MHE announces new director!
The Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble (MHE) is pleased to name Kaethe Grabenhofer its new musical director. Grabenhofer has more than 25 years of handbell ringing experience and is driven to inspire and help others find inspiration in music. She believes in the power of music and brings music to a variety of audiences from senior centers to educational settings.
Grabenhofer has traveled to three continents in order to make music in different environments and with different people, with new experiences each time. This has shown her how people can communicate musically across language barriers. Through all of these experiences, she is eager to share music of other cultures to enable people to better understand the world around them and to engage them in the human musical experience.
Tracey Bowers, president of MHE, said, “I am very excited to have Kaethe Grabenhofer lead the Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble as our next Musical Director. She has many great ideas on where to take the group both physically and musically. I look forward to reaching out to more audiences with Kaethe leading MHE as we move into the future.”
“I am profoundly honored to lead the Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble in the position of Musical Director and very much look forward to working with these fine musicians to further enrich our community with handbell music,” said Grabenhofer. “I have always admired their innovation and precise ringing and hope than I can help contribute to MHE’s success and continued leadership in inspiring others.”
Grabenhofer enjoys teaching music and playing the organ at First Immanuel Lutheran School in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Her educational background includes an MA in Music Education from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and a BA in education and music from Concordia University in
Wisconsin. She holds a master teacher’s license in Wisconsin, Orff Master’s certificate, Kodaly levels and is a National Board Certified teacher.
Events at a Glance
Due to the COVID-19 virus we have been thinking about the safety of our ringers and our audiences and have decided to postpone our in-person concerts until further notice. We will keep our website updated with new dates, as they become available.
If you are interested in ringing with MHE, please send a message on the contact us page and we will let you know when our next auditions will be scheduled.
MHE has released a CD entitled An MHE Christmas Celebration! It would make a great gift for any of your music-loving family and friends!
Send us a message on our Contact Us page if you would like to purchase a CD or two.
We also encourage you to take some time to browse our website and learn what makes the Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble a unique musical group that plays a unique musical instrument. Visit the "About" page to learn of our history, ringers and directors! Take a glimpse of MHE behind-the-scenes by visiting our "Galleries" page! You may hear the magnificent sounds that handbells create by listening to audio recordings, such as What is this Lovely Fragrance arranged by Fred Gramann or watch a video recording of MHE in action as we perform Tin-Tin-A-Rumba by Andrew Duncan.
Not only can you hire us to perform for a special event or party of yours, we also provide traveling workshops to achieve our mission of "… educating, inspiring and informing others on the art form." Contact us for more information!
"Your group is something very special. Yes, it's entertainment and there's nothing wrong with that. But entertainment works when you can back it up with great playing. You were artistic, detailed, technically flawless, amazing."
~ By noted composer, Kevin McChesney, handbell music composer, arranger, director and editor, following our performance at the National Seminar closing concert for the Handbell Musicians of America in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (2018)
"The Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble has become a highly anticipated and much loved part of our Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops tradition. MHE’s ringers are a talented, professional group that bring tremendous joy and energy to every performance."
~ By Mark Niehaus, MSO president and executive director, following our performance with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at their Holiday Pops concert. (2017)
"Our Concert Series has brought a variety of artists to Rockford for eleven years. Without a doubt, Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble's performance was one of the best. MHE was great to work with and the variety of music they offered was a big hit with our audience. We received many, many positive comments. On a scale of 1 to 10, MHE is an 11!"
~ By Martha Rolf, Concert Series Committee of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rockford, IL following our concert. (2017)
"The Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble, led by director John Behnke for one number, performed several times, including an unconducted, memorized number from the lip of the stage. They played with spirit, precision, and the almost balletic grace the bells require."
~ By Elaine Schmidt, Special to the Journal Sentinel, following our performance with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at their Holiday Pops concert. (2015)