Faculty for 2023 has not been announced yet, but to give you an idea of the diverse backgrounds and expertise offered by your faculty members, here is the list from 2022.
AREA 1 Festival/Conference 2022 FACULTY
LISA ARNOLD started ringing in 1976 with the Wesley Bell Ringers of Salt Lake City, UT, and toured for 4 summers, performing in 49 states and 9 Canadian Provinces. The first Community Handbell Ensemble Lisa rang with was Bay Bells in San Jose, CA, and has been a member of the Merrimack Valley Ringers since 2010 when she moved back to New England. Lisa has regularly taught workshops at Area 1 Spring Rings and Festivals in topics such as Exercises for Ringers, Bass Bell technique, Weaving, Solo Ringing, and Handbell Notation. Lisa and her husband Chuck use handbells as an excuse to travel and ring all over the world. She spends her free time learning Italian and riding bicycles. Lisa is currently serving as Past-Chair of Area 1 of the Handbell Musicians of America.
MARILYN BECKER serves as the Associate Director of Music at Hancock United Church of Christ in Lexington, a church with a long tradition of handbells. She has been the director of Hancock Carillon for the last 15 years. Before that she was the Minister of Music at a Lutheran church in New Jersey and on the faculty of a High School for Visual and Performing Arts in Red Bank, NJ. She has a degree in piano from New England Conservatory of Music and a Master of Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College.
A former music theory teacher, she loves sneaking theory lessons into her bell rehearsals. She thinks the more her ringers understand what a composer is trying to do, the more fun they will have ringing.
In her spare time she loves to garden and work in the wood shop turning bowls.
LARRY BERDENSEY has been teaching for 35 years and is currently the Band Director at West Side Middle School, in Groton, CT. His bands have won superior ratings at adjudicated festivals, and his symphonic band is invited to perform annually at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, CT for special occasions and events. Lawrence has been directing handbells since 2004 and was the former handbell director at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, in Gales Ferry, CT. His music ministry included two youth ensembles, an adult choir, as well as, an adult and teen quartet. In January 2012, Lawrence became the director of the Hockanum Valley Ringers, a five octave community handbell ensemble located in Vernon, CT. Lawrence has been a clinician and guest conductor throughout New England, at many Area 1 events. Lawrence holds a B.S. in Music Education, from UConn and a M.S. in Education, from SCSU.
HOLLY CERULLO has been ringing handbells as a member of the West Chelmsford United Methodist Church Festival Ringers since 1980. She is also assistant director of the Celebration Ringers and Singers, a bell/vocal group made up of middle school and high school youth. After sixteen years of ringing with The Merrimack Valley Ringers, she has retired from that portion of her ringing career. As a member of Handbell Musicians of America, she has attended 18 Festival Conferences in Area 1, several National and International events, led many handbell workshops in Area 1, and was the Chair of the Chime Loaner Program from 2009-2019. Having retired in 2004 after 35 years of teaching middle school, she now has more time for gardening, travel, missions, and of course, handbell events.
RACHEL CERULLO has been busy for the past two years, working full time and being a single super-mom to two kids. Though not able to ring regularly in a handbell ensemble, Rachel keeps up with the bell community by subbing in rehearsals and concerts for groups throughout New England, performing as a bell tree soloist, and devising creative ways to keep her bell skills sharp even when there are no bells physically in front of her. She is always tired, but (when around handbells) always smiling! Offer her coffee, and ask her about her cat “Jonesy.”
SUE CHAMBERLIN was introduced to handbells at a Christmas dinner in 1980 and has been ringing, directing, and teaching handbells since then. Sue has served on the Area 1 Board as NH State Chair, Chair, and treasurer. In recent years, she has helped organize Skill Building Workshops, Winter Workshop, and Festival/Conference. After retiring from a career in teaching math, Sue served as the New England sales representative for Schulmerich bells for seven years, and still does handbell repairs. Currently, Sue directs a handbell choir and a chime choir at Faith Community Bible Church in Loudon, NH, and rings with the Merrimack Valley Ringers.
BILL DEGAN is a Barbershop tenor and organist/choir director from Bristol, Connecticut. He has sung with the Hartford Men in Harmony (formerly the Insurance City Chorus) since 2005 and has served as an assistant director. He has also sung in several quartets and has competed at regional competitions both in quartets and with the chorus. He has chaperoned many “Harmony Explosion” camps for high school students in the region, and taught a course called “The Physics of Harmony” to both students and adults. Bill is also a retired high school physics teacher.
