Classes & Instructors
Reading Sessions (Various Leaders)
Advent/Christmas L 1-2, Advent/Christmas L 3-6
Lent/Easter L 3-6, Lent/Easter L 1-2
Beginning Weaving (Beth Ann Edwards)
Tackle those nasty accidentals and multiple-bell passages by learning and mastering the three-bell weave! Bring your gloves, questions about massed and divisional music, and leave with the ability to easily play even the hardest part of any piece in the battery.
Beginning Treble (Nancy Dreier)
Learn or re-learn the basics from C6 and up. Gaining confidence with shelley and 4-in-hand ringing can enhance the musical result for your choir and can make you a more versatile ringer. Arrive with gloves and leave with dazzling treble skill!
Beginning Bass (Daniel Bogle)
Learn and master safe techniques for lifting, ringing, damping, and putting down bass handbells. For the purposes of this class, “bass bells” refers to instruments below C4. Bring your gloves and leave with the confidence to sling those buckets!
Ensemble Skills 1 (Cheri Leigh)
Learn tips and tricks for ringing a full complement of bells with less than a full choir. Ensemble ringing can be a special, difficult, challenging, diverting, and musically satisfying experience. Learn from one who has done and still does ensemble ringing and bring your ideas and questions.
Auditions: Boon or Bane? (Nancy Youngman)
When it’s time to audition your ensemble, it is possible to foresee great new advancements, and terrible consequences. Talk through ideas and learn from past successes with an experienced director of an auditioned community handbell choir who also works in church and school settings. Bring your questions, concerns, suggestions, success stories, tales of woe, and be ready for a lively discussion.
Bell Trees (Nancy Dreier)
Learn techniques for assembling and ringing bell trees. Several musical examples will be shown, and several pieces will be used in demonstration.
Sight Reading Tips and Tools (Sara Washington)
Is there a groan in the rehearsal when a new piece of music is being distributed? Turn that despair or panic into a more successful experience by taking a couple of minutes to figure out the puzzle. Developing a simple routine to approach a new piece, for both the conductor and the ringers, will help in learning pieces more easily and faster, and maybe replace that groan with a “yeah!”
From C to C – Skills Toolkit for C5 to C7 (Sharon Schmidt)
Ring healthy with aural and visual factors beneficial to the ringer and listener. Explore ringing skills tools such as multiple bell techniques, malleting tips, and damping options which will augment the battery/treble ringer’s skill set, increase your ingenuity, and leave low bass bell ringers in awe!
Ringing More Musically (Ed Rollins)
Conductors often ask for things, and ringers often try to deliver. Here are several reliable methods for making the musical product come alive for your audience, and your musicians. Bring your gloves and leave with dozens of ideas to turn your next performance into your best performance.
The Difference Between a Good Ringer and a Great Ringer is a PENCIL! (Lori Fenton)
Mark it! How many directors have said that, and how many ringers have done that? Has it really made a difference? Perhaps we need a codified way to mark handbell music that is transferable from person to person, piece to piece, and ensemble to ensemble. Come learn a system of marking bell changes, choreography, and more that will change the way you approach a handbell rehearsal.
Reading Sessions (Various Leaders)
Original Compositions L 1-2, Original Compositions L 3-6
Behnke, Delancey, Guebert, Hanson, 2-3 Octave Music ONLY
Ensemble Skills 2 (Sharon Schmidt)
Take the next step in ensemble ringing with hands-on experience in weaving, displacement, passing to your neighbor and problem solving. We’ll also talk about adapting other music for ensembles, assigning, and polishing your performance. Prerequisite: Ensemble Skills 1 or experience with assignments of 3 or more bells requiring table damping.
Advanced Treble (Nancy Dreier)
Ringers who attend this class should already be confident with shelley and 4-i-h and be ready to try 6-i-h, traveling 4-i-h, and advanced assignment techniques to enhance musical performance and accuracy in the upper 5th, 6th, and 7th octaves.
Music Theory (Nancy Youngman)
Music Theory is the study of how to make your ear “see the music,” and your eye “hear the music.” Attendees who select this class will be sent an interest and experience poll so the session can be tailored to those present. We might learn basic rhythms, and we might calculate a matrix – it’s all designed for YOU!
Know Thyself! (Lori Fenton)
Learn to use a personality framework called “The Four Tendencies” to know yourself better and to be more productive, and effectively develop habits. This framework can also be helpful to understand the tendency of those around you so that you can effectively communicate with and motivate them.
