Notes on Elections and the Positions
ELECTIONS WILL BE ONLINE THIS YEAR. The voting period will be open from April 1 to April 30 at 11:59 PM.
Every two years, elections are held in Area 1 to elect people to the following positions: Chairperson, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Chair-elect serves for 2 years and then moves to Chair for 2 years and ends as Past-Chair for another 2 years. This is a 6-year commitment.
Treasurer of Area 1 handles all financial transactions and reports to the board regularly.
The secretary takes notes at board meetings and keeps all information filed and stored electronically.
Please read all biographies and mission statements below.
Chair Elect (will become chair in 2019)
Two members are running for chair elect: Lisa Arnold and Susan Schultz. Below, you will find out more information about each candidate to inform your vote.
LISA ARNOLD has been ringing handbells for over 40 years. Lisa toured the US and Canada with The Wesley Bell Ringers of Salt Lake City. In California, she rang with Bay Bells (a community handbell ensemble), Low Ding Zone (co-founder, all bass handbell ensemble), and Bells on Tap (a small ensemble). Lisa is also a solo handbell artist, specializing in jazz standards. She has been ringing with the Merrimack Valley Ringers (MVR) since returning to Massachusetts in 2010, and tours with Campanae Mundi, ringing handbells in churches throughout Tuscany, Italy. Lisa has served on the Board of Directors for both Bay Bells and MVR.
Lisa is a long-time member of the Handbell Musicians of America; a regular attendee at Pinnacle and National Seminar events; has rung at Distinctly Bronze East and West; and in 2013, performed at National Seminar in Atlanta as a soloist featuring a Handbell All-Star back-up band. She has also taught classes at Area 1 and Area 12 Conferences and Ringing Workshops.
Lisa holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Change Management. As the Operations Manager for the Security division at Cisco Systems, Inc., she is responsible for the management of a $30M budget, and specializes in helping teams “get things done”. Lisa lives with her husband Chuck, who is also a handbell musician, in Lowell, Massachusetts.
My vision is simple: I am running for Chair-elect because I want to see more bells in the hands of more people, performing for more diverse audiences.
Recruiting new ringers: I would like to see Area 1 expand the chime loaner program by finding new ways to reach out to traditionally underserved communities and replicating the success of the Back Bay Ringers/Boston Handbell Festival Chime Donation program. Some of the many efforts we can build upon are:
- instituting train-the-teacher workshops;
- targeting after school programs; and
- partnering with the many music educator associations throughout New England
With music education being cut from many school budgets, this could be a way to bring music back to the classroom, as well as introducing a whole new generation to the instrument we love so much. Also, I understand that one of the difficulties current directors have is in recruiting enough ringers for a full handbell program. While I don’t have a lot of experience in that area, I plan to work with directors to explore innovate ways to recruit new ringers.
For intermediate ringers: Area 1 has implemented some great programs in the last few years to provide additional learning opportunities for ringers, like the Project Education Workshops, Snag-a-Sub, and opening up the Winter Workshop to ringers. The enthusiasm for these programs shows that what ringers really want to do is get together and ring. Why not give intermediate ringers an opportunity to sharpen their skills while giving back to the community! I would like to see us explore local partnerships that help bring visibility to our music, while providing additional opportunities for our ringers. Some potential avenues for partnership and collaboration are: transitional living centers, homeless shelters, prisons, malls, farmer’s markets and other community gatherings. In addition, sponsoring reading sessions throughout the area could help directors try out new music before they buy, and give ringers more opportunities to polish their sight reading skills. These options could provide low-cost opportunities for members to continue to learn and meet new handbell ringing friends in smaller settings that are closer to home, as well as potential fund-raising opportunities.
For advanced ringers: I would like see the Bronze audition process revised to be more inclusive of bronze-level ringers within Area 1 who do not have bronze-level choir to ring with, as well as ringers from outside our area. Area 1 has a great reputation for holding one of the best festival conferences of all the Areas, and we should encourage people from other areas to attend and experience our festivals for themselves. In addition, I would like to see us find ways to bring the many bronze-level community ensembles, ringers, and directors together, by providing Distinctly-Bronze-like events in a local setting. Travel, time, and cost are a few of the reasons cited for people not being able to participate at these national events. By offering similar events locally, we can remove at least two of these three barriers.
I believe I am uniquely qualified to serve as Chair-Elect for Area 1 because I will bring a long-time ringer’s perspective to the leadership team, and because I have a reputation for “getting things done”. I would be proud to represent all of the ringers and directors who are served by this great organization. Area 1 has done a terrific job of expanding the opportunities for people to learn and connect, and I want to be a part of continuing that expansion. We all ring for different reasons, and as a member of the Area 1 leadership team, I will strive to harness that passion.