KRISHNA ERSSON discovered handbells while studying engineering and math at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. His diverse interests in music, dance, science, and technology, and his belief that growth comes through constant challenge, fueled a passion for exploring the unique artistic expression made through modern handbell ringing. Before moving away from the Boston area, Krishna performed for six years with the Back Bay Ringers, founded the Back Bay Quartet, a handbell ensemble known for their entertaining arrangements and exciting performances, and was principal percussionist with the Metropolitan Wind Symphony. He has attended many national ringing events, such as Distinctly Bronze, and was a member of the nationally auditioned Handbell Musicians of America All-Stars ensemble that performed at the 15th International Handbell Symposium in Liverpool, England. Krishna can now be found teaching handbell and percussion techniques at workshops and seminars throughout New England. He has taught at many Area I Festival Conferences, Directors’ Seminars, and local skill-building workshops, and served as the massed conductor clinician at the 2014 Area I High School RingOut. He served as Chair of the Area I Board of Directors from 2015 to 2019 and was the Chair of the 2019 Area I Festival Conference, the first Area I Festival to be held in Connecticut, at the University of Hartford. Although originally from Portland, OR, Krishna now lives in Guilford, CT and leads software development at Butterfly Network, a startup building a handheld ultrasound imager that connects to a smartphone for use in point-of-care human and veterinary medicine.
SUSAN EWING has been ringing handbells for over 25 years, starting in middle school with a church choir. She has been ringing with Shoreline Ringers since 2017 and loves playing in different positions and the teamwork involved in making the difficult passages sound musical. She can now ring almost any position and doesn’t have a favorite – though she does appreciate playing in positions where one can use four in hand instead of a weave to make a tricky passage work. Outside of bells, she enjoys crafts, woodworking and the outdoors.
HARRIET FORMAN has been the director of the Village Bell Ringers, a 5 octave adult bell choir, at The Village Congregational Church in Whitinsville, MA, for over 34 years now. She loves bells, and has participated in numerous Festival Conferences, seminars, and workshops over the years. She recently retired from the Worcester (MA) Public School system where she was a full time elementary music teacher, grades K-6.
AIDAN FOZARD: Brit Aidan Fozard has been performing on handbells for over 25 years. In this time he has performed around the world in every sized ensemble and every position. He is an award winning Belleplate soloist and the musical director of the HRGB East Anglian Regional Team, one of the largest advanced community ensembles in the UK. A regular event workshop lead for over 15 years, during the Covid pandemic Aidan has taken this online, both holding virtual rehearsals and contributing to HRGB classes on a wide variety of topics.
PETER GROSSMANN has nearly 20 years of experience ringing handbells and church tower bells. He currently serves as bass section leader for the Back Bay Ringers, with whom he has rung since 2013. He also rings regularly at Christ Church, Cambridge MA as a hymn accompanist, ensemble ringer, and tower bell ringer. Over the years he has performed handbell solos and duets in several different venues. When not ringing, he works as a microchip design consultant.
NICK HANSON is in his 16th year as the director of handbell ensembles at the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia, where he teaches private handbell lessons and handbell classes to 5th–12th grade students in five handbell ensembles. He is also in his 14th year as handbell director at Bush Hill Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Virginia.
Nick has served as faculty, clinician, and/or conductor at handbell events nationally in 17 states (as well as Washington, DC) and internationally in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. It was just announced that in August of 2022, Nick will be conducting the International Youth Symposium in Nashville, TN, as part of the greater International Handbell Symposium. He has written articles for the national handbell magazine Overtones, and has arranged and composed over 80 pieces of handbell music
ED HENDERSON of Tewksbury MA, started ringing handbells in 1962 and has been directing youth and adult handbell choirs for the last thirty plus years. He has served local, area, and national handbell events as an organizer, a clinician and as both a massed and division conductor. He has been responsible for the handbell program at the Tewksbury Congregational Church, Tewksbury, MA for thirty years, having un-retired three times. He was the founding director of the New England Ringers for thirteen years. He has served Area 1 of the Handbell Musicians of America as Member at Large, Area Chair-Elect, Area Chair, Past Area Chair and Area Representative to the National Board of Directors.
On the outside, he is a retired electrical engineer who spent his entire career managing customer support organizations for various companies. He is an avid NASCAR fan, enjoys restoring antique and classic cars, skiing, snowmobiling and spending time with his wife Sue, family and friends at their lake home in New Hampshire.
KAREN JAMES, Pittsford, VT began ringing bells when her church, the United Methodist Church of Rutland, VT acquired a three octave set in 1983 and she became the director a year later. Under her direction, the Bells of Joy, now ringing five octaves have performed locally, at Area and National Festivals, and toured the Atlantic States. Since 1986, Karen has helped organize and direct the annual Vermont Spring Rings and has taught numerous handbell workshops for Area1, Area 2 and National Events. Karen has rung many years with Distinctly Bronze, with the New England Ringers, and was selected to ring with the Dream Team at SEE, the Solo/Ensemble Extravaganza, in the summer of 2007. In addition to her love of handbells, she enjoys accompanying recitals, and directing musical theater productions. She has taught music for over 40 years in the public schools and in her home studio, and is currently a part time piano instructor at Castleton University.