Resonating Online (Laura Kopff)
Beyond Facebook and Twitter! Learn new tactics to get the word out to the world about your awesome handbell program. Bring an internet connected device so you can practice what is preached by our Area 8 Communications gurus!
Composing and Arranging for Handbells (Chris Peck)
You can learn how to compose and arrange music for our unique instrument with all of its unique timbres. We’ll discuss how to get permission to arrange and deal with publishers and make a short arrangement of a popular tune.
Handbells in Worship (Ed Rollins)
When we worship, we express reverence and adoration, we pray and we listen, we learn, we give, and we hopefully go out and tell others. Find new and creative as well as tried and true ways to make handbells an important part of a worship experience.
Stopped Techniques (Linda Lunt)
Pluck, mart, mallet, thumb damp, hand damp? How, why, when, where, and why you should become a master of every stopped sound for handbells.
Advanced Bass (Daniel Bogle)
Ringers who attend this class should feel confident playing instruments C3-B3 and be interested in techniques for improving the visual presentation, musical success, and overall confidence of the “heavy metal” section. Bring your gloves and any bell you might have in the lower 6th or 7th octave.
David Bogle, who is in his third year with CHE, has twelve years of handbell ringing experience in church and community groups. He first learned to ring from his much more attractive half, who can be found playing the much smaller bells. Together, they have the privilege of being parents to their one-year-old daughter, Berlin. Daniel is a proud alumnus of Missouri State University where he received both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Public Administration. He is currently a special projects coordinator with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Beginning Bass, Advanced Bass
Nancy Dreier has been ringing with CHE since the fall of 1996 except for just one semester. She enjoys being a part of this talented group, the challenging music, and the friendships made. Nancy directs handbell choirs at Community Methodist and Broadway Christian Churches, teaches piano in her home studio, and is the staff accompanist for Mexico High School choirs. She accompanies student soloists in the mid-MO area and recently kept busy being substitute pianist at several Columbia churches. Nancy especially enjoys being “Grandma” to Baylor (4 1/2), Isabel (3), and Emerson (1). Beginning Treble, Advanced Treble, Bell Trees
Beth Ann Edwards, Past Chair, serves as Director of Arts, Handbells, and Youth Choirs at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa, where she directs four handbell choirs and a children’s vocal choir, oversees all arts programming, and assists with worship planning. She holds a Master of Church Music degree with Handbell Emphasis, a degree in secondary English education, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual art, and a Master of Business Administration.
Her ringing career began 30 years ago in a church handbell choir. For the past 20 years she has attended advanced ringing events including Bay View Week of Handbells and Distinctly Bronze, and currently rings and directs in the community handbell ensemble, Des Moines Concert Handbells. Beth Ann has directed all ages and levels of handbell ringers since 1999. The education and networking opportunities provided by Handbell Musicians of America have been instrumental in her development as a ringer and director and led her to attend graduate school at Concordia University Wisconsin where she studied with Dr. John Behnke. She has made life-long friendships through handbell ringing and has learned first-hand how membership in a handbell choir can change lives.
Beth Ann has been Area 8 Chair, Membership Chair, and newsletter editor. She serves on the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar committee and chairs the Donald E. Allured Original Composition Award committee. She has held several appointed and elected positions in community and civic organizations including Des Moines Choral Society, Arts in the City, and Junior League. Beth Ann is married and has three grown children and four grandchildren. She balances her music activities with painting in her studio, travel, knitting, and reading. Beginning Weaving, Reading Session – Original Compositions L 1-2
Lori Fenton, Treasurer, started ringing handbells over 35 years ago at her church. She currently rings with the Des Moines Concert Handbells as well as her church bell choir. In true bell-addict fashion, she has participated in several national ringing events over the past 15+ years including the Bay View Week of Handbells, Distinctly Bronze East and West, and Virtuoso, an advanced ringing event sponsored by the Raleigh Ringers. She toured Italy with Desert Bells and attended the International Symposium in Vancouver in 2016. Lori is also a vocalist and sings with numerous groups in Des Moines including the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble, Des Moines Community Orchestra and her church choirs.
Lori is currently serving as the Vice President for the Des Moines Concert Handbells and previously served as Treasurer and President for the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble. She co-chaired her company’s United Way Campaign for two years. Her day job is as a Finance AVP with Global Atlantic Life & Annuity in Des Moines. In addition to handbells, she is addicted to all things Disney, wine, and cats, currently sharing her home with five of them, all named after composers. The Difference Between a Good Ringer and a Great Ringer is a PENCIL!, Know Thyself!
