LISA ARNOLD started ringing in 1976 with the Wesley Bell Ringers of Salt Lake City, Utah. More recently, Lisa has rung with Bay Bells in California from 2004-2010 and with the Merrimack Valley Ringers in Massachusetts since 2010. She has rung handbells in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces, as well as Italy, France, Spain, and the UK. Lisa has taught workshops on a variety of topics at many Area 1 events. As a co-organizer of BFF WHOA/New England, Lisa often uses attendees as test subjects for new workshop ideas.  She spends her free time traveling, learning Italian, and riding her bicycles.



A native of the Jersey Shore, LYNN GARY ATKINS, JR., enjoys a career as a conductor, professional tenor, and music educator. Lynn’s first foray into handbells was as a member of the Training Bell Choir at Westminster Choir College of Rider University during his freshman year. In 2002, he became a member of the Westminster Concert Bell Choir. After graduation, Lynn resurrected the handbell program at Ewing High School in New Jersey, a program that is still engaged in promoting musicianship through handbells for high school students now more than 20 years. Equally comfortable in community music and sacred music, Lynn has been proud to serve as artistic director for the James River Ringers of Richmond, Virginia as well as the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble. He has directed handbell programs for churches in New Jersey and Virginia.

Lynn received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Westminster in 2004. He is proud to be a member of the first cohort to be named Doctor of Musical Arts from James Madison University in 2012. Currently, Dr. Atkins serves as assistant professor of music, director of choral activities and voice area coordinator at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. In addition to these duties, he is also director of music ministries at Faith United Methodist Church in Torrance, California. In 2022, Lynn became the third artistic director of L.A. Bronze Handbell Ensemble in Los Angeles. Finally, he is honored to serve as member at large on the national board of directors for Handbell Musicians of America.


BRENDA AUSTIN is in demand nationally as a conductor and clinician because of her dynamic and energetic approach to connecting musicians through handbells. In 2019, Brenda joined the team at Hope Publishing Company in Carol Stream, Illinois as editor. In 2023, she was named music director for Embellish handbell ensemble. Before joining Embellish, she served as the artistic director for the Detroit Handbell Ensemble since 2016. Under her baton, DHE was honored to open the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar in 2018 and be the featured concert for HMA’s Area 2 2019 Festival in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Additionally, she has served First United Methodist Church in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, as director of music since 2003. She is also active in the community directing Children’s musical theatre.

Brenda graduated with degrees in vocal performance from Western Michigan University and a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She studied with Craig Arnold, Steve Zegree and Eph Ehly. For more information about Brenda, please visit her website at


RON BELLAMY began ringing handbells in 1979 and has been a performer and clinician for Handbell Exploration, Solo/Ensemble Extravaganza (SEE), and Handbell Musicians of America. A former member of the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble, he is now their artistic director. He is a solo handbell artist and was the solo ringing clinician at the 2019 HMA National Seminar in St. Louis as well as the 2023 HMA Area 2 festival. Ron is presently directing two handbell choirs at two Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area churches. He has conducted several massed ringing festivals including, most recently, the 2024 Toms River Handbell Festival and the 2024 Virginia Bronze Ring in Spring Festival.  A graduate of the University of Scranton and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, his full-time employment is in the field of accounting and finance.


STEVIE BERRYMAN can’t whistle. But she makes fantastic pesto, and she can fold a fitted sheet. Likewise, her skills as music director and teacher have also been acquired through long hours of arduous and dedicated practice. For much of her career, Stevie has directed seven or more ensembles each week, meaning she has 114 years of experience (in dog years). Her effusive energy and wild creativity found a perfect setting in 2013 when she became the artistic director of the Houston Chamber Ringers, which has let her smash together her love for music, laughter, and tacos in a truly remarkable way. She has a particular passion for teaching beginners how to ring, and her innovative, play-based methods have made her a sought-after educator and clinician at area, national, and international handbell festivals. Stevie serves as the handbell director at First Congregational Church Houston, Texas, and co-leads Rocket Bells in League City, Texas. She loves helping other choirs as a private clinician or planning epic concerts for them as a creative consultant. She and her husband, Paul, are co-owners of Truly Horrible Things, a snarky card game company, even though her mother always told her that no one would ever pay her to be sarcastic.