LINDA KRANTZ: Linda is an accomplished and widely recognized solo handbell artist, has an active performing career, and regularly teaches at the local, regional, and national level. Linda’s greatest love is to perform solo concerts, where she most enjoys playing classical music. She has performed as far away as Paris, and most recently with David Lockington, cellist and maestro of The Pasadena Symphony. Linda was a student of Nancy Hascall, learning all she could about traveling 4iH and the nuances of artistic solo ringing.
Linda is a founding member and president of L.A. Bronze, a past president and current Advisory Board member of the Pasadena Symphony, and a founding artist and past board member of Timbré. She has served as secretary of the Area 12 board of Handbell Musicians of America, and currently serves on the national Development committee for Handbell Musicians of America.
LAUREN LARSON became a rhythm “pro” during percussion ensemble in high school. Her math mind has meant itself wonderfully while ringing bells with Shoreline Ringers in Connecticut (since 2006). She works as an engineer and project manager during the day, and between bells with her husband Pete and raising two cool kids, she finds time to run and meditate.
PETE LARSON began his handbell career in 1993. Having only taken about half a year off from ringing bells since starting, it is the activity to which he is most committed, biology notwithstanding. He currently works as a computer systems integration analyst at Progeny Systems in Groton, CT. Pete also has two young children, who can sometimes been seen near the front row of concerts watching daddy (and mommy!) play bells.
DEBRA LEBRUN received her B. Mus. from Syracuse University and her M.M. in Organ Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. Originally from Massachusetts, Debra moved to Roanoke to become the Director of Music and Worship at Raleigh Court United Methodist Church after serving for 24 years at the Congregational Church of Littleton in Massachusetts. At Raleigh Court UMC she plays the organ, and directs the church’s singing choirs, handbell choirs, and instrumental groups. Debra also directs the Mill Mountain Ringers, a community handbell choir in Roanoke, VA. Debra has been performing as a solo ringer for about 11 years after performing in ensembles and in a duet team for many years. Her handbell ringing has taken her around the country and the world performing in concert tours and at handbell festivals, including five International Handbell Symposiums. Debra served for many years on the Area 1 HMA board, has organized and served as a clinician at many handbell events, and currently is on the Area 3 board.
SUE LEE first rang in the late 1970s, and was soon asked to direct the handbells choirs at a previous church, at a time when repertoire was relatively limited. Sue has been Director of Handbell Ministries at St. Matthew’s UMC, Acton, MA since 1998, where she started a hand chime choir and now directs multiple choirs on 5 octaves of handbells and 5 1/2 octaves of hand chimes. Sue has an undergraduate degree in Music Education and taught/directed all levels of music for 26 years before getting her Masters in Elementary Education and becoming a fourth grade teacher, now retired. Other interests are playing her trumpet, euphonium, or baroque recorders, quilting, playing golf, traveling, reading, or just enjoying time with family and friends. Sue rings with the Merrimack Valley Ringers and is currently MA State Chair for Area 1.
KAREN E. LEONARD, the artistic director of the Merrimack Valley Ringers, is a graduate of Boston University and UMass Lowell with degrees in church music, organ performance and conducting. She is now in her 53rd year as Minister of Music at West Chelmsford United Methodist Church in North Chelmsford, MA where she directs a graded choral and handbell program of seven choirs and also serves as organist. Karen served the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (AGEHR) as Chair of Area I and National President. In 2008, Karen was awarded Honorary Life Membership in AGEHR, the highest award given for extraordinary service to the organization. She continues to serve as Chair of its National Master Series Classes. Karen was recently accepted as an ACME Honoree. ACME stands for Artists, Composers, Musicologists and Educators. It is an honor bestowed upon Mu Phi Epsilon members who are distinguished in their field of musical endeavor. She and her husband Mark have two wonderful sons, a lovely daughter-in-law, a soon to be new daughter-in-law equally as delightful, and two awesome grandchildren.
DANIEL K. MOORE of Rumford, RI retired from teaching and directing the Concert Handbell Ringers of the Wheeler School in Providence, RI after 37 years. FOr several decades his auditioned ensembles appeared on television, performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and performed opening concerts at national and regional handbell festivals. THe Concert Ringer’s recordings include Joy To the World (Empire Brass), Inside Fessiwigs (Ed Sweeney), and several solo CD’s. Dan was a charter member of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringer’s committee to promote handbells in education and subsequently served regional and national AGEHR boards in many capacities, most recently as Chair of AGEHR’s second Certification Program. Dan is the Music Director of the New England Ringers and he continues to be a frequent clinician, organizer and conductor at handbell ringing events. His comprehensive handbell textbook, “Ringing RIGHT! From the Beginning”, a valuable resource for ringers and directors alike, is published by HMA/AGEHR. Dan was also a New England representative for Malmark Handbells for several years.
