The EAST TEXAS HANDBELL ENSEMBLE under the direction of Arnold Sherman is a professional group with fifteen members and was formed in 1994 to provide ringers in the Tyler area with an opportunity to advance their ringing skills and broaden their knowledge of handbell literature. Since that time the group has performed numerous concerts throughout the Dallas-East Texas area and other venues across the USA. In 1996 and 1998 the ensemble rang the opening concerts for the AGEHR (American Guild of Handbell Ringers) Area IX Festival/Conference in San Antonio, Texas and the AGEHR Area XI Festival/Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, respectively. In January 2000 the East Texas Handbell Ensemble was one of ten ensembles to give a Showcase Concert during Pinnacle 2000, a handbell event for advanced ringers held in Las Vegas, Nevada. January 2001 and 2003, the ensemble was showcased as the premier concert at the Handbell Exploration in Hershey, Pennsylvania and in June 2002 the group performed concerts in Reno, Nevada, Grass Valley and Stockton, California. The group has also presented concerts in Little Rock and Texarkana, Arkansas, Pinnacle 2004 Dallas, Texas, the 2005 HEB Handbell Festival, Hurst, Texas, and Lombard, River Forest & Downers Grove, Illinois. East Texas Handbell Ensemble has also been feature as the annual Christmas concert on the Tyler Community Concert Association's concert series for the past four years and has already been invited to appear on the 2008 series.
Dedicated to advancing the art of English Handbell ringing, the group performs on 4 1/2 octaves of Malmark and 1 octave of Schulmerich bells, 7 octaves of Malmark Choirchimes and often incorporates various percussive and woodwind instruments into its performances which help to create the group’s unique and dynamic style of musical interpretation.
Equally at home ringing sacred and secular repertoire, ETHE has dedicated a large share of its’ programming to American music, ringing everything from spirituals & folk hymns to ragtime, movie & show tunes. ETHE's first CD, Cafe' Noel, was released in the spring of 2005. In addition to concertizing, the group has done demonstration recordings for Hope Publishing, Red River Music, Alfred Publishing Company, Bechenhorst Press and Concordia Publishing House.