LAURA BLAUCH discovered a passion for the art of bell tree ringing after taking classes at past National Seminars, which led to studying privately with Barbara Brocker.  She has performed at local churches in worship and last year played in the closing concert for Into the Forest, a bell tree focused event.  In addition to bell trees, Laura has been conducting handbell choirs for over 20 years, studying with Dr. William Payn through the HMA Master Series and also attaining the highest level of the HMA Conducting Certification program.  She has conducted festivals in North Carolina and Virginia, was a finalist in the 2019 Distinctly Bronze Associate Conductor program, and conducted solo pieces with an ad hoc choir at International Handbell Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee.  She is currently the director of Queen City Ringers, an auditioned community ensemble in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Laura has over 30 years of experience as a ringer, participating in multiple Distinctly Bronze and Virtuoso events, and has taught a variety of classes at area festivals and in private workshops.  She has served as the historian and membership chair for Area 3, the Certification Program coordinator for HMA, and is currently the Scholarship Chair for Area 3.  Laura holds a B. A. in sacred music with a concentration in voice from Lebanon Valley College.  As a singer, she has been a church choir member for most of her life and has performed with choirs at Wolf Trap, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and in Europe.  Laura retired from her financial analyst position at HP last year after a 35-year career with that company, so when not making music, she is exploring hiking trails and taking riding lessons on a sweet horse named McKenzie.  Laura lives in Mooresville, North Carolina, with her husband, Dave (also a ringer!), and their 3 cats.


JACK BURDWOOD has had a passion for handbells ever since she found the “Handbell Harmony” minigame on Wii Music in 2008. Four years later, she began ringing for audiences instead of high scores with the Wittenberg University Handbell Choir, while also picking up her bachelor’s degree in percussion performance on the side. Today, Jack is an accomplished handbell ringer and freelance percussionist, having performed in the past with the Austin Handbell Ensemble, the Austin Klezmer Bund, and the Austin Civic Orchestra. Currently, she performs with the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble and the Pennsylvania Symphonic Winds. Jack shares her love of music and percussion with others through teaching at marching band programs, clinics, after school programs, and private lessons throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She’s very excited to be sharing it with you as well.


SUSAN CAPESTRO loves inviting young pianists to evoke anything with their music, even a waterfall in the room! Grammy-winning jazz artist and former student Steven Feifke says, “It was one of the greatest gifts that could possibly have happened for my career … she really embraces everybody at their level.” Playing Rachmaninov’s Elégie and jazzy blues at one piano conference, Susan inspired a whole crowd of teachers to chant: “1a, 2a, 3kati4kati … !” to discover how unpacking a seemingly complex rhythm can become both easy and fulfilling. A seasoned workshop leader (Music Teachers National Association and National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, e.g.), she encourages audience participation.

Director of music at the UCC church in Bedford, Massachusetts, Susan also plays with Merrimack Valley Ringers (MVR). An independent studio teacher, she is “tremendously innovative … inspiring and motivating” says Linda Holzer, professor of music at University of Arkansas. Susan holds music education and performance degrees from Ithaca College, with an MM in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern. She studied jazz with Charlie Banacos for eight years, as well as Indian and West African music that underlies and informs jazz. She integrated this diversity by touring on keyboards with master drummer Ibrahima Camara and playing piano with swing bands and symphony players. She has composed music for Hit or Miss, Salvation Army, Boston Scientific and Upjohn, and published articles in The American Music Teacher and Clavier Companion. MVR premiered Susan’s Roslyn Castle at the 2023 Boston Handbell Festival.


ERIK DER is a lifelong handbell musician who loves the instrument for its emphasis on ensemble, movement, and rich sonic textures. He is an active director, ringer, and clinician in Orange County and Los Angeles, California, and has experience directing a variety of age groups (middle school, high school, college, adult). He is currently the director of handbell activities at Concordia University Irvine, where he directs the Spirit Bells ensemble, teaches handbell pedagogy and directing, instructs private lessons, manages national tours, and runs the annual handbell invitationals and festivals in partnership with his colleague Alex Guebert. He additionally serves on the Area 12 board for Handbell Musicians of America, directs handbells at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange, performs with the Cathedral Bells of St. John’s Lutheran in Orange, and is a founding member of the Handbell Renaissance septet in Irvine, California.


MITCHELL EITHUN is a church musician, composer, and mathematician. He has over 60 published pieces of handbell music and has received commissions from community and church handbell ensembles. Mitchell is interested in developing innovative handbell rehearsal techniques and writing about the history of church music. Mitchell holds a B.A. in mathematics and computer science and a minor in music from Ripon College (Ripon, Wisconsin) and an M.S. in computational mathematics, science and engineering from Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan). Currently he is pursuing an MDiv at Duke Divinity School (Durham, North Carolina) and serves as a carillonneur at Duke Chapel. Mitchell previously served as handbell director at the First Presbyterian Church of Holt, digital ministry intern at University Lutheran Church and pastoral intern at Campus Edge Fellowship. In his spare time, he enjoys learning the carillon and traveling to new places.