JANE NOLAN is the music director at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Gales Ferry, CT and the director of Bells of Fire and Shoreline Ringers, two community Handbell ensembles in southeastern CT. She has been directing handbells for over 30 years and has directed the High School Ring Out, a number of spring rings and workshops, the Area 1 Youth Festival, the Boston Handbell Festival and the Area 1 Winter Workshop.
Shoreline Ringers, her advanced community handbell ensemble, has performed at Carnegie Hall, on WSFB Channel 3 in Hartford for the Scott Haney Christmas Show, with the U.S. Coast Guard Band for their Christmas concerts, and this last July as the opening concert for Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar in Phoenix, AZ.
Jane’s degree is in music education from Skidmore College and she has studied handbells with Don Allured at the Hartt School of music. She enjoys doing hand chime programs with the local elementary schools in her area and teaches private piano lessons. She served as the membership chair of Area 1 for over 15 years.
CATHY SEILER started playing handbells in 1993 in her mother’s handbell choir at church. After a handbell hiatus during college and graduate school, she played with the community handbell choir Campanillas del Sol based in Scottsdale, AZ for nine seasons. Cathy is now excited to be playing with MVR since 2018! Cathy has a PhD in cell and molecular biology, and currently works as a scientist at a biotech in Cambridge, MA. In her spare time, Cathy enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter hiking, biking, and camping.
JENNIFER STACK began playing handbells in 2012 at the invitation of a coworker and fell deep down the rabbit hole. She has been ringing with Merrimack Valley Ringers since 2018 and runs the handbell choirs for The Holy Rood Collaborative in Chelmsford, MA. She is also currently serving as the Area 1 Chime Loan Chair. Her lifelong study of music began with piano lessons at age 5, singing in the choir and playing her French Horn everywhere from her local church to Symphony Hall. When not working or playing music, Jennifer enjoys knitting and baking, and is a newly published author of several children’s books. Jennifer studied Music Education at UMASS Amherst before pursuing work in the Early Childhood field. She lives in Chelmsford with her husband Mike and their tuxedo cat Bronx. She currently works as a PreK teacher for Lowell Public Schools where she shares her love of books and music with her students.
JOY TOLL-CHANDLER has been playing and directing handbells since 2000 and is the current chair of Area 1 Handbell Musicians of America. She has a Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music and a Masters in Church Music (handbell emphasis) from Concordia University. Joy is learning more about solo and ensemble ringing, and loves the challenge of composing music for handbell choirs. She has two pieces published by AGEHR. She is also accredited as a faculty instructor for Level 1 Handbell Certification Theory and Conducting.
For the last 10 years, Joy worked in music and worship arts at churches in Florida, leading both vocal and handbell choirs, but she has now “returned home” to New England. Joy is a United Methodist pastor in Belchertown, MA, where she lives with her husband Paul. Between them, they have 4 children and now are enjoying the wonderful world of grandchildren! Every Friday is spent helping to take care of the youngest ones – truly one of the greatest joys of life!
KIM VISBARAS has been ringing handbells for over 25 years, currently with choirs in Auburn and Falmouth, Maine. He has both full choir and ensemble experience, and has been a frequent clinician at Maine and Area 1 Festivals, both on various handbell topics and his offerings of African drumming. He’s glad to be back again to enhance this year’s Festival Conference!
ANDY WALLACE, of North Stonington, CT, is the Music and Worship Arts Director at the Dunn’s Corners Community Church, Presbyterian, in Westerly, RI where he has spent twenty five years directing the choral and handbell programs. Andy has been ringing handbells in choirs and ensembles since 1991, is active as a solo ringer and as a clinician throughout Area 1. He is a middle school history teacher in West Greenwich, RI, and has received several outstanding teaching awards including the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, the “Oscars” of education.
KIMBERLY VARS WHITEHEAD began ringing bells as a teenager with her mom in the church bell choir, and currently rings with the Merrimack Valley Ringers. Kim is a graduate of UNH and Boston University with degrees in piano and organ performance. She teaches piano and organ to “kids” of all ages, is music director for the Amherst Middle School Theater Club, and accompanies the Milford High School Chorus. Outside her busy music schedule, Kim loves watching the Patriots and Red Sox, the Food Network, Barbie movies, and treasures spending as much time as possible with her husband Derek and their three amazing girls!
GINA MARIE WILLIAMS is the Director of Music and Worship Technology at St. Luke Lutheran Church, Gales Ferry CT leading an extensive music program consisting of five handbell choirs (kindergarten through senior adults) and the vocal choir. She is a proficient arranger of both handbells and instrumental music with two handbell pieces currently published through “From the Top Publishing”.
An accomplished flutist, she also performs on clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and alto & tenor saxophones.