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Headwaters Handbell Choir Performs with Heart and Soul

On Wednesday, June 5th, the Headwaters Handbell Choir performed “Christmas in June” at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Bemidji. The concert kicked off the 2024 Summer Recital Series presented by the Bemidji Area Church Musicians. While this performance took place in a church, the Handbell Choir is unique in that it is not affiliated with a specific church, rather they function as an independent music group with their home at Headwaters Music & Arts.

Directors Carol Johnson and Vicki Stenerson have been ringing handbells together since the late 1980’s. They have a clear passion and dedication to this art form, which carries through to the entire group of fourteen bell ringers. They form a close-knit community of musicians who gather to practice and perform ‘for the love of the bells.’ Their June concert certainly spread that joy to the audience.

The set list for this year’s “Christmas in June” performance contained some classic favorites, like “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” and “Deck the Halls.” But the concert provided a few surprises, like a vocal piece sung gorgeously by bell ringers Jennifer Johnson and Steven Mayer,  accompanied on piano by Carol Johnson, as well as an arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that was beautifully captivating. Their entire performance showed the Headwaters Handbell Choir to be a multi-generational group of multi-talented musicians, with a wide repertoire and big heart.

The group is now on summer hiatus, but their schedule of weekly Thursday evening practices will resume in the fall. New members are welcome to join – no bell experience is necessary. Current ringers will teach and coach new ringers as they develop their skills. For more information about the handbell choir visit our website or call 218-444-5606 x4.

In the meantime, a video of the Handbell Choir performing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on June 5th is viewable on the Headwaters Music & Arts YouTube channel.

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Headwaters Brings Bluegrass Jam to Bemidji

Get Ready for a Bluegrass Blast in Bemidji!

Dive into the toe-tapping world of Bluegrass music at this Headwaters Music & Arts weekend extravaganza! We’re rolling out the red carpet for musicians eager to master the vibrant Bluegrass Jam format. Whether you’re a novice fiddler or a seasoned player, come join the fun and experience the magic of Bluegrass in Bemidji.

Introduction to Bluegrass Jam

  • Saturday, June 27, 3:00-5:00pm: Jam Session
  • Sunday, June 28, 11:00am-2:00pm: Potluck & Jam Session

Location: Headwaters Music & Arts, 519 Minnesota Ave NW, Bemidji MN
Suggested Donation: $10 per session
RSVP: Appreciated but not required
Contact: 218-444-5606 |

The weekend’s sessions will be led by the talented Bill Cagley, an award-winning musician known for his engaging and supportive teaching style. Bill will guide participants through basic chord progressions and help them gain confidence playing backup on songs they may never have encountered before. With his expertise in guitar, mandolin, banjo, and harmonica, Bill’s sessions are sure to be enlightening and fun. Bemidji’s own musical talents, Sawyer Corcoran and Corey Campbell, will be joining Bill, adding their expertise and enthusiasm to the mix.

Saturday’s Jam Session is a fantastic opportunity for musicians of all ages who play the mandolin, banjo, guitar, violin, viola, cello, ukulele, or bass to get their feet wet in the world of Bluegrass. Even if you’re new to fiddling, we welcome you to bring your instrument and join the session! Sunday’s Potluck and Jam Session combines the joy of music with the delight of community dining, so bring a dish to share along with your instrument. This exciting weekend is made possible in part by the Minnesota State Fiddlers Association, dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of fiddling.

For more information about Bill Cagley, visit You’ll find that Bill is not only a versatile musician but also a captivating performer who brings folk, country, and old-time music to life.

Since 1992, Headwaters Music & Arts has been a cornerstone of the Bemidji community, offering a wide range of music and art programs. Don’t miss our popular Headwaters Fiddle Camp from June 17-21, another fantastic opportunity to dive into the world of music.

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Headwaters Music Dedication Scholarship for Current and Returning Music Students

Headwaters Music Dedication Scholarship applications are due July 21. This scholarship is for students entering grades 2-12 who have attended music lessons at Headwaters for at least one year and will continue to do so into the coming year.

To encourage and reward hard work and commitment to studying music, Headwaters has established three – $300 scholarships to be awarded for one-on-one music lessons. Selection is based on student commitment and demonstrated interest and personal investment in music instruction. This scholarship is available for for youth grades 2-12 who have you attended music lessons at Headwaters one year or more. Those selected are expected to:

• Attend lessons regularly through August 2024
• Come prepared to lessons with music, notebook and instrument
• Demonstrate diligent practice habits
• Actively participate in lessons and recitals
• Participate in volunteer activities during the program year, a minimum of 4 hours. Activities may include an outreach performance, mentoring other students during a summer camp, or helping out at an event. Hours may be fulfilled by an adult on behalf of elementary age students.

The application deadline is Friday, July 21 at 5 pm for those registered for music lessons for the 2023-24 year. You will be notified on or before Friday, August 4, 2023. 

Apply here.