SANDRA EITHUN, M.M.Ed., is a graduate of Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, with an emphasis in the Kodály teaching method, keyboard, and flute. She is currently on the faculty of Valley Troubadours of Appleton and at Holy Family Conservatory of Music in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, leading the handbell program for both schools. She served as director of music ministry, handbell director, children’s choir director, organist, and choral accompanist at First Congregational United Church of Christ in New London, Wisconsin, from 1992-2021, and directed the Silver Lake College Handbell Ensemble from 2009-2020. Sandra has over 600 pieces for handbells in publication as well as several sacred keyboard books and teaching collections for the incorporation of handbells in the music classroom. Sandra’s compositions have been recently featured on the PBS Christmas special Holiday Handbells as well as concerts by noted groups across the country including The Raleigh Ringers and The Bells on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. She continues to work as a handbell clinician and conductor at numerous festivals and workshops throughout the United States.


GILLIAN ERLENBORN is the choral director and musical theatre teacher at Frelinghuysen Middle School, in Morristown, New Jersey. Gillian utilizes handbells and handchimes in her vocal ensemble curriculum to better engage her students in a full body and literacy based musical education. Gillian graduated from Westminster Choir College in 2018 with both a Bachelor of Music in music education and a Master of Arts in teaching. She also directs the handbell choir and children’s choir at Middlebush Reformed Church in Middlebush, New Jersey. Gillian is proud to serve on the national board of Handbell Musicians of America.

A native Texan relocated to Colorado, NIKKI EVANS has played other instruments (including piano, guitar, and knowing what the little buttons do on an accordion), but found her passion when she discovered the art of handbell ringing. She jumped in with both feet, immersing herself in the handbell world however she could. As a soloist, she has presented several concerts and contributed music to numerous worship services in Texas and Colorado, and she was honored to perform at National Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2021. Nikki has coached handbell soloists and has taught workshops for church and community handbell groups in Colorado Springs. She was on faculty for National Seminar in 2023 and is excited to be back in 2024.


A native Texan relocated to Colorado, NIKKI EVANS has played other instruments (including piano, guitar, and knowing what the little buttons do on an accordion), but found her passion when she discovered the art of handbell ringing. She jumped in with both feet, immersing herself in the handbell world however she could. As a soloist, she has presented several concerts and contributed music to numerous worship services in Texas and Colorado, and she was honored to perform at National Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2021. Nikki has coached handbell soloists and has taught workshops for church and community handbell groups in Colorado Springs. She was on faculty for National Seminar in 2023 and is excited to be back in 2024.



GRIFF GALL is the founding artistic director of the Back Bay Ringers, one of New England’s premier handbell ensembles. Under his direction, the ensemble has performed throughout the Greater Boston area and has developed a reputation for their musically sensitive performances. He has collaborated with many of the area’s finest musical organizations including the Handel and Haydn Society, New England Conservatory Choral Department, the Boston Children’s Chorus, and the Boston Pops. Griff is an elementary music and movement specialist in the town of Danvers, Massachusetts. He earned a Bachelor of Music in music education from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Music in Education from Boston University, and received his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Education Leadership from Salem State University. He is frequently invited as a guest clinician and conductor, leading workshops in handbell pedagogy, conducting, and Orff Schulwerk for  local and national handbell and music education and handbell conferences. He is the co-author of Ring, Dance, Play, First Experiences with Choirchimes and Orff Schulwerk, published by GIA. Griff is the recipient of the Donna Nagel Award for his contributions to the field of General Music from the Massachusetts Music Educators Association and the Spotlight Award from the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement.


MICHAEL J. GLASGOW is a native of Michigan and cannot believe that 2024 marks 30 years since he last raised and lowered the flag at his high school (not to mention started college, found his “tribe,” and realized that the bullies who picked on him for being the “flag kid” were simply not worth the energy). After a full-time church-music career spanning more than 23 years, Michael now freelances full-time. Heralded for his “abundant melodic gift” (New York Concert Review), Michael is an award-winning composer of organ, handbell, and choral works, and keeps busy with commissions. He is deeply committed to his craft, and proud that each piece he writes has a story and a purpose behind it.

Michael made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting his Requiem for chorus and orchestra in June 2017, and conducted its European premiere in Vienna in June 2019. More than 160 engagements also have brought him to three dozen states, as well as England, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, and a cruise ship in the Eastern Caribbean.  In June 2022, he returned to the podium in Carnegie Hall to conduct the world premiere of his Gloria for chorus and orchestra.  “The more people I meet through music,” he says, “the smaller the world becomes.” He serves as the bass section leader of the North Carolina Master Chorale, the chorus conductor of the Tar River Orchestra and Chorus (Rocky Mount, North Carolina), and in early 2024 was named a principal guest conductor of Singapore’s Ministry of Bellz. Visit and @MichaelJGlasgow on YouTube for more information and samples of his work.


