At Fremont Christian School, we offer three levels of handbell choirs: beginner (in elementary), intermediate, and advanced.
Intermediate bells are offered to middle-school students (grades 6-8), while advanced bells are offered in high school (grades 9-12), although allowances are made for middle-school students who show readiness.
Each choir is made up of 12-16 ringers, each of whom is assigned 2-4 bells to ring. Each ringer must read the musical score and ring their notes only when called for in the music — a very different musical skill than required on most instruments. Piano, for instance, requires that you play all the notes, while flute requires that you play the notes written for flute, which are only one at a time. Ringing bells require that you read the music, count, and play just your assigned notes. This takes great teamwork.
The ability to already read music is a plus but not a requirement. Those entering with no prior music experience are taught the requisite skills: reading music, musicianship, and performance.
Handbell music from a variety of periods and styles is rehearsed and performed. As this is the advanced handbell group, emphasis is placed upon excellence in the production of proper ringing techniques. Several performances are scheduled during school hours, evenings, and weekends; attendance at performances is mandatory. A specific schedule for morning rehearsals is provided to parents.
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to read and ring music notation of both the treble and bass clefs; successfully perform level-four and above handbell music, using correct ringing techniques; recognize music symbols specifically used in handbell music; and implement the ringing techniques associated with these symbols as called for in the music.
Big-School Opportunities in a Small-School Environment