Triumphant and upbeat, Sandra Eithun’s setting of “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” has limited bell changes and few rhythmic challenges, making it easy to prepare for developing ensembles. The LV passages, martellato, and varied dynamics add interest for the listener and help to encourage musicality in the ringers.
Celebrate the coming of the Magi and the Epiphany season by joining in fellowship through music. As you prepare for the season, consider adding these pieces to your repertoire for your Sunday services.
Jonathan D. Campbell has arranged a medley, or three hymn tunes, associated with Christ the Good Shepherd, including BROTHER JAMES’ AIR, BRADBURY, and RESIGNATION. Arranged with accessibility in mind, the setting is scored for two-octave handbells. Several meter and tempo changes provide variety and contrast, while the optional addition of handchimes adds to the gentle nature of the piece. Level II.
Sandra Eithun has composed dozens of handbell and piano compositions for CPH Music, most recently “Four Communion Hymns for Twelve Bells.” This collection continues a series of handbell music written for twelve bells, joining books with Advent, Christmas, and Easter themes. She also serves as the Director of Music Ministry at First Congregational United Church of Christ in New London, Wisconsin, a position she’s held since 1992. She is the organist for the congregation, accompanies the vocal choir, and directs three handbell ensembles.
“Let All Things Now Living” gets a lively calypso setting in this arrangement, which expresses the excitement of the text. A more tranquil, hymn-like second stanza leads back to a dance-like ending. The tune THE ASH GROVE is used with many texts, including “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing,” making this a useful arrangement throughout the Church Year. Level II.
If you are a church musician, especially a handbell ringer, the last time you practiced was likely months ago. Or maybe your church is slowly allowing ringers and choirs to play again, albeit under irregular circumstances.
Handbells are a beautiful addition to any Sunday worship service. “Built on the Rock” by Hart Morris gives your handbell and handchime group a challenging yet stunning piece for your congregation to listen to, with a triumphant conclusion of praise to the Savior.
John A. Behnke has transcribed his popular organ prelude of the tune WEM IN LEIDENSTAGEN to an accessible arrangement for level II handbells. Based on three stanzas of the hymn, the first section is musically straightforward, the second has new harmonies, and the third uses descanting notes and grand harmony. Scored for 3–5 octave handbells and optional 3 octave handchimes.
While handbells are a relatively easy instrument to learn, they still offer complexity and much variety in sound. Even those who have played in handbell choirs for a long time will enjoy learning new skills and honing current ones. Here are seven techniques from Successful Ringing Step by Step by John A. Behnke that will help ringers have fun and get a variety of sounds out of the bells.
Pentecost is a long and wonderful season when we focus on how God grows His Church through His Word. This is a time when our music selections can reflect biblical themes—such as peace, baptism, hope and comfort, or missions—rather than specific holidays. Here are some music selections your church can use during the season after Pentecost.