PAMELA “P.L.” GROVE has been a handbell ringer and director for more than 45 years. As a founding ringer with the critically acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble, her more notable performances included those with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Kronos Quartet, Frederica von Stade, and twice on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. She served as artistic director for Velocity Handbell Ensemble for over 20 years, has rung at several Distinctly Bronze events, was the Distinctly Bronze West chair from 2014 to 2016, represented the United States as the director at the 18th International Handbell Symposium in Australia, and rang in the inaugural Zenith event in 2023. She is one of only a few people to have completed a bachelor’s degree in handbell performance and is a past president of Handbell Musicians of America. Retired from her work as a government public information officer, P.L. currently works as a church vocal choir director and spends as much time as possible making music.


DAVID M. HARRIS has been the director of The Raleigh Ringers (Raleigh, North Carolina) since January of 1990, when he was instrumental in the formation of the group. Under his leadership, The Raleigh Ringers have performed across much of the United States; in France and England; on International Television on the Hour of Power program; as a showcase choir for Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar and Area Festivals; with the North Carolina and Virginia Symphony Orchestras; and as special guest performers at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. David is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has studied conducting privately with Dr. William Payn (Bucknell University). David has led well over 200 handbell festivals and workshops in 39 states as well as in England, Puerto Rico, Canada and the Caribbean. He has also been the primary handbell clinician for several denominational music events, including Montreat (North Carolina), Lake Junaluska (North Carolina), Lutheridge (North Carolina), Mo-Ranch (Texas), Massanetta (Virginia) and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (Kentucky). David is an adjunct professor at Meredith College in Raleigh, where he leads the Meredith College Ringers. He also conducts the educational groups sponsored by The Raleigh Ringers, The Millbrook Ringers and The Atlantic Ringers.


CHARLOTTE HERBSTSOMER began her handbell journey while teaching elementary school music in Maryland. Since then, she has enjoyed ringing in advanced handbell choirs in Maryland and New York, and has served as music/handbell director for over 17 years at churches in Maryland. Charlotte was awarded a set of handchimes from the loan/grant program in Area 2 and learned to combine her love for teaching music with her love of handbells. Over the next few years, she worked to discover ways that handchimes and other non-traditional instruments like boomwhackers could be used in a music curriculum. Students of all ages/abilities loved using these instruments. After retiring in 2020, she moved to Rochester, New York. She continues to share the joy of handbells through both performing and teaching. Her latest classes include advanced handbell techniques for adults and beginning ringing for homeschool/private school students. On the side, she dabbles in arranging music for handbells.


RICK HOLDSWORTH has dedicated his career to sharing music with the public as a vocalist, instrumentalist, director, arranger, and music educator. His love of music began at an early age, and grew as a member of his high school marching band. After graduation, he began his first professional music career in the U.S. Navy. During his 30 years of service, Rick performed in, managed, and directed Navy bands around the world. After retiring as a master chief, he began his second career in music ministry. For more than 20 years now, Rick has been leading an extensive music ministry, including vocal and handbell choirs of all ages and skill levels, as the director of music at Pine Shores Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, Florida.

A recognized expert in all facets of handbell music and operations, Rick has been an enthusiastic member of the handbell music community for nearly four decades. In 2009, Rick founded Ring Sarasota, an advanced handbell community ensemble, and continues to lead the organization as principal conductor. He has been an invited guest conductor and clinician at handbell conferences and festivals throughout the southeast and has published handbell arrangements and orchestrations with five different music publishers to-date. His first handbell arrangement, a complete transcription of “Jupiter” from The Planets, was published by From the Top Music and selected for performance at Distinctly Bronze East 2015, an event he has participated in for a decade. When not creating handbell music, he works behind-the-scenes as the Florida Handbell Doctor repairing, adjusting, refurbishing, and cleaning handbell sets for organizations throughout the southeast.  In his spare time, he can be found tinkering with his Lionel O-Gauge model train layout.


BETH JUDD is retired from full-time music and arts ministry after years of conducting singing and ringing choirs with children, youth and adults, overseeing liturgical dance and art gallery ministries, and developing concert series. She served as music chairman and later as president of AGEHR, and has proudly been attending AGEHR/HMA events since 1965. She also served as president of the Greater Dallas Handbell Association, secretary/treasurer for Area 9 AGEHR, associate conductor of the Dallas Handbell Ensemble, and the first conductor and artistic director of Concert Bells of Fort Worth. Beth continues as conductor and clinician for seminars, festivals, and denominational worship and music conferences.  She conducted the 2015 HMA Distinctly Bronze East and the 2021 Distinctly Bronze West events, as well as at the International Symposium in Toronto. Beth is also honored and humbled to serve as a volunteer for Hospice Austin in patient care and family bereavement.


