Westfield High School Handbell Ensemble
The Westfield High School Handbell Ensemble was begun as an initiative to better coordinate muscial activities of Westfield Academy and Central School with the Westfield community. As three area churches had handbell choirs for young people, the music faculty at the school decided that this could be an appropriate expression of the recreational instruments component of high school general music classes and offer students a musical skill that has immediate community use.
The Westfield High School Handbell Ensemble is made up of students in high school general music electives including Music In Our Lives, Foundations of Music, Music Theory I and Music Theory II. Westfield Central School District has a long history of supporting a comprehensive music program in a high school with around 240 students grades 9-12.
Other performing ensembles include the high school band, mixed chorus, and three chamber choirs, all of whom participate in NYSSMA majors evaluations and have all consistently received gold or gold with distinction awards at levels 4, 5 and 6. Up
to five percent of Westfield?s total graduating seniors have been members of NYSSMA all-state ensembles in a given year. At least twenty percent of the graduating class has completed a Regents sequence in music each year for the past ten years.
Current enrolloment in music electives , band and choir is 65 percent of the total high school population. As part of the
high school general music curriculum, each student is not only a member of a performing handbell ensemble , but also part of a steel drum ensemble and an American/Celtic traditional string band.
The handbell ensemble is open without audition to any student in the high school who takes a music elective. Besides regular community performances, The Westfield High School handbell ensemble has also performed at Chautauqua Institution. They specialize in transcriptions of classical works for handbells, arrangements of folksongs and original compositions. The ensemble is directed by Kent Knappenberger and performs on one five octave and one two octave set of Malmark handbells.