Music bells, handbells, and handchimes oh my!

Music bells, handbells, and handchimes oh my!

Besides baking, handchimes and handbells are my passion too. This, I play with a group called The Dickens Handchime Choir aka Dickens Bell Ringers and we perform mainly during Christmas time. However this week, we got to participate in the Handbell Musicians of America's National Seminar and performed with the new Uchida Music Bells.

My favourite part about this convention is being able to meet passionate musicians from different parts of the world and the opportunity to learn new skills. I made a lot of new friends from everywhere including the Virgin Islands and Japan! A new skill that I learned (from a new friend in the distinctly teen) is a technique called “four in hand” which is the ability to play two notes in each hand.

This convention was extra special this year since the Dickens Bell Ringers were sponsored by the Uchida Music Bells. We were chosen to perform for them using their versatile innovative bells. We got to experiment and practice pieces using their music bells generously supplied by them. I personally fell in love with these bells. What makes these bells special is that they are all the same size.

This is amazing because no bells are too big for anyone. That meant the little ones in our group, as young as preschoolers, got to join in and participate and actively perform with the older kids. I think the highlight was the Star Wars theme song. The little ones played the main parts as we older kids accompanied them. Which would have been impossible with the handchimes or bells, unless of course, those little ones are capable of swinging a huge handchime… which scares me. Uchida made it possible for the little ones to shine.

Speaking of shine, the Uchida Music Bells invited the M.B. Club (professional music bell performers from Japan). Their performance was phenomenal in every aspect that it showcased the potential of these bells as concert quality instrument. I was star struck by the three nice ladies from Japan when they performed many well choreographed pieces that were both entertaining to listen and to watch. They were so kind and friendly. They enjoyed our group's performances and were very supportive. They certainly inspired all of us with their support and encouragement.

Nearing the end of the week, the Distinctly Teen had their 'intense' practices for our performance at Disneyland. We performed these four songs:

  • "Prisms" by William Payne

  • "Te Recuerdo" by Jason Krug

  • "Cheap Thrills" by Sia arr. Nicholas A. Hanson

  • "The Lion King Medley" by Elton John and Tim Rice arr. Kevin McChesney

I had so much fun performing at Disneyland and am very grateful to have had the chance to perform with such talented musicians.

Nana Xoxo


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