KEVIN MAZIMAS KO graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and Master of Arts (MA) degrees in music composition from Hong Kong Baptist University in 2001 and 2003 respectively. He also obtained his Master of Church Music from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2005. He founded the Asia Handbell Music Centre and has instructed seminars in Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Malaysia. Kevin has been directing school handbell choirs for 23 years and has been developing his very unique classroom handbell methods with Miss Chan Cheuk Yiu since 2010. He is also a published composer and soloist. Kevin was a clinician at the 2016 Vancouver International Handbell Symposium and the Handbell Ringers of Japan 40th Anniversary event. He was also the Hong Kong selected Mass Ringing Conductor at the 2018 Cairns IHS and will be the Hong Kong conductor in 2024 IHS in Japan. He is currently the chairman of Hong Kong Asia International Handbell Association, the artistic director of Asia Handbell Music Centre, Malmark Handbells, Inc. Hong Kong representative, the director and founder of Hong Kong Elite Youth Ringers, and the handbell examiner of London College of Music Examinations.


LESLIE LEWIS has been ringing handbells since 1979 when she was introduced to them at the Montreat Worship and Music Conference. She has been ringing in the bass section for Distinctly Bronze East since the event began in 1999, participated in the Distinctly Bronze European Tour in 2007, and added Distinctly Bronze West in 2019 & 2021. She has rung low bass in many area and national All Star Choirs and rang low bass at Virtuoso 2017, 2019, & 2022 sharing the stage with the Raleigh Ringers for the final concert. In 2022 Leslie crossed Bay View Week of Handbells off her bucket list and will continue to participate when the International Handbell Symposium doesn’t conflict with the dates. Leslie had the honor of travelling to Singapore in 2023 as a Foreign Guest Ringer with the Ministry of Bells (MOB) and will be ringing with MOB at the 21st International Handbell Symposium in Hamamatsu, Japan in August.

Leslie enjoys substituting for choirs in the Gastonia/Charlotte and Wilmington/Myrtle Beach areas and assisting The Raleigh Ringers with demo recordings. She also dabbles in solo ringing. Having added the lower 6th and 7th octave chimes to her growing set of handbell “toys,” she hopes to offer her services to add the lower chimes for groups that don’t have them. After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in computer science, Leslie worked for IBM and First Union National Bank for a combined 15 years before turning a part-time role preparing income taxes into a career. Leslie is currently president of Unified Income Taxes and Accounting, Inc., in Gastonia, North Carolina, where she prepares all types of tax returns and, as an enrolled agent, represents clients during IRS tax audits and appeals.


Trained as a military and theatre percussionist and Yamaha Electone musician, DAMIEN LIM is founder and music director of the award-winning MINISTRY OF BELLZ from Singapore. percussion and handbells have led him to perform, teach, and adjudicate in over 20 countries, including the USA, Japan, Egypt, Canada, Australia, South Korea, the UK, Hong Kong, Ireland, Turkey, Ireland, and France, to name a few. Damien is a fellow of the London College of Music (UK). He holds a Master of Music (performance) from the University of West London – London College of Music (UK), and was recently awarded the title of doctor of letters (honoris causa) by ATU in 2022 for his work in handbell music development in Singapore. He is currently pursuing his second Master of Music (leadership) at the National University of Singapore – Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. Damien directs advanced handbell teams at five schools and is consultant for eight other school ensembles. He is also executive director of the Handbell Ringers of Singapore (HRSG). A firm believer of creative excellence thru handbell music, he contributes actively to the development of handbell standards in Singapore through his tireless work with students, youths, persons with special needs and his colleagues. He constantly seeks to be “purposeful in pursuit of excellence.” Get to know more about Damian at


MARIE M. LOEFFLER enjoyed a successful career as a professional dancer, choreographer, and studio owner.  When she transitioned to arts administration, she discovered handbells and a new way to bring music to life.  Never looking back, Marie has earned the moniker of Belldancer for her graceful performances as a solo ringer. Her popular workshops include myriad technique and performance topics. In addition to her handbell achievements, Marie holds a degree in behavioral sciences and is a certified life purpose and career coach.  She is a popular speaker and workshop presenter known for her original Ringing True series, which helps professional women rediscover their creativity, increase their confidence, and strengthen their leadership skills.  Her bells frequently share the stage at her speaking gigs and add a unique twist to each presentation, thus creating a one-of-a-kind an experience for her participants. As an active member of HMA for many years, Marie has served on the boards for both Area 1 and Area 4. She is certified in Levels 1-3 handbell techniques and is accredited handbell techniques Level 1 faculty.  Marie currently lives in Melbourne, Florida, where she continues to ring as a soloist, introduces bells to every new venue she can find, and serves as manager for the bell choir at Eastminster Presbyterian Church where she is pushing the ringers outside of their comfortable two bell box.


