2020 On-Line Reading Session

You may email questions to: chair@stlbells.org 

American Tapestry III – Spiritual
Arnold Sherman
3-7 Octaves
Level 3
AGEHR Publishing, distributed by Lorenz
AG37007 (Handbell part)
AG302364 AG   (full score)
weblink
Optional/additional instruments:   4-hand piano, optional wind ensemble, optional vocal ensemble
Techniques used: mallets
Comments: This is the 3rd piece in the American Tapestry series, which was commissioned by AGEHR for the 12th International Handbell Symposium in Orlando in 2008. This is a rousing, energetic arrangement of the spiritual “Down by the Riverside” and is most often performed with 4-hand piano accompaniment.
CB

Bright and Glorious is the Sky
Patricia Hurlbutt
2 or 3 Octaves
Level 2
Beckenhorst Press HB672
Beckenhorstpress
Weblink
Techniques used: Mallets,
TD (Thumb Damp) , Sk (Shake) , LV (Let Vibrate)
Comments: Fun, joyful and something a little different
JB

Celtic Grace
Tammy Waldrop
3-5 octaves
Level 3
Jubilate Music Group
00-48005
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments: Handchimes
Techniques used in the piece: SB, TD, Mallets
Comments: This piece combines Be Thou My Vision with an original tune titled Sarah’s Theme, named after the director for which this piece was commissioned. There are 3 main sections. The introduction begins with the original theme presented over a singing bell accompaniment. The first section then features the Be Thou My Vision theme, transitions to Sarah’s Theme in a minor key, and then returns to Be Thou My Vision with an energetic malleted accompaniment. At the very end, the singing bell returns and a motif from Amazing Grace brings the piece to a close.
CB

Essential Classics for 2-3 Octave Volume 2
Various Arrangers
2-3 octaves
Level 2+
Hope
2933
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments: Conga/Tambourine
Techniques use: PL/Martellato/Martellato-lifts/SK/Mallet/RT/Swing/TD
Comments: A reproducible collection that gives you a lot of “bang for your buck.” This collection contains 14 pieces including hymn tunes that cover the church year. The arrangements cover various techniques that also makes this a great teaching resource.
JK

Praise My Soul the King of Heaven
Cathy Moklebust
2-3 octaves
3-6 octaves
Level 2+
Choristers Guild
CGB1151/CGB1152
Weblink
Techniques used: LV/SK
Comments: Lovely version of the hymn tune, “Lauda Anima”. Variation in the verses adds to a delightful arrangement. There are two versions available for 2-3 octaves or 3-6 octaves.
JK

Song of My Heart
Brenda Austin
3-6 octaves
Level 3-
GIA Publications
G9924
Weblink
Techniques used in the piece: Handbells, mallets
Comments:
This original composition brings a calming, peaceful
presence in times of uncertainty and unrest. 

Favorite Hymns for 8 Bells
Sondra Tucker
within 2 octaves of bells, for 2 to 4 ringers, small ensemble 
CASA Publications
MCSHBO4O

sondratucker.com
Weblink
Techniques used in the piece:
TD (Thumb Damp) , RT (Ring Touch) , Sk (Shake) , LV (Let Vibrate) , SB (Singing Bell or Bowl)
Comments: A reproducible collection with no bell changes, so it portable and good for distance ringing
JB

Fanfare and Carillon (I would likely change title)
Karen Thompson
3-5 Octaves
Difficulty Level 3-
G.I.A. Publications, Inc.
MGIG9733, DMGIG9733
Weblink
Techniques use: LV, Echo
Comments: YES! A winner for me. Dramatic intro with strong driving eighth-note pattern that supports a beautiful uplifting melody.
SB

Thanksgiving Medley
Patricia Hurlbutt
3 to 5 octaves handbells, optional 3 octaves chimes
Level 2-
Beckenhorst Press HB682
Beckenhorstpress
Weblink
Mallets, TD (Thumb Damp) , Sk (Shake) , LV (Let Vibrate), Martellato, Sw (Swing). Echo
Tunes included: Nun danket alle gott, Dix, Wie lieblich ist der maien, St. George’s Windsor
Comments: Rich harmonies; prayerful, then rejoicing; a variety of techniques add to the beauty of the piece.
JB

