Earlier today I was reviewing the arrangement of Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus and realized I had not completely filled out the chords for the treble bells in verse 2. So I got to work on modifying that. In doing that change, I also thought the accompaniment chords would sound better on handchimes under the bells and flute playing the melody line. So I’ve posted a second arrangement that is for congregation, handbells, handchimes and flute! I hope you enjoy it and find it edifying in your worship of Jesus our Savior.
Whatever word of amazement or wonder or awesomeness you come up with, it definitely applies to the Kiriku Handbell Ensemble! This summer (2013), they are on tour of the West Coast and gave a concert here in Bakersfield. We went and were so very glad we did! Often billed as “the best handbell ensemble in the world”, the seven of them performed splendid music of all genres. So if they are ever nearby, GO see and hear them do amazing things with their six octaves of bells and chimes and other things too! I’ve added a link to their website on my Links to Other Sites page.
I got ambitious and planned out all the music for my handbell choir for this Fall! It feels great to be going into our first rehearsal in a few weeks with every thing lined out.
So I’ve prepared five new hymn arrangements for us to play during September through December. These have been posted for your use if you want them. They are:
- LSB 566 By Grace I’m Saved (It relates to the Epistle Reading of 1 Timothy 1:5-17 for September 15, 2013: Christ came to save sinners; Jesus is our Redeemer.)
- LSB 655 Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word (It echoes the message of the Epistle Reading of 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5 in which Paul exhorts Timothy to be steadfast in his ministry; defending the Church to keep her pure to the Word of God is a primary charge.)
- LSB 670 Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones (Ties to both the November 17, 2013 Old Testament Reading of Malachi 4:1-6 – judgment is coming; but the LORD renews His covenant with those who revere Him – and Psalm – sing a joyful song to the LORD for “He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.”)
- LSB 349 Hark the Glad Sound (For Sunday December 15, the Old Testament Reading of Isaiah 35:1-10 tells us God will come to save us; the eyes of the blind will be opened; the ears of the deaf unstopped. The lame will leap like a dear; the mute tongue will shout for joy. In the Gospel Reading of Matthew 11:2-15, Jesus tells the crowd that John was sent to prepare the way for Him; John is the coming Elijah. Both point to Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah.)
- LSB 338 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (Again related to the Old Testament and Gospel readings appointed for December 15; Christ is the promised Messiah.)
You can download all of these from the Handbell Hymn Arrangements page. I hope you find them useful in your music ministry. They are offered to the edification of you and your congregation and to the glory of God!
I recently learned about http://www.SingItAnew.com. This a great site where you can buy copies of used music that other choirs no longer want in their library. And if you need to clean out your choir’s library, here’s a great way to do that and extend the life of that music – sell it on this site. I visited the site today; most of the music is for vocal choirs, but there is some for handbell choirs.
March 9 was the date for Spring Ring here in Bakersfield, California. It was the tenth annual event hosted by St. John’s Lutheran Church. And it was fantastic -eight choirs from various churches ringing in mass! There was also a soloist who shared her music and the story of her music ministry in hospice hospitals. Betty J. Price, choirchime soloist, has a passion for sharing calming, uplifting music with those who are under hospice care and their families. She has arranged more than 100 songs; many of them have solo, duet and trio variations; and the sheet music is available for purchase from her website.
So today I updated my Links to Other Sites page adding both Sing It Anew’s and Betty J. Price’s websites.
I hope these sites are useful to you.
Today’s new arrangement is for LSB 395 – O MORNING STAR, HOW FAIR AND BRIGHT. This arrangement is a departure from typical handbell music. Instead of staves with notes to indicate when each bell rings, this notation is for ringing chords. Known as “chordal ringing”, this form of using handbells – or handchimes – helps new musicians get into ringing really quick. They don’t have to know how to read music; they can focus on the ringing techniques.
On the first page, there are two tables. The first defines each chord symbol by showing which bells play for each chord in the song. The second table shows the chord names for each of the bells; there’s a column to indicate the ringers’ names so that readily know which chord their bell plays on. Then on the subsequent sheets, the text of the hymn is printed along with the chord symbol. Each ringer should be given their own copy – no sharing of music! Have them use one color to highlight or circle all the chord symbols that their left bell rings in; then use a different color to mark the chords for their right bell. Note that every octave of a given bell rings in the chord where that bell name shows up. So you can do this style of ringing with as few or as many octaves as you have ringers to cover.
Play the chords as noted, giving the words the rhythm from the melody line. Be sure to damp the bells that are not part of the next chord. I find chordal ringing works best for well-known hymns. As an option, have a solo instrument – flute, trumpet, violin – play the melody line while the bells ring the chords.
For more information and some detailed instructions, read the “Ringing Chordal Patterns” section of Using Handchimes, by Janet van Valey and Susan Berry.