RON MALLORY has been playing, directing, and composing for handbells for nearly 30 years and has extensive experience working with handbell ensembles in the church, school, and community choir settings. Ron has more than 250 handbell pieces in print and has won several composition contests. He has served as guest conductor at numerous festivals and teaches regularly at local and national handbell conferences. In addition to his work as a composer/arranger, Ron runs Martellato Media, which produces handbell demos and music for multimedia projects, and Paraboloid Press, a music and arts publishing company. Outside of music, Ron’s primary interest is astronomy, and he is actively involved in space science education using his portable planetarium dome. Many of Ron’s musical compositions are written on astronomical themes. Ron has a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in music composition from California State University, Long Beach. He lives in Mulvane, Kansas, with his wife, Emily, and their children, Vivian, Miles, and Rigel. A lifelong Christian, Ron is always working to grow in his relationship with God. For more about Ron and his music, visit


BRUNA MARINHO DE ALMEIDA is an energetic handbell ringer, pianist, music teacher, and music therapist based in São Paulo, Brazil. She is the founder of Handbells Brasil, an organization that promotes the art of handbell ringing in Brazil through performance and education. Bruna is very active and creative on social media. She has many series of handbell videos on YouTube to engage people from all ages and spread the joy of handbells. She served in the music ministry of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, in Iowa City, Iowa, for six months in 2019, ringing bells, conducting the children’s handbell choir, and studying liturgical music. Bruna graduated from Catholic University of Santos in 2014 with a degree in music education and from a post-baccalaureate in music therapy in 2022 from Santa Marcelina College, through which she started working with elderly people doing sessions with handbells and handchimes. Currently she is pursuing a master’s degree in gerontology at University of São Paulo to investigate the effectiveness of the Yura Rhythm, which is a Japanese music method for older adults that she learned in Sendai, Japan, in 2023 through a scholarship from JICA – Japan International Cooperation Agency. Bruna works as a music therapist in Senior living and retirement centers utilizing handbells and handchimes as a music teacher at a Canadian School and promoting the art of bells in Brazil.


HILLARY MAROTTA first became a musician through piano and flute but fell in love with handbells at Bucknell University under the direction of William Payn while playing for the Rooke Chapel Ringers. Since then, she has reprised her role at her alma mater both as a ringer and conductor and played in church groups in Pennsylvania and Virginia. She has rung with the Hershey Handbell Ensemble and is a regular Distinctly Bronze attendee. She was a 2022 Virtuoso ringer with The Raleigh Ringers. She has studied conducting under the direction of William Payn both privately and through master classes. She currently conducts her own group of beginning level ringers and coordinates both Distinctly Teen at National Seminar and the College Ring-In for HMA. She obtained a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction specializing in adult education and has taught and trained adults in various settings. She looks forward to bringing those teaching skills to National Seminar.


DIANA MONTGOMERY has been an active handbell musician for more than 20 years.  She was a choir mom for Kirtsy Mitchell’s handbell choirs when her children were young and now directs the children’s and Chancel Bell ensembles at Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.  Diana also serves as the assistant organist and plays flute in the church orchestra.  In 2019, Diana became the director of the Brookwood Handbell Ensemble, a 17-member handbell ensemble founded by Linda McKechnie at the Brookwood Community, a residential community for disabled adults in Brookshire, Texas.  Diana joined the Houston Bronze Ensemble in 2021.  She also serves as treasurer for HMA Area 9 and is on the board of directors for the Greater Houston Handbell Association.  She has a degree in music education from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, with emphasis in flute and organ.  Diana retired from a career as a CPA in 2017 and now devotes her time to music, family and volunteer activities.


DANIEL K. MOORE of Rumford, Rhode Island, retired from teaching and directing the Concert Handbell Ringers of the Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island, after 37 years of service to the school. His auditioned high school ensemble toured annually throughout the US, Canada, and Bermuda, appeared frequently on television, performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and in opening concerts at both national and regional handbell festivals. Recordings include Joy To the World (Empire Brass), Inside Fessiwig’s (Ed Sweeney), and several solo Wheeler Concert Ringers’ CDs. He was a charter member of AGEHR/HMA’s committee to promote handbells in education and subsequently served the Area 1 and national AGEHR/HMA boards in many capacities.

