RESONET IN LAUDIBUS, which dates from the 14th century and was used throughout Europe through the centuries.  The translation below by John Mason Neale is based upon Piae Cantiones, the Swedish collection published in 1582.  Christus natus hodie translates to Christ is born today!

 

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas’ text comes from Jon Mason Neale written in 1853.  It is combined with a 13th century tune, Tempus Adest Floridum, a spring-time tune taken from the collection, Piae Cantiones.  The text tells the story of a Czech king, St. Wenceslas, who travels on a winter journey on the feast of St. Stephen to give alms to the poor.  Four chords harmonize this carol beautifully.

 

Angels We Have Heard on High

Perfect for older students and adults, this lesson uses five chords to harmonize the melody.  Angels We Have Heard On High is a French Christmas carol by an unknown text writer and is based on the Gospel of Luke.  It was translated into English during the mid-19th century and gained popularity.  The tune, GLORIA, was arranged by Edward Shippen Barnes.

 

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Using seven chords, harmonize this holiday favorite! We Wish You A Merry Christmas is a traditional English carol celebrating the tradition of giving carolers rewards for singing at one’s door.

 

The above lesson plans are on the ChimeWorks website and available at the low price of $2.29 for immediate purchase and digital download.  If you’re not already a member, log on for your FREE two-week trial today!

Ring It Now and Ring It Later

As you choose music for Advent and Christmas, consider picking a tune that you might also use later in the year making it appropriate for the liturgical season by merely changing the title.  Allowing this freedom, opens up a new resource to you in strengthening your ensemble.

Mastering a piece that is multi-seasonal helps in a number of ways:

  • If you struggle with rehearsal attendance, this will pare down the time spent on learning notes and allow you and your ringers to focus on musicality.
  • Newer ringers may enjoy the opportunity of playing the piece with more confidence the second time leading to a more worshipful experience.
  • This will benefit your music budget. Who doesn’t love stretching the dollar!

Below are suggestions of titles from ChimeWorks.  All of these titles are written for handbells but are specifically recommended because they work well for handchime ensembles, too.  The titles in bold are as they are published under Handchime Ensembles where they are available for immediate purchase and digital download.

 

Tune:  Puer Nobis

Advent:  On Jordan’s Bank, the Baptist’s Cry

Epiphany:  What Star Is This, With Beams So Bright

Easter:  That Easter Day With Joy Was Bright  (L1)  2 – 3 Octaves  3 – 5 Octaves

 

Tune:  Noël Nouvelet

Christmas:  Sing We Now of Christmas

Easter:  Now The Green Blade Rises

General:  Variations On A French Carol (L2)  2 Octaves with Percussion

 

Tune:  Hyfrydol

General:  Meditation on Hyfrydol  (L3)  3 Octaves

Advent:  Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Easter:  Alleluia! Sing To Jesus

General: Love Divine, All Love Excelling

 

Tune:  Morning Song or Consolation

Advent:  The King Shall Come  (L2)  2 – 3 Octaves  3 – 5 Octaves

Thanksgiving:  Give Thanks To God Who Hears Our Cry

Morning or Thanksgiving:  Awake, Awake To Love And Work

 

Tune:  Prospect

Christmas:  The Hills Are Bare At Bethlehem

Pentecost:  The Lone, Wild Bird  (L3)  3 – 5 Octaves with C instrument

 

Tune:  Duke Street

Ascension:  Jesus Shall Reign (L1)  2 – 3 Octaves  3 – 5 Octaves  2 – 5 Octaves

Easter:  I Know That My Redeemer Lives

General:  Prelude on Duke Street

General (Trust):  Fight The Good Fight

General:  From All That Dwell Below The Skies

 

Tune:  Afton Water

General:  As Rain From The Clouds (L2)  3 – 5 Octaves with optional harp

Christmas:  Away In A Manger

Christmas: All Wrapped-up in One Collection

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and probably the most important season for ringing choirs – Christmas!  Get ready for the holiday with these budget-friendly collections below that work well for handchime or handbell choirs.

Not only do these collections offer a variety of music to carry you throughout Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, they are a great resource for all directors to have available for developing choirs as well as for more experienced groups needing music they can learn quickly.  Starting at Level 1 through Level 2+, these collections will allow you to be ready for Worship or Concert.  All of the resources can be found on the ChimeWorks website and are available for immediate purchase and digital download.

Come and Adore

2 – 3 Octaves, 3 – 5 Octaves

Levels 1 and 1+ This charming collection features easy Advent and Christmas arrangements playable on either handbells or handchimes.  Contents:  Ave Maria; Gentle Mary Laid Her Child (Good King Wenceslas); Go, Tell it on the Mountain; God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen; Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head; Long Ago, Prophets Knew (On This Day Earth Shall Ring); Once in Royal David’s City

 

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day

2 – 3 Octaves, 3 – 5 Octaves

Level 2   I Heard the Bells is a collection of seven settings appropriate for Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas and Epiphany including We Gather Together, Prepare the Royal Highway, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Silent Night, Joy to the World, On This Day Earth Shall Ring and We Three Kings.

 

Celebrate the Season

2 – 3 Octaves, 3 – 5 Octaves

Level 2 with optional percussion    Go easy on your music budget with this collection for Advent and Christmas which includes eight of Cathy Moklebust’s most popular arrangements for the season: Away in a Manger; Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus; Infant Holy, Infant Lowly; Rejoice! Rejoice! (Rejoice, Rejoice Believers and Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel); Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow (There’s a Star in the East); Still, Still, Still; ‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime; What Is This Lovely Fragrance?

 

Glad Tidings Ring

3 – 5 Octaves

Levels 2 and 2+   Glad Tidings Ring is a compilation of favorite Advent and Christmas arrangements. This budget-stretching collection features a wonderful variety of seasonal arrangements by six outstanding arrangers: Cynthia Dobrinski; Sandra Eithun; Linda R. Lamb; Kevin McChesney; Anna Laura Page and Margaret R. Tucker.  Titles include:  Earth Shall Ring; He Is Born; Lo! How a Rose; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers and Sussex Carol.