Handbell Performances

St. Peter’s Classical School, the place I go on Fridays to teach music, just posted (front and center!) one of the handbell performances from our Christmas-time event “Lessons and Carols”. Not only did I teach the kids, but I also arranged the music for all 3 songs. All 3 are popular Christmas songs, so I could have found free handbell music somewhere, but the problem was our bells are very limited– only 3 octaves!– and our classes were not very big. So I soon found that arranging the music for myself would allow me to accommodate both of these restraints.

Here is Level 3 (5th-6th grade), playing “The First Noel”:

Level 2 (3rd-4th grade) playing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”:

Level 1 (1st grade) playing ” O Come O Come Emmanuel”. This group was by far the hardest to teach…you’re not supposed to even touch the brass part of the bells with your fingers, since the oil makes the bells eventually go out of tune. These kids would put their MOUTHS on them….I was beside myself most of the time. Add on to that their lack of muscle control, especially when it comes to a quick FLICK of the wrist instead of a THROW!!  If you can’t hear a few bells, it’s not because they messed up, but because they played so quietly that the camera speaker could not pick up the sound from where Jesse was in the balcony.


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