Repertoire   |   Accommodations   |   Schedule   |   Classes   |   Concerts

Faculty   |   Exhibitors   |   Scholarships   |   FAQ   |   Registration

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Summit 2020 has been CANCELLED


Summit 2020 features classes for handbell musicians of all skill levels and ages. On this page, you can learn more about each class or class track. You can also learn about exciting educational opportunities from our exhibitors. Click the links below to jump to the desired section.

Classes | Certification Courses | Exhibitor Education


Classes at Summit 2020 cover all aspects of handbell musicianship: techniques for treble and bass, solo ringing, beginning to advanced conducting, handbells in worship and education, musicality, percussion and rhythm, managing and building a handbell program, and so much more,

Bell Tree Basics - Megan Reishus and Dillon Ekle (Forté Handbell Quartet)

Always wanted to use bell trees in your music, but didn’t know where to start? This class is for you! In this hands-on class, we will go over the basics of how to set up a bell tree, what equipment will help you be successful, and how you can integrate bell trees into your music. This is a great way to start on your bell tree journey whether you are a ringer or a director!


Recommended for ringers and directors of all skill levels

Basic Techniques - Luke Nabeta and Tory Marting (Forté Handbell Quartet)

Handbells are a surprisingly intricate instrument, and it seems there is always something new to learn! Hone your knowledge of the basics and the many techniques used in handbell music as we explore the marks on the page and how to truly master them. Directors are encouraged to attend as well; proficiency in foundational skills like basic ringing techniques will enable you to help your ringers succeed.


Recommended for Beginning and Intermediate Ringers, Beginning and Intermediate Directors, Soloists, Educators, Church Musicians and Community Ensembles

Visual Presentation - Luke Nabeta (Forté Handbell Quartet)

Handbells are a distinctly visual instrument, enthralling audiences through both sound and sight. Directors and ringers are encouraged to come learn how to broaden the appeal of their performances through applying a new lens of visual unity to their ringing. Whether you’ve been in bells for one year or fifty, you will hear new, straightforward ideas on how to help your audience connect with your music on a new level as you turn your songs into works of art.


Recommended for ringers and directors of all skill levels

Weaving - Luke Nabeta (Forté Handbell Quartet)

Your accidentals are fast approaching, and you still haven’t grown a third arm/hand. What hope is there? Weaving! Come join Forté as we teach you the not-so-mystical art of weaving. This technique is one which any ringer can conquer and allows you greater mastery of multiple bells. Directors are encouraged to attend as well; proficiency in foundational skills like this one will enable you to help your ringers succeed.


Recommended for ringers and directors of all skill levels

There’s More Than One Way to Peel a Banana - Michèle Sharik

This is a hands-on overview of a variety of assignment strategies. From Allured to Hilty to Ivey to KatSigning and beyond, come try out a bunch of different ways to assign
the bells to ringers.

Recommended for Intermediate and Advanced Ringers, Intermediate and Advanced Directors, and anyone responsible for or interested in assigning

50 Shades of Damping - Michèle Sharik

One of the first things we learn as a handbell musician is to damp the bell. But, there is so much more to damping than just “on” or “off” — and you already know how to do it! You’ll have the opportunity to try out selective damping, soft damping, pre-damping, half-damping (and more!) on both bells and chimes, as well as discover how this can help you shape your music and take your performance to new heights.


Recommended for ringers and directors of all skill levels

Sparkle or Splat? - Christine D. Anderson

So you think you’re ready to ring a solo in front of an audience? How can you prepare for performance that sparkles, and doesn’t splat? What makes the difference between a successful performance and one that disappoints both you and the audience?


Recommended for Soloists

4-in-hand Quartet Ringing - Christine D.Anderson

Table-less quartet ringing ~ the pain-free, musical way! Discover the challenge and fun way to ring with only four people, easily take your bells anywhere, ring in any space without tables or equipment. Travel hints included.


