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.
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 eventually brought her to her current position on the music staff at Gateway Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Myers. Due to the 90 minute commute, she is currently serving as a sub for Ring Sarasota but can’t bear to give it up completely!
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’s careers range between pharmacy, corporate taxation, retail store ownership, and motherhood. She currently works in fiber arts. Kathie has been ringing handbells