The son of Wesleyan Methodist missionaries, Larry grew up in the Republic of South Africa where he began piano lessons at the age of 9. Many years later, in 1980, he was introduced to the art of handbell ringing when his church purchased a 2-octave set of Malmark Handbells, and he was instantly hooked! Since then he has been a member of the 6+ octave Heidelberg Concert Handbells Choir [performing once at the White House] for 30 years, produced and directed 18 annual spring handbell festivals, and lead the Holy Trinity-Salem Lutheran Handbell Choir in Bethlehem Pennsylvania for over 20 years. Recently becoming a Sarasota resident, he is a Respiratory Therapist holding a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration.
A native of Sarasota, Christy was educated in Music and Christian Education at Montreat-Anderson Junior College and Mars Hill College in NC. She has played the piano since age five and began playing handbells at age 12. She is the assistant to the Director of Music at Pine Shores Presbyterian Church and is the substitute director/organist. Having been in the health care field for over 35 years, she is currently employed by Home Instead Senior Care as a Certified Home Health Aide.
Although her degree from Penn State University reads “Architectural Engineering,” Terri discovered her love of Church Music back in the 90s when, as a young mother of three, she was asked to direct the Children’s Choir “because you play the piano, right?” Saying yes to that request morphed into directing, at one point, 7 handbell choirs and 4 vocal choirs. Many years later, Terri and her husband Doug moved from New England to paradise which brought her to her current position as the Worship Ministry Director at St. James UMC in Sarasota. Terri thoroughly enjoys being behind the table as a part of Ring Sarasota.
Katy began ringing handbells in 2013 after being called in to substitute in her church’s handbell choir. After two rehearsals, she was hooked on the instrument and joined full time. Since then, she has been an active choir member, helped co-found a small handbell ensemble, and has attended festivals and workshops throughout the state of Florida. Katy also has experience playing piano, tenor saxophone, and marimba. She is excited to be ringing with Ring Sarasota.
Kathie graduated from Purdue and the University of Chicago and has had careers ranging from pharmacy, corporate taxation, retail store ownership to motherhood. She currently works in fiber arts. Kathie has been ringing handbells in ensembles and bell tree solos since 1994 and counts the International Symposium experience in 2008 as one of life’s highlights. Here’s a link to an article about Kathie in the Observer newspaper.
Jeanne M. Jessup
Raised in New Jersey and a graduate of William Paterson University, Jeanne was an elementary teacher for 30 years. Music has been in her life always, beginning with the clarinet at age six and continuing to piano and voice. Her career with handbells began with retiring from teaching in Pennsylvania and moving to Florida. She directs three handbell choirs at Community Presbyterian Church in Englewood, teaches music to the Pre-K class in the nursery school, has attended Distinctly Bronze yearly since 2004, teaches at Florida festivals and served on the board of Area 4 Handbell Musicians of America.
Kim is a retired Information Technology Project Manager. She is a native of Wisconsin and, even though she has lived in Florida over 30 years, she still considers herself a “Cheesehead”. She began playing handbells twelve years ago when her church decided to start a handbell group. Always active in choir, she thought, “This sounds like fun” and was immediately hooked. When not working or ringing, Kim loves quilting, machine embroidery, or just relaxing reading a good book.
Prior to relocating to Florida, Steve was a founding member (2002) of the Atlanta Concert Ringers. He rings in advanced handbell events including Distinctly Bronze (DB) East, DB West, Bay View, and All-Stars at National Seminar and Pinnacle. Steve was among 29 ringers selected nationally for the Raleigh Ringers’ Virtuoso 2015 performance experience and also performed with Bells of the Cascades on an Alaskan cruise in July 2016. Steve was a board member of Handbell Musicians of America Area 4 and taught handbell technique classes at Area 4 and state festivals. Recently retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a senior mathematical statistician, Steve conducts cancer prevention research as a part-time CDC contractor.
Kyle brings with her 20+ years of handbell ringing experience and directing. She is married to Stuart, and they share a home with Kyle’s mom, Norma, and their two schnauzers, Nicholas and Holly. Kyle is a member of Pine Shores Presbyterian Church’s handbell choir, the Clara Kaiser Carillon. By day, she maintains an independent bookkeeping service. When not rehearsing or performing, Kyle and her husband love being on or around the water, and both serve in the USCG Auxiliary-Flotilla 84 in Sarasota. In her spare time, she enjoys creating and working on her scrapbooks and quilts.