Acclamation in G minor
Karen Thompson
2-6 Octaves
Level 2+
AGEHR Publishing  (distributed by Lorenz)
AG23046 (2-3 oct)
AG46030 (4-6 oct)
Weblink
Techniques used : RT   SK   TD
Comments:    This original handbell piece is a great selection for a bell festival. There are no bell changes – in a church or concert setting, the piece could be played without tables or even from memory.  The piece is in 4/4 and includes a syncopated rhythmic motif throughout giving the piece an energetic rhythmic drive that your ringers will enjoy.
CB

Called Home to Heaven
Fred Gramann
3-5 Octaves
Level 2
Hope Publishing
Publisher Code#: 2927
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments:
3-5 Octaves of handchimes
Techniques used in the piece: Swing, Echo, LV, and Mallet (one measure of limited use)
Comments:
Called Home to Heaven
is an arrangement of the pentatonic tune Holy Manna, subtitled Meditation on Holy Manna.    Holy Manna is an American folk hymn written in the shape note tradition for the text Brethren, We Have Met to Worship first published in 1829.  For those ensembles who are new to shelley and four-in-hand ringing, the parallel octaves of the melody give plenty of opportunity to practice those skills.
DB

Hymns and Handbells Vol. 2
Joel Raney and Lloyd Larson
3-5 Octaves
Level 2
Hope Publishing
2939
Weblink  
Techniques used in the piece: LV (Let vibrate), SK (Shake), Mart (Martellato),
Comments: Reproducible collection of 40 easy hymns to be played with
organ/piano/congregation. Tunes for all seasons of the church year. Two settings
for each tune. One with full chords that raise the excitement of the hymn. The
second for treble bells that can be used as a descant. Works well to build
confidence of beginning choirs while engaging the congregation. The two settings
could be combined and useful as short preludes.
JT

Meditation on Beautiful Savior
Cathy Moklebust
2-5 octaves
Level 3
Choristers Guild
CGB175 (3-5 octaves
CGB763 (2 octaves)
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments :NONE
Techniques used in the piece: All rung, LV
Comments: This all-time best selling piece was commissioned by a church after the death of one of their long-time ringers. The introduction focuses on F/G5 which was the position of that ringer. The middle section switches to a minor key, then builds up to a climactic final section of full chords back in the major key. After a fff chord, the piece ends softly with a section very similar to the introduction.
The composer has recently adapted the piece for solo handbells with piano accompaniment. It is included in CGBD56 – Easy Favorites for the Handbell Soloist.
CB

Jubliate Deo
Sondra Tucker
3-6 octaves
Level 3
Jubilate Music Group
48001
Weblink
Handbells, chimes and optional organ
Includes one verse of the hymn tune Christe Sanctorum
A majestic piece for festivals, special occasions and worship.
JB

Rondo Jubilee
Brenda Austin
3-6 Octaves  (only 2 bells in the treble sixth octave which can be omitted if only 5 octaves are available)
Level 2+
Hope Publishing
2934
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments: 3 Octaves Handchimes
Techniques used in the piece:
Shake, thumb damp, mallets, martellato lift, ring touch, echo
Comments:
Rondo Jubilee is an original composition for handbells and handchimes written with a variety of techniques and articulations.  As the title indicates, a jubilee piece is moderately fast with nice contrasts of melody, accompaniment and harmonic changes.  Rondo is a form that implies the same melodic theme returns in alternating sections.  Syncopation prevails throughout the piece in both the melody and the accompaniment.  Rondo Jubilee is a festive piece as a concert opener or for worship.
DB

Praise
Fred Gramann
3-5 Octaves
Level
Choristers Guild
CGB1137
Weblink
Techniques used in the piece: SW (Swing), SK (Shake), LV (Let Vibrate)
Comments:
Original handbell composition. Composed in Mixolyndian Mode the piece gives your congregation a fresh sound. Listeners will realize they don’t hear the common major or minor key. They will love the sound. Works well for prelude. Slowing down the tempo the piece can be very meditative.
JT

For All The Saints
John Behnke
3-5
Level 2
G.I.A. Publications, Inc.
MGIG10133, DGIG10133
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments:Keyboard, Chimes, Piano
Techniques used: Shake, Swing, LV, Martellato
Comments: Nice arrangement
SB

Best of Ring Together 2-3 Octave
Kevin McChesney
2-3 Octaves
Level 2
Jeffers
JHS9603
Weblink
Techniques used: Mallet/SK/LV/Echoes/Swing/PL/TD
Comments: Another reproducible collection from the Ring Together series. This collection consists of nine hymn tunes that encompass the entire church year. Great for beginning choirs or choirs with limited time. Nice fully sounding arrangements that offer a variety of techniques.
JK