Recommended for Intermediate and Advanced Ringers

Multiple Bells-in-hand Techniques - Christine D. Anderson

How many different ways are there to ring more than one bell in a hand? We’ll explore all the various techniques: how to pick up on the fly, kinds of grips, how to ring each bell separately and together, damping tricks, helpful hints.


Recommended for Intermediate and Advanced Ringers

Successful Sight-Reading - Stevie Berryman

It’s been said the best way to get better at sight reading is simply to do it.  While there is merit to practicing a skill to improve, this class will give more concrete tools to increase your chances of success. Sight-reading doesn’t have to mean “winging it.” We’ll work through activities and drills you can use in your own rehearsals that will push you beyond your current ability.


Recommended for Intermediate and Advanced Ringers, Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Directors

Handbell Escape Room - Stevie Berryman

Put your problem solving skills to the test and complete the challenge before the time runs out! Using traditional escape room puzzles work together to solve the mystery all while learning new about new tools, games, and resources to make you a better ringer or director.


Recommended for ringers and directors of all skill levels

Handbell Boot Camp - Beth LaMee

Skip the gym today and come workout the handbell way! We know that as ringers and directors that we get quite a workout playing bells as well as preparing to play by loading the equipment. Join us in this class as we stretch, exercise and tone-up (our bodies and our skills!) Come get in shape for the next ringing season and have some fun at the same time!


Recommended for ringers and directors of all skill levels

Making the Most With What You Have - Beth LaMee

We know that as directors that sometimes we need to work with what we have-volunteer ringers, resources, space and time. It never seems like we have enough of any of those, so let’s figure out a way to work with what we have!


Recommended for Beginning and Intermediate Directors

Worship Alive! Creative Use of Bells in Worship - Beth Judd

Creating those breathless awe moments for the movement of the Spirit in worship is a goal for all who lead worship. This class will explore some of the ways handbells can enable those special encounters and provide a few opportunities for learning how to write your own, even if composing is not one of your primary gifts!


Recommended for Intermediate and Advanced Ringers, any Directors, and Church Musicians

Conducting Coaching - Beth Judd

As with any physical activity, we all benefit from some coaching of our technique. Participants will have the opportunity to conduct in a group and individually using the massed ringing repertoire and receive feedback for achieving maximum efficiency of gesture.


Recommended for Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Directors

Certification Courses

At Summit 2020, we are offering three of the four Level 1 Certification Classes. You may take one, two or three of them. Testing will occur on Saturday for all three classes.

Music Theory 1 — Building on the basics of note-reading and rhythmic constructions

Rhythm, basic keys & the circle of fifths, building chords and scales, basic score navigation, common performance markings and terms, as well as ear-training in the form of rhythmic dictation (i.e., “write down what you hear”), and identification of basic intervals and major/minor triads.
In order to successfully pass this course as part of the certification curriculum, students must be able to:

  • Know mechanical “parts” of a handbell score (barline, notehead, stem, beam, grand staff, etc.) and pitch names for C3–C6 (handbell designation C4–C7)
  • Understand the one-octave aural transpositional nature of handbells and handchimes as instruments;
    Recognize and identify rhythmic values of notes and rests from sixteenth notes through whole notes (including the mathematical comprehension of dotted notes and triplets)
  • Understand measured construction of music and time signatures related to perfect simple and perfect compound meters (2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 2/2, 3/2, 6/8, 9/8 (3+3+3), 12/8), including abbreviations for “common time” and “cut time”
  • Recognize key signatures and associated scales up to 3 sharps and 3 flats, inclusive, and understand and identify relative-minor equivalencies
  • Comprehend basic dynamic markings (ppp through fff), diminuendo/decrescendo, crescendo, mezzo, as well as understand common basic performance markings
  • Recognize intervals of octave, perfect fifth, perfect fourth, major/minor third, as well as understand the difference between prime unison and colloquial unison (e.g., “unison at the octave”)
  • Have a basic understanding of triadic harmony and chord construction, and the difference/relationship between major and minor triads
  • Recognize and understand basic enharmonic equivalents
  • Comprehend simple score navigation: repeat signs, basic endings, D.S., D.C., Coda
  • Evaluate a handbell score and create a Handbells Used Chart for a three-octave piece
  • Replicate any rhythm which may appear in a handbell score of Level 1, 2, or 3.
Conducting 1 — Review the basics