Susan Schultz is a former research engineer, with a Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT. She lives in Boxford, MA with her husband Eric and their three children, where her technical skills are put to good use as the IT manager for the family. Susan, a lapsed violinist, once again found the joy of participation in a musical ensemble fourteen years ago when she joined the handbell choir at the Trinity Episcopal Church of Topsfield, where she has also volunteered her time setting up and maintaining the church website. After joining the Back Bay Carillon in 2009, Susan began ringing with the Back Bay Ringers of Boston in 2012, where she is proud to be ringing today. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Back Bay Ringers both as Secretary and as Administrative Coordinator for the Back Bay Carillon.
Susan joined the Area 1 Board of Directors in June of 2013 as Historian, and has been working toward digitizing the Area 1 Archives, with the goal of making them generally accessible to all Guild members. Susan has also served the Guild as Festival/Conference Registrar since 2013, moving the registration to an online process in 2015. She assumed the newly created Board position of Area 1 Registrar in 2016 to facilitate the online registration process for all Area 1 events, helping to unify the Guild’s presence on the web. As a member of the newly formed Technology Committee (2016) Susan has been helping to assess the role of new technological tools in support of the Guild’s mission to advance the musical art of handbell/handchime ringing through education, community, and communication.
Susan has completed Level 3 of the Handbell Musicians of America Handbell Techniques Certification Program, and is in the process of being accredited as an Instructor for Level 1 Handbell Techniques Certification. She has been privileged to have participated in many of the Handbell Musicians of America national events, having attended Leadership Training meetings, National Seminars, Pinnacle and all Distinctly Bronze events since 2014, as well as the “Big Ring” in Minneapolis in 2016. She was also fortunate to have attended the International Symposium in Vancouver last summer, ringing in the Festival Choir and performing as the Area 1 representative with other Handbell Musicians of America members. Susan has enjoyed meeting many of the dedicated members and leaders of the national and international handbell community, and her exposure to these groups has expanded her vision for Area 1 as the cornerstone for Handbell Musicianship in New England.
Vision Statement: Area 1 has its roots in the New England Guild of English Handbell Ringers, a group that was founded by 24 individuals, only one of whom played in a church setting. Today, many of our members are directors of church groups, a demographic that is shrinking as church attendance declines in New England. I believe our future lies with individual ringers, like me, who have much to gain from membership in the Guild. The Guild’s strongest asset is its ability to bring people together to learn, share music, and forge new relationships. To that end, I would like to increase the Guild’s offerings of workshops and ringing events, with an eye to reduced costs for those attending.
One of the greatest opportunities for growth as a musician that I have enjoyed has been my participation in Distinctly Bronze. The challenge of preparing a full program of Bronze-level repertoire in advance of the event pushed me to practice, practice, practice, stretching and helping me develop my capabilities as a ringer. Spending three and one-half days ringing with 120 like-minded individuals under the direction of nationally known composers/conductors was more fun than I could have imagined! It is my goal to find a way to replicate an event like this in Area 1, perhaps at the Coppers level, so more ringers can immerse themselves in such a challenge locally, without incurring the added cost of travel to remote venues. I am also dedicated to moving our organization ahead technically to better communicate with our members and help them to avail themselves of all the Guild has to offer.
Being a member of the Handbell Musicians of America has enlarged my life in many, many ways. I look forward to continuing my involvement on the Area 1 Board, and would appreciate the opportunity to lead as future Chair if so elected.
I began ringing when we moved to Essex, CT 18 years ago. I joined the church choir in the spring and over the summer our director got ill and I was asked to step in. I had a background in piano and high school band, but I needed more than that. AGEHR was a great resource to me in the early days and I attended many workshops and ringing sessions, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with my choir. I even convinced my husband to come to family handbell camp with me, which we did for several years. At first our daughters participated in the arts and crafts program, but as they grew older, they learned to ring, as did my husband. It was there that I made many friends and contacts; relationships that continue to this day. With their help and support, I organized a CT Spring Ring, after many years of little activity in the state, and I ran it successfully for three consecutive years.
Several years ago, I was asked to join Shoreline Ringers and I realized I was never going to grow as a ringer if all I did was direct, so I joined and have enjoyed that experience immensely. Going to Festival/Conference as a member of a choir is a totally different experience than when I went as an orphan many years ago.
My college degree is in Accounting and I am currently the Accounting Manager for a local property management company, where I am in charge of receivables, payables, budgeting, taxes and more. I also am the bookkeeper for The Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries, as well as the Treasurer for my church. In my spare time I foster kittens for a local cat shelter. I also love to travel and read.
I recently spearheaded an effort to create a new financial needs scholarship for Festival/Conference 2017. The idea was well received by the Board and I hope to expand it to apply to all events in the near future. I look forward to continue working with the Board to expand course offerings to provide new learning opportunities for ringers of all levels.
