Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Bells - Bell Chart for Descant

As is tradition, I'll be pulling out the handbells and playing Christmas Bells this Sunday (we're also performing this song in Sacrament Meeting the Sunday before Christmas).  If you want details on how I like to use handbells in Primary and where I purchased our set, you can find all that HERE.

NOTE: this is for the obligato/descant portion only!  Not the melody!!  If you are looking for a chart for the melody, check out my post HERE.

You can access the document HERE.  Make sure you are logged in to a Gmail/Google account to access it. 

To perform with the bells in Sacrament Meeting, I ALWAYS have another conductor!  I lead the bell choir and the other person leads the singers (usually a primary presidency member).  The other conductor will hold the actual words to the melody the kids will be singing (see my "Posting Words" tab above for details on that).

I like to pick the 2nd-to-oldest Senior Primary class to perform the bells.  If I'm consistent with this every year, every child will eventually get a turn!  When we come to the front of the chapel, I have the needed bells all set out on the floor near the piano.  The bell ringers will each be assigned a color that we will have practiced in Primary the few weeks before and they can easily come grab their color.

I stand on the floor in front of them with my note chart taped over the back of the music stand (again, similar to how I post words with the exception that page 2 is taped to the bottom of page 1 so I don't have to flip pages.  I put the stand higher than usual so it can all be seen (I wish I had a picture!).  Have I lost you?  Then I have a simple wooden dowel and point to the colors as they are to be played.

When we perform, the song will be played 3 times (each time with the piano). First time with singing only, the second time with bell ringers only, and the 3rd time everything together.  It's SO fun!

Questions?  Just leave comments.  Performing with the bells the first time is a little stressful but the congregation LOVES them - and so do the kids.  Do make sure you have permission from your Primary President and Bishop ;).

**If you find any errors in my charts, PLEASE notify me - how mortifying! :)**


Kim said...

Can the song be played with the 8 bell set, the 13 bell set or do you need the 20 set for this one?

Camille Hill said...

Hi Kim!

Since there are no sharps or flats, this song can be played using the 8-bell set. The 13-bell set would allow you to play any sharps and flats and the 20-bell set just gives you another octave is all. I hope that answers your question.


Kim said...

Thank you so much for all your advice and sharing your ideas and work with all of us!! I really want to buy the handbells and just don't know which to buy. Is there a better way to communicate questions to you? Anyways, I was just looking at the Rhythm Band hand/desk bell set. Would the colors match up with the music sheets you have? I think that would be a nice option to have desk/hand bells but not if they don't match up with music.


Laurie Williams said...

With the 13-bell set does it sound off to have the musical line interrupted by switching octaves, like in Christmas Bells? It would happen a lot on the descant.

Dena said...

We used the bells in our Primary program last Sunday. It was amazing!! We used them for "If I Listen With My Heart" and also "Easter Hosanna". I requested the "Easter Hosanna" from you just before Easter and it was so beautiful the Primary President implemented it in our program. We had so many ward members who were just wowed by the bells! I only had 5 children in my bell choir, so one child had to play two bells, but it worked. I also had to hold a few practices on Wednesday night. The children and parents we very supportive and they loved it. I am definitely going to do "Christmas Bells" for Christmas Time.Thanks for all your creative ideas.


Julie Austin said...

Hi Camille,

I see you updated the Christmas Bells with words. When I try to print out the bell part (not the obligato), it shoots me to the Obligato Bell Chart.

Can you repost the original Christmas Bell Chart (melody)?


Julie Austin

Camille Hill said...

Hi Julie,

I only have the bell chart for the obligato part only. I've never done the bells on the melody. If you want to create your own bell chart, I do have a "Make Your Own Bell Chart" post here:

Sorry I'm not more help!


Blatter said...

Bought some bells and I am going to bust them out this Sunday with Christmas Bells. I am just worried about doing the other part with them, since this will be the kids first time using bells. Do you have the regular song in a bell chart anywhere?

Camille Hill said...

Hi Blatter,

I'll try and work on a post for that soon - if you are new to the handbells, the melody for Christmas Bells is a perfect place to start!


Camille Hill said...

Hi Blatter,

I've updated the post with a link to the melody chart I created for Christmas Bells. You can also find it here: