Music of the Month: The Good Shepherd by Jonathan D. Campbell

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.

Music of the Month: Go to Dark Gethsemane

Mitchell Eithun provides a plaintive arrangement of the tune GETHSEMANE. Based on the first three stanzas of the hymn, Eithun’s portrayal of the hymn’s narrative includes phrases of the text throughout the score. This level II piece cleverly ends with an unfinished feel, adding to the anticipation of Easter dawn. 

Composer of the Month: Sandra Eithun

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. 

Music of the Month: Let All Things Now Living

“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.

Handbell Guidelines for Sundays in a Pandemic

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.

Music of the Month: Built on the Rock

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. 

Music of the Month: Glory Be to Jesus

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. 

7 Handbell Techniques for Unique Sounds

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.

Music for the Season after Pentecost

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.

Building Rapport with Musicians at Your Church

This post is adapted from A Novice’s Guide to Directing the Church Choir by Kenneth T. Kosche. Though written specifically for choirs, the suggestions can apply to any church ensemble.

Rapport is one of those relational terms that most easily defines itself by its presence or absence. How well you get along with your choir and they with you is a measure of your rapport. There are no surefire solutions that will work for everyone to establish rapport, though there are some points of advice to offer.

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