Patrick Gagnon, Education Chair, is a music educator dedicated to the development of the tuneful person. He is a K-5 Vocal Music Specialist and HS Vocal Music director for the Eldora-New Providence CSD and is Director of Music Ministries at Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames, Iowa. Patrick has done music direction for productions many musicals for the Department of Music and Theater at Iowa State University.
He has served Handbell Musicians of America in numerous capacities as a board member both in Area 1 and Area 8 and as a member of the HMA Education Resource Task Force. While living in Boston, he served as Massachusetts Chair, Adult Weekend Chair, Directors’ Seminar Co-Chair, Festival/Conference 2009 Chair, and finally Chair-Elect of HMA Area 1. Patrick was a founding member and later associate director of Back Bay Ringers and was a member of Merrimack Valley Ringers. Since moving to Iowa, he has served Area 8 as Iowa Chair and has served the six-year sequence on the Area 8 Executive Committee as Chair-Elect, Chair, and Past Chair, including serving as Chair for the 2016 Festival/Conference.
He was a member and director of the North Central Iowa Handbell Ensemble and is a founding ringer and director of Des Moines Concert Handbells. Patrick and his wife Jodi live in Hubbard, Iowa. Reading Session – 2-3 Octaves ONLY
Laura Kopff, Events Coordinator, was introduced to handbells in high school and came back to ringing while completing her Ph.D. in Chemistry at UW-Madison as a “fun way to relax.” She is a member of The Agape Ringers, a community handbell ensemble in the Chicago area, and is the Events Coordinator for Area 8. By day, Laura teaches chemistry at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, and, when not busy with bells, enjoys baking, being crafty, and playing board games with her cats. Resonating Online
Linda Lunt, Communications, has been ringing handbells since 1998 and has been a member of The Agape Ringers since 2007. She is the Handbell Director at Bethel UCC in Elmhurst, where she also teaches preschool music. Linda has a degree in computer science and worked at IBM, where she met her husband, Jack. She enjoys reading, movies, and spending time with family and friends. Stopped Techniques
Cheri Leigh is the director of the handbell choir at St. John’s UMC, Kansas City, MO. She has been playing handbells for around twenty years. Cheri took over the leadership of the choir when the funding was eliminated from the budget “just to keep it going.” That was about 8 years ago.
Cheri attended her first National Seminar in Cincinnati and was excited to learn so much about directing and playing handbells. Portions of her choir have attended three area festivals and several local festivals and always learn so much.
By training, Cheri is a retired structural engineer, but also plays the piano and organ. She has always had music in her life from choral choirs to playing the piano and organ in church to now leading the handbell choir. She still enjoys playing the handbells and is now starting to play four in hand with her small six-person ensemble. Ensemble Skills 1
Chris Peck, Chair Elect, was introduced to handbells by Kipp Willnauer during his middle and high school years at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Gardner, Kansas. Chris went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts from Bethany College (Lindsborg, KS) where he had the opportunity to learn from educator, Bethany alum, and Malmark representative Eunice Tarum. His senior recital included handbells, both as a soloist and a composer.
Chris went on to teach band and choir in public schools in Kansas and Iowa. He has been involved with church music for the past twenty-plus years in various churches throughout Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska. For the past five years, he has served as Director of Choir and Bell Choirs at Trinity Lutheran Church, Omaha, Nebraska. Chris is also the Choir / Chime Choir Director at Eastmont Towers, a retirement community in Lincoln, Nebraska. Chimes have been a recent addition to the activities available at Eastmont while he has been involved there.
Chris rang for several years in the Omaha-area community ensemble River City Ringers, under the direction of Joyce Miller, and is currently ringing in Lincoln-area Bell-issimo, under the direction of Nancy Youngman. Chris is an accomplished handbell composer / arranger of about 10-12 published handbell pieces.
Chris has served Area 8 and the general handbell world in various capacities. In the early 1990s, he worked behind the scenes at a few Area 8 summer conferences helping shuffle equipment around to various rooms and helping with whatever necessary. He also served a term as the Area 8 Education (or Chime?) chair. In the later 1990s, he served a term as Iowa’s chair. He also spent a couple summers as one of the directors of Intergenerational Handbell Camp, in Parkville, Missouri.