Phyllis recently moved to Bradenton from North Carolina with her husband, who now pastors Roser Community Church, Anna Maria. As a music educator and church musician, she enjoys every aspect of music making: choral singing, church organist, pianist, accompanying, ringing, and directing children to adults. Her introduction to handbells was as a youth counselor with United Methodist Youth Music Week to “fill out the ensemble.” In recent years, she has served as interim musician/organist in Baptist, Methodist and Moravian congregations and cherishes time with her family and three wonderful grandchildren.
Robin is excited to return to Florida and to Ring Sarasota. Handbells have been one of her passions for almost 50 years. She also enjoys singing and creating handmade cards and jewelry. Robin is employed by a software company as a procurement analyst.
Carolyn began her music career at age four by playing piano, choral accompanying followed at 14. She received a Music Minor from Ithaca College. She currently plays with three handbell ensembles, plays piano and keyboard for a big band, a pipe and drum band, a church choir and two community choirs. She has her own Mary Kay business and her car says “it’s okay, I’m with the band!”
Chris began ringing handbells after college, but was involved in music from an early age, singing in church choirs, community choirs, school choirs, and the Texas Lutheran College Concert Choir. A trumpet player too, that can make for a busy Easter morning service singing, ringing, and trumpeting. He has played handbells, mostly bass buckets, for over 25 years, directed children’s handbell and choirchime choirs, and briefly an adult bell choir. (I’d rather PLAY, he says.) With a BA in Visual Arts from Texas Lutheran, Chris works as an architectural illustrator. He still sings in choirs, plays trumpet in a community band, does photography, is an avid cyclist and a Boy Scout troop leader.
Kari was introduced to handbells while in grade school – but began ringing in earnest after college. While she has rung in most positions, she is at home swinging the buckets of the low bass. For Kari, ringing is a family affair. She has rung with her mother, brothers, sister-in-law, husband and all three of her children. Kari works for Apple and is an avid photographer in her spare time.
Rebecca’s lifelong love of percussion started when, as the youngest child, she realized that thumping things, instead of older siblings, was both a safer and more satisfying alternative. She grew up tapping, striking, ringing and hitting and went on to obtain several degrees in percussion performance and music education. She has enjoyed playing with a variety of chamber ensembles, orchestras and bands. Rebecca started playing handbells in high school and after some time away, has been actively ringing for the past 13 years. In the real world, Rebecca is a wife and mother of two sons and has been a residential Realtor for 26 years.
Rick is the founding director of Ring Sarasota Handbell Ensemble. First introduced to handbells in 1985, he has been actively ringing and leading handbell choirs ever since. His first career was serving as a musician in the U.S. Navy, where he performed in, managed and directed Navy Bands worldwide for 30 years. During his time in the Navy, Rick volunteered as a youth choir director and was also part time Director of music at several churches. He regularly leads workshops and clinics for handbell ringers and choirs. Rick’s first handbell arrangement, a complete transcription of ‘Jupiter from the Planets‘ published by From the Top Music was chosen to be played at the Distinctly Bronze East 2015 event. His handbell arrangement of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” is published by Lorenz. Rick has also had the honor to ring in Distinctly Bronze East. Rick is Director of Music at Pine Shores Presbyterian Church, where he leads an extensive Music Ministry. Rick is an active member of the Sarasota-Manatee Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, the Handbell Musicians of America, Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and the Fellowship of Methodist Musicians. Rick and wife Cher have three grown children and five grandchildren. In his spare time, Rick can be found working with his ‘O’-gauge model train layout.
We’re thankful for our alumni who have helped us get to where we are today
*Denotes Charter Member
Jodi Anderson * 2010 – 2015
Sharon Beebe 2011 – 2012
Valerie Bush * 2010 – 2016
Dori Copeland * 2010 – 2013
Janet Cook Ross * 2010 – 2016
Alan Corey * 2010 – 2011
Marcia Haynes – 2011 – 2016
Caryn Johnson 2015-2016
Thomas Mueller * 2010 – 2014
Julie Odenweller * 2010 – 2013
Sondra Thompson * 2010 – 2011
Lita Tyler 2013 – 2016
Libby Tyner * 2010-2017
Kathy Winkler 2011 – 2012