Daniel has produced CD recordings for several of New England’s community handbell ensembles, including the Back Bay Ringers, the Shoreline Ringers, and the New England Ringers, where he has most recently served at their artistic director. He is a recipient of the Area 1 Margaret H. Shurcliff Leadership Award, which recognizes effective teaching, promoting healthy handbell ringing, organizing and promoting Area 1 handbell events, and mentoring ringers and directors new to the art of handbell ringing.


MARCI NUOFFER is proud to be the current chair of Area 12. She has participated in handbells for 38 years as a ringer and a conductor. After earning her BA in music, specializing in choral/handbell conducting in secondary education, from Concordia University in Irvine (California) in 1994, she continued conducting in the schools where she has taught. She currently teaches theology and handbells at Faith Lutheran Middle School and High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she conducts the middle school and high school handbell ensembles. In addition, she conducts her church handbell choir, which is a multi-generational group, and the newly formed Faith Lutheran Alumni Community Handbell Ensemble. She loves participating as an individual ringer at ringing events in Area 12 and at national events. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her family and travel.


JOEL PLAAG is the choir director at Cypress Creek Christian Church in Spring, Texas. He conducts the Cypress Creek Community Chorale, two handbell choirs, a children’s choir, and the Chancel Choir. After rediscovering a love of writing, he authored I’m a Choir Director, Singing in the Moment, and most recently, Caring for Your Choir. Dr. Plaag was choral director at multiple colleges in Texas and Arkansas while researching and publishing on conducting pedagogy. While teaching, he held positions as music director at First Christian Church of Grand Prairie, Texas; Holy Cross Lutheran Church of Houston, Texas; First Methodist Church of Brenham, Texas; and as quartet soloist at Temple Emanu-El of Livingston, New Jersey; and quartet soloist at Temple Emanu-El of Fort Worth, Texas. He founded the Batesville Choral Society and restarted the Brenham Chorale after a multi-decade hiatus. Currently, he also serves as cantor and pianist at Temple Israel in Schulenberg, Texas.

His major conducting professors include Professor Ronald Shirey, Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, and Dr. Charles Hausmann. He continued his conducting studies in Romania with Maestro Ovidiu Bãlan, Maestro Robert Gutter, and the Filarmonica “Mihail Jora” of Bacãu. Additionally, he studied organ with Dr. Linda Patterson and voice with Dr. Vincent Russo and Judith Gans. Dr. Plaag holds degrees from Texas Christian University, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Houston, where his dissertation was on using Laban Movement Theory in teaching conducting. He currently lives in Spring with his husband, Michael, and three dogs: Teddy, Freckles and Simon. On many weekends, you can find him working in his yard, fixing something in the garage, or writing.


DEBORAH RICE has been a university professor for 12 years in Canada for a school of music and faithfully served in music ministries for Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, United Methodist, and United Church congregations. She draws on her vast experience as a professional singer and choral conductor and her passion for teaching to encourage high standards for the handbell and handchime instrument. Debbie travels as clinician, adjudicator, and mass conductor that has included assignments in more than 20 countries. Her next international tour as mass conductor with Witte Travel and Tours will be in 2025. With Handbell Musicians of America, she has held elected offices on the national board as national secretary and national president and has served as Area chair. In 2014, she was awarded Honorary Life Membership, HMA’s highest honor. Debbie is also a past executive director of the International Handbell Committee.



SHARON SCHMIDT was a member of The Agape Ringers, an auditioned community handbell ensemble from the Chicago area, for 30 years and is past chair for Area 8. She previously directed multiple handbell ensembles at Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton, Illinois, served on the Area 8-Illinois State Committee from 1994-2021, was chair for 11 Distinctly Bronze events, served as Area 8 treasurer for four years, and was the Certification Program coordinator for five years.  Now living in the Denver, Colorado, area, Sharon is the substitute director for the Rocky Mountain Ringers.  Her handbell teaching experience includes numerous local events, events in Areas 1, 5, 7, 8, and 10, multiple National Seminars, a National Festival, and the International Handbell Symposium in 2008.




BRIAN SEEMANN is the director of handbell ensembles at the Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, and the music director of Virginia Bronze. He has been music director of the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble and the New England Ringers, and has performed with Sonos Handbell Ensemble, Back Bay Ringers, and the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble. Brian is also a published composer and has served as faculty, clinician, and conductor around the US as well as at several International Handbell Symposiums.  His ensembles have been invited to perform at Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar three times in 2016, 2019, and 2024.  In addition to being a ringing member, he also serves on the board of Sonos Handbell Ensemble.  Along with Nick Hanson, Brian is the co-host of Two Tacos High, a handbell podcast.