Posture, stance, use of a baton, and non-conducting hand gestures, all in common meters. Additional topics include critical listening, score study, and memorization.
In order to successfully pass this course as part of the certification curriculum, students must be able to:

  • Demonstrate correct posture and stance
  • Demonstrate clear cut-offs
  • Demonstrate baton selection and technique
  • Conduct common meter patterns as well as mixed meters (including all common patterns in four, three, two, and 6/8)
  • Demonstrate a clear preparatory beat
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct music beginning on various beats
  • Demonstrate a steady/consistent beat/pulse
  • Demonstrate dynamic changes with the use of the conducting and non-conducting hands
  • Identify basic elements of score study (i.e. form, rhythm, melody)
  • Research background of the musical selection and share your interpretation of the same
  • Demonstrate the ability to recognize incorrect or missing notes and various techniques
  • Demonstrate how to conduct musical and stylistic elements (i.e. ritardando, fermata, cuing, legato, and staccato)
  • Demonstrate verbal and non-verbal communication skills, including facial expressions, body movement, gestures, eye contact, posture, and tone of voice
  • Demonstrate the ability to memorize sections of the repertoire.

Please note there are two required scores to bring, as well as a baton.  

  • Behnke, John A., An Expression of Joy, AGEHR Publishing AG35300
  • Glasgow, Michael J., Fanfare on “Engelberg”, AGEHR Publishing AG37011
Handbell Techniques 1 — The basics

Which muscles are used for ringing and what they do, the ergonomic way to ring handbells, damping the bell, handling heavier bells.

Handbell Techniques 1 — The basics examines basic handbell and handchime ringing and damping techniques, with an emphasis on ergonomic principles and sound production.
Prerequisite: None
In order to successfully pass this course as part of the certification curriculum, students must be able to:

  • Distinguish and identify major muscle groups of the hands, arms, legs, and back and explain how these muscle groups work together and separately to move the hands, arms, and legs, and to provide a means for balancing the body as it moves through space
  • Describe handbell and handchime sound production and how it relates to handbell and handchime ringing and damping techniques
  • Demonstrate stance, seat, and stroke
  • Demonstrate shoulder and table damping
  • Demonstrate the ring-hook technique
  • Demonstrate bell/chime changes in one or both hands
  • Demonstrate a bell/chime pass hand-to-hand and ringer-to-ringer
  • Describe modifications or adaptations of the above with regard to bass handbells and chimes.

Exhibitor Education

Our exhibitor education represents handbell manufacturers, retailers, publishers, performing groups, and other individuals and companies that support handbell musicians.

Several Reading Sessions will be offered at Summit 2020

Area 9 reserves the right to cancel any portion or all portions of Summit 2020
if the number of registrations is deemed insufficient.

Firearms or weapons of any type are strictly prohibited at Summit 2020.
Columbus Avenue Baptist Church is a smoke/vape/tobacco free facility.

Summit 2020 Sponsors

To learn how to become a sponsor of Summit 2020, please click here.

Use of Tablets to Hold Music

Handbell Musicians of America is committed to upholding the copyright laws of the United States and protecting the rights of our publishers, arrangers, and composers. If you wish to use a tablet computer to hold your music in place of standard paper copies on a music stand, you must contact the publisher of each piece of music to first obtain permission to convert a purchased piece of music to the format required for the tablet you are using. Copies of the written permission received from publishers must be presented on request from the event organizer, event chair, or Handbell Musicians of America staff. Permission from a publisher for one piece does not imply permission for other songs from the same publisher. The title of each song used in this format must be included in the written permission received. Attendee should also have legally purchased copies of all music with them for verification.