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DHE ringers showcase their musical skill at 2018 National Seminar. (Photo credit: Handbell Musicians of America) DHE ringers showcase their musical skill at 2018 National Seminar. (Photo credit: Handbell Musicians of America)

Members of the Detroit Handbell Ensemble were thrilled and privileged to perform the opening concert at the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in July 2018. The audience loudly responded to the program featuring Detroit and the great state of Michigan.

“We were thrilled to have this wonderful opportunity to perform for our peers” said DHE Artistic Director Brenda Austin. “Highlighting the comeback that Detroit is experiencing as well as some of the beauty of our state through photographs projected during the concert was a treat.”

A feature of the musical theme was “Motown Medley” which Austin arranged for the performance.

Photo credit: Handbell Musicians of America

Photo credit: Handbell Musicians of America

The National Seminar is one of several national and regional events presented annually by the Handbell Musicians of America, which was founded in 1954 as the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers.

In addition to performing the opening concert, several DHE members attended the three-day event. Ringer Nancy Kindraka took part in the advanced ringing track with David Weck and attended classes on change ringing, bell trees and back ringing, the traditional ringing style in England. “This was my first time at National Seminar,” Kindraka said. “There was an amazing variety of things to see and learn. Back ringing was an especially intriguing class. Trying a completely new ringing motion was quite a challenge. Overall I had a wonderful time reconnecting with friends in the handbell community and making new ones.”

Photo credit: Nancy Kindraka

The HMA, with 7,000 members, seeks to sponsor educational activities and promote the exchange of ideas for the advancement of the art of ringing handbells and handchimes nationwide. Each year, the National Seminar showcases a mix of community ensembles, education-affiliated groups and church musicians from the region hosting the event.


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