In Remembrance of Me
Buryl Red and Ragan Courtney; Arr. Jason Krug
3-6 Octaves Handbells
Level 2+
Hope Publishing Company
2909
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments: 2 Octaves Handchimes
Techniques used in the piece: Suspended Mallets and LV (Let vibrate)
Comments: Lovely arrangement of this favorite contemporary song. Graceful lines accompany the beautiful simple melody. The piece builds to full choir and moves from F to G before diminishing and ending in peace. Excellent for Communion and Maundy Thursday.
JT

Hymns and Spiritual Songs
Anna Laura Page
F5 –C7
Level 2 and 2+
Choristers Guild
CGB1153
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments: piano accompaniment
Techniques used in the piece: TD, Martellato Lift, SK, Martellato
Comments: This reproducible collection comprises of 5 hymn and spiritual arrangements with optional piano accompaniment. Composed for 12 bells it can be played with traditional 6 ringers or combinations of 4-in-hand.
JK

Festa
Arnold Sherman
3-6 octaves; 2 optional bell trees
Level 3-
Agape/Hope Publishing
2286 (Ringer edition)
2286D (Director/Organ Score)
2286 B (brass parts)
2286P (Bell Tree Parts)
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments: 2 optional bell trees, optional organ or brass ensemble
Techniques used in the piece:TD, Martellato, Swing
Comments: This original tune was first published in 2004. Festa is an Italian word used for festivals, holidays, feasts, or other special occasions – this particular piece was written for a wedding. It is full of energy, written in a processional style, with optional organ or brass and 2 optional bell trees. The composer’s Performance Notes offer various ways to perform the piece. This would be a great piece for a festive church service, concert, special celebration or bell festival – enjoy!
CB

The Solid Rock
Jason Krug
3-6 Octaves
Level 2
Hope Publishing
2908
Weblink    
Optional/additional instruments:        Piano
Techniques used in the piece:
Shake, LV, Thumb Damp
Comments:
This is a creative arrangement of a favorite hymn On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand with only one key change and one meter change.  The piano part is very scalar and adds much to the handbells.  The arrangement starts rather quietly and builds to the last verse with full, rich texture after the key change.  Original music based on the tune leads from one verse to the next.  There are sections that have interesting and exciting exchanges between the piano and the bells.  You will be on “solid ground” if you play this piece for worship as it will definitely be pleasing and enriching to congregational worship!

DB

Shall We Gather At The River
Karen Buckwalter
3-6
Level 2+
Beckenhorst Press, Inc
MBEHB679
Weblink
Techniques used:LV, meter changes
Comments: Lush and delicate scoring. Key change returning to opening theme with more chromatic and unexpected harmonization, Nice.
SB

There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy
Karen Buckwalter
3-5 octaves
Level 3-
Choristers Guild
CGB1145
Weblink
Techniques used: LV
Comments: Lovely piece based off the tune “Lord Revive Us”. The opening measures consist of an original motif which is interwoven throughout the piece. Great piece for a church service or concert setting.
JK

There is a Fountain
Lloyd Larson
3-5 Octaves
Level 2+
Agape/Hope Publishing Company
2917
weblink
Optional/additional instruments: Violin or C instrument
Techniques used in the piece: LV (Let Vibrate)
Comments: For use all year. Especially appropriate for Communion and Holy Week. An optional violin, or another C instrument, is an excellent addition. The piece begins and ends gently with the inclusion of a brilliant middle section that includes all ringers.
JT

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (Picardy)
Mitchell Eithun
3-6 Octaves
Level 2+
G.I.A. Publications, Inc.
MGIG9813, DGIG9813
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments: Chimes, Percussion/finger cymbals
Techniques used: Mallet, Echo, LV
Comments: YES! – Consider this piece. Main body on
handbells. Middle section intensive and rhythmically exciting as mallets play against
the hallowed melody. Finger cymbals highlight music. Key of c minor
SB

Panis Angelicus
Cesar Franck/Lindsey Horty
#3 or 5 Octaves
Level 2
G.I.A. Publications, Inc.
MGIG10131, DMGIG10131
Weblink
Optional/additional instruments Optional: Chimes
Techniques used: LV
Comments: Ideal for communion, Christmas, weddings, concerts
SB

Reviewers

DB = Dolan Bayless
JB = Julie Bender
CB = Cathy Benton
SB = Sherry Boland
JK = Jill Kirk
JT = Jim Threlkeld