PATRICIA PRANGER of Wallingford, VT attended her first Festival Conference in 2005 while she was only a sometimes sub for a local church choir. But she was hooked! Since that time she has not only attended every Area 1 Festival and Vermont Spring Ring, she has also attended Area Director’s seminars, Pinnacle in 2010 and National Conferences in 2012 and 2016. Pat was honored to travel and ring with The New England Ringers for 4 years. She currently rings with the Tall Spire Ringers in Manchester, Tinmouth Ringers and Tintinnabula in Rutland, VT. Pat is also an enthusiastic choral singer and sings with two community choruses as well as singing in local community musical theater productions. She participated in a choral exchange to Cuba in May 2015 with Castleton State College Collegiate Chorale and a choral tour of Austria in July with Grace Church. In August 2016 she attended ACDA in Nassau. When not ringing, or singing, Pat can be found serving as a volunteer with many local arts organizations and non-profits such as The Paramount Theatre, Weston Theater and Marble Valley Players. Pat is currently serving on the Area 1 board as the Vermont state chair of the Handbell Musicians of America and she is also president of the Vermont Handbell Association. Pat is a self-employed CPA. She has an MBA, Magna Cum Laude, from Wright State University in Ohio.
As a financial professional, I realize the utmost importance of clear and concise record keeping and communication in any business. And a nonprofit, or for that matter, any organization cannot function well if not run in a business like manner. As a practicing Certified Public Accountant for over 30 years, I can bring knowledge and experience to the financial controls of Area 1, as well as the implementation of prudent fiscal policies. And my having an MBA, with a concentration in Financial Management will serve the Area 1 board well in planning realistic and attainable budgets as well as devising solid investment goals. In the current financial climate, non-profits are increasingly seeing an erosion in volunteers, members and donations. There are more choices competing for the same dollars. We need to formulate plans to keep our group growing and also relevant to a younger audience.
If elected, I promise to do my best to safeguard the financial assets necessary to forward the organization’s mission: to further the musical art of handbell ringing.
Diane Burke was inspired to take up bellringing by her mom over 30 years ago, and began her ringing career with the Sudbury Bellringers of Memorial Congregational Church in Sudbury MA. She has also rung with the United Ringers in Littleton MA, and is a charter member of the Merrimack Valley Ringers, with whom she still currently rings. Diane is the director of the Joyful Ringers at First Church Congregational in Marlboro MA, the Lincoln Ringers of First Parish in Lincoln MA, and the Sudbury Bellringers of Memorial Congregational Church in Sudbury MA. Diane loves to sing gospel music and has toured nationally with the One Human Family Workshop choir.
Diane has assisted several clinicians in Area 1 Skill Building workshops, and has taught several different class topics at MVR workshops and Festivals, as well as classes about handbells outside of the “ringing world”. She is a co-creator of the Acton MA Fall Skill-Building/Rep Reading workshop, and has both taught and directed there each year since its inception. Her groups regularly attend workshops, Spring Rings and Festivals, and are avid ambassadors for handbells!
Diane has served in both the Corresponding Secretary and Recording Secretary capacity for several church organizations over the last 12 years, and has also served on the Board of the Merrimack Valley Ringers.
With great joy, much of my life is spent in the ringing world, whether it’s preparing music for a rehearsal as a director or a ringer, planning concert repertoire, conducting a Rep Reading class, working on an ensemble piece, motivating my ringers with inspirational quotes, or making sure they know truly special it is to be part of a handbell choir. We’re SO unique in the music world with our 2 notes-to-a-person approach- and as witnessed by the recent Mall of America Guinness record-breaking event, we are also SO enthusiastic about our genre! My hope would be that in my capacity as Secretary, I could be of service both in helping to further the cohesiveness of our current Area 1 structure, and to join in exploring possibilities to increase membership and to bring our art form to a larger audience. Having been a member of the Guild for over 20 years, I’m well aware of how it has supported me and my ringers. This is would be a welcome opportunity to offer something in return.
Mobby has served as CT Chair for Area 1 since 2011, coordinating CT Spring Rings and strengthening ties among handbell musicians and directors in the state. She also coordinated revising the job description for Area 1 state chairs. You may have also seen her leading worship at Family Handbell Camp and Festival Conferences.
Serving as president since its beginnings 11 years ago, Mobby is active with the Shoreline Ringers. She has also served as a secretary for various non-profit organizations over the years, a ringer in church handbell choirs for 17 years, and a member of church choirs for over 60. In churches she also led Sunday School music, accompanied a senior choir for 16 years, served as a Christian Education director for 8 years, was ordained in the United Church of Christ and served as a church pastor for 18 years, earning a Doctor of Ministry from Hartford Seminary along the way. Now retired, she is still heavily involved in local church music, does occasional preaching, and is lucky to have all her children and grandchildren close by!
In Area 1 we have a growing number of community choirs, but are still primarily an organization of church handbell choirs. Sadly, I am aware of the need to develop a greater mutual appreciation between clergy and musicians in our churches.
I would like to see more involvement of ringers, and I support our educational events wholeheartedly. I also see a constant need for mentoring and encouraging new directors, providing resources and information. We have a long and active history of handbell ringing in Area 1, and we need to ensure that helpful materials are available to all who need access to them.