Often, compositions and arrangements come from a need for something very particular that doesn’t yet exist.  Such was the case with these pieces I arranged for handbells.  They were written many years ago when I was directing church bell choirs.  As I revisit these arrangements for recording purposes, I keep thinking I need to write more pieces for handbells.

“Ride On, King Jesus” is dedicated to my college handbell director, Dr. Donald Brown. This was one of his favorite spirituals.  I sang it many times under his direction in chapel choir, and therefore decided to create an arrangement of it for handbells in his honor.  

“Wondrous Love” is one of my favorite hymns.  This arrangement is for bells with flute obbligato. Special thanks to flutist Dr. Kathy Davis for her lovely solo work on this recording.

Photos are from our recording session on July 7, 2017 at Manchester Church of the Brethren, North Manchester, Indiana

Haley Neilson, recording engineer

Handbells 13
Gnarling out some tricky rhythms in “Ride On, King Jesus”
Kathy Davis, flute
Kathy Davis, flute
Handbells 12
Sound check!
Handbells 11
Lower bells — workin’ on those biceps! (L to R) Katherine Haff, Jake Svay, Becky Unger, Julie Garber, Jeff Hunn, Michael Rueff
Handbells 10
I love the juxtaposition of facial expressions here. Katherine Haff: pure joy, and Jake Svay: steely-eyed concentration.
Handbells 9
Laura Stone and Katherine Haff, playing the busy middle bells.
Handbells 8
Audri Fuentes and Lila Hammer. Very proud of Lila, she’d never played bells before. She did great!
Handbells 7
Robert Lynn and Kenzie Hare. Kenzie was one of two “handbell rookies” in the group.
Recording Session #3
We need to get Haley a chair. (photo by Abigail Lynn)
Audri Handbells
Audri Fuentes with bell choir. (photo by Abigail Lynn)
Handbells 6
(L to R) Lila Hammer, Laura Stone, and Katherine Haff recording “Wondrous Love” and “Ride On, King Jesus” (photo by Abigail Lynn)
Handbells 5
Robert Lynn and Kenzie Hare recording “Wondrous Love” and “Ride On, King Jesus” (photo by Abigail Lynn)
Kathy Davis recording "Wondrous Love"
Kathy Davis, our flutist for “Wondrous Love” (photo by Abigail Lynn)
"Wondrous Love" Recording
Recording “Wondrous Love” for Handbells with Flute (photo by Abigail Lynn)
Handbells 3
Recording Handbell Arrangements: “Wondrous Love” and “Ride On, King Jesus” (photo by Abigail Lynn)
Handbells 1
(L to R) Becky Unger, Julie Garber, and Jeff Hunn recording “Wondrous Love” and “Ride On, King Jesus” (photo by (Abigail Lynn)