When Chris is not directing bells or choir, or driving a school bus for Lincoln Schools, Chris is training for his next marathon. He is currently training for his first 50-miler in October. Chris and his wife Melissa live in Lincoln, Nebraska (Go Big Red!) where they enjoy their small family of rescued cats and dogs. Composing and Arranging for Handbells, Reading Sessions: Advent/Christmas L1-2, Lent/Easter L 3-6, Lent/Easter L 1-2
Ed Rollins is entering his 23rd year with the Columbia Handbell Ensemble. A co-founder of the ensemble, he has served as president of the board of directors, bass bell ringer, middle bell ringer, interim conductor, and conductor…as well as expert packer and hauler (which may account for his clearly solid frame).
He is a graduate of William Jewell College (BS in Church Music) and received a Master of Church Music degree from Southern Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. While in Columbia, Ed has promoted numerous ecumenical musical ventures, sung with the University of Missouri Show-Me-Opera, and acts as Executive Director of the highly acclaimed Odyssey Chamber Music Series.
In addition to his work with the CHE, Ed has been active in leadership roles for the Handbell Musicians of America (formerly AGEHR), serving as Missouri State Treasurer, Missouri State Chair, Chair of Area VIII (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska), a member of the national Board of Directors, and president. Ed also acted as clinician/coordinator/conductor for handbell events in 20 states.
In his spare time, Ed is a member of the five-time national triathlon club champions, the Columbia Multisport Club. He enjoys chasing his dogs and cats, gardening and Mizzou athletics. Most recently, Ed served as the Interim Executive Director for Handbell Musicians of America and has accepted the position of Business Manager for HMA. Ringing More Musically, Handbells in Worship, Reading Session – Original Compositions L3-6
Sharon Schmidt, Chair, has been active in Handbell Musicians of America since 1994 when she joined the Illinois State Committee. She’s still on the committee, helping to organize events. She served as Area 8 Treasurer for four years prior to her term as Chair Elect.
At the national level, Sharon was faculty coordinator for the 2003 National Seminar, chair for ten Distinctly Bronze events from 2004-2013, co-chair for the 2007 Distinctly Bronze European Tour, was the floor coordinator for the 2008 International Handbell Symposium and served as the national Certification Program Coordinator.
After learning to ring in the 1970s, Sharon began directing at Gary UMC in Wheaton, Illinois, where she continues to direct adult handbells. She recently retired from The Agape Ringers which she joined at its founding in 1992. She has taught many aspects of the art of handbell ringing at the state, area, and national levels since 1995.
Educated as a chemical engineer with BS & MS degrees, Sharon worked for Amoco/BP. Since leaving in 1999, she’s studied music theory and accounting, and exercised her project management skills on Guild events and church projects in addition to operating a small business serving the handbell community. Ensemble Skills 2, From C to C: Skills Toolkit for C5 to C7
Sara Washington, Secretary, started her handbell ringing career at First UMC in Manhattan, KS in 1975 and directing at First Baptist Arlington, TX in 1991. She has been selected for many advanced and auditioned choirs at HMA sponsored events, for the Solo and Ensemble Dream Team, rang at Bay View Week of Handbells, and has rung in and directed choirs across 8 states.
Sara helped start several community choirs: The Rhapsody Ringers of Manhattan, KS (1978), Tulsa Festival Ringers (1991) Kansas City Handbells (1997) and Rezound! Handbell Ensemble of Kansas City (2001), has served two terms as Secretary for Area 8 Handbell Musicians of America, and over the years has directed and taught at festivals, workshops and camps.
Wanting a challenge while living in Atlanta, GA she rang with three advanced choirs: Geneva Ringers at Central Presbyterian Church, The Atlanta Concert Ringers and Golden Bells of Atlanta, and subbed at many churches throughout the city.
Sara and her husband Syl recently moved back to Kansas City to be closer to her huge family (9 sibs + 4 steps and their families). She enjoys family gatherings, biking, walking, baking, sewing, reading and training her new pound puppy, Sisko. Sight Reading Tips and Tools, Reading Session – Advent/Christmas L 3-6
Nancy Youngman, Nebraska State Chair, has been a handbell choir director since 1984, currently with 5 choirs in two churches under her direction. Participants in those choirs range in age from 5 to 94. She is the founder/director of Bell-issimo, Lincoln, Nebraska’s auditioned community handbell choir. Nancy has degrees in Instrumental Music and German, and recently retired from Lincoln Public Schools, where she taught both subjects for years.
Since 1990, Nancy has been a member of the Nebraska State Handbell Committee and is currently serving the Guild as Area 8 Chimes Chair and Nebraska State Chair as well as serving previously as State Chair from 1994 – 1996 and Area 8 Secretary from 1996 – 1998, plus teaching at many Nebraska and Area 8 events. Auditions – Boone or Bane?, Music Theory