MICHÈLE SHARIK rings professionally with Sonos Handbell Ensemble, is the founding artistic director of Timbré, and is an internationally-renowned handbell soloist, conductor, and teacher. She has played, taught, and/or conducted bells in 39 US states and 9 countries. She designed and is the master teacher of the handbell techniques curriculum for HMA’s certification program. In addition to degrees in computer programming, visual and performing arts, and music technology, she has a master’s certificate in performing arts medicine and is a fervent “evangelist” for safe ringing techniques.



JENNIFER STACK is the current Area 1 chair, and Area 1 Chime Loan Program coordinator.  She also sits on the education committee for the board of Handbell Musicians of America.  She began ringing bells in 2013 at the invitation of a work colleague, and “fell in deep” when she joined Merrimack Valley Ringers in 2018.  Jennifer currently directs an adult handbell choir and a children’s chime and vocal choir for the Holy Rood Collaborative. Her passion is handbell education and spreading the word that handbells are an amazing instrument for music education.  Her overarching philosophy is that if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.




JOY TOLL-CHANDLER has been playing and directing handbells since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music and a Master’s in Church Music (handbell emphasis) from Concordia University. She has two pieces published by AGEHR Publishing and has a goal of doing much more composing. She was also accredited as a faculty instructor for Level 1 Handbell Certification in theory and conducting. Joy is currently the director of the handbell choir of the Congregational Church in Cumberland (Maine).  Having retired from full-time pastoral ministry, she and her husband, Paul, are happily settled in Maine and enjoy time with family, traveling, visiting lighthouses, and doing puzzles.




GREG URBAN lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with his husband and dog. He currently rings with the Back Bay Ringers in Boston, Massachusetts, and has previously rung with Bells of the Cascades (Portland, Oregon) and Sonos Handbell Ensemble (Oakland, California). When not ringing or arranging handbells, he facilitates team building and group development for groups using a high ropes course. He is always looking for the next pop/rock piece to arrange for bells and figuring out how he can get unique sounds out of our quirky instrument.




ANDY WALLACE is Shoreline Ringers’ music director and the music director at the Dunn’s Corners Community Church, Presbyterian, where he has been directing the handbell and choral programs since 1996. Andy has been ringing handbells in choirs and ensembles since 1991 and is active as a solo ringer and clinician throughout Area 1. He is a middle school history teacher and has received several outstanding teaching awards, including the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, the “Oscars” of education.




Director, educator, composer, publisher, ringer, clinician KATHLEEN (KATH) WISSINGER is all about the bells…and bell people. Known for her creative teaching style, clear directing, and engaging compositions, she has led events across the US and in Canada and Japan. Artistic director of Mosaic Handbell Ensemble (8-9 advanced ringers on 4-5 octaves bells and chimes) and Gloria Dei (an adult church group), Kath also developed Square One, a complete curriculum for first-year ringers based on 18 years of teaching handbells in the classroom. Her students also wrote many compositions as classroom projects. Her own compositions span a wide range of ringing possibilities from Level 1 to Level 5; Solos and small ensembles to full 7-octave concert epics; commissions and special projects, many released through her publishing company ringTrue Handbell Music. Kath currently serves on the national board of HMA; coordinates the CHIME Loan program for Area 3; served on the Area 3 board for eight years; and often mentors ringers, directors, composers and new events. A former National Park Service ranger (Acadia and Shenandoah) with a degree in geology, Kath lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, Skip (also a former Park Ranger), teaches piano lessons, and makes world-famous bread & butter pickles. Contact her at [email protected]


JUSTIN WOOTEN hails from the western foothills of North Carolina near Charlotte in a small sleepy town called Union Grove. After finishing a high school career dominated by athletics, Justin switched gears, started working in regional professional theaters across the US, and went to Elon University, where he received a degree in music theater. Immediately after college, he moved to Los Angeles for the sunny days, bodacious beaches and active lifestyle. While soaking up the rays, he became a fitness trainer where teaching classes, training fitness enthusiasts and celebrities, and learning as much about the human body was just a typical day in the life of. Throughout all his adventures in life, handbells has always been a constant. He began playing handbells at the ripe old age of seven years old. Even after moving to Los Angeles, he played with Charlotte Bronze under the leadership of Linda Krantz. In 2020, during the pandemic, Justin moved back to North Carolina where he immediately joined Charlotte Bronze under the direction of Tim Waugh. His one rule in life is: “If it’s heavy, try to pick it up. If it is too light, make it heavier. If it’s too heavy, get stronger.” This should explain why he only hangs out in the low bass. Post pandemic, Justin now resides in North Carolina, trading in the big city vibes for the quiet country lifestyle. He continues to pick up heavy things, set them down, then repeat as many times as possible. Now, he also runs his own studio, where he teaches others to do the same. On top of all of that, he lives on a farm with cows, donkeys, dogs, watermelons, blueberries and a friendly family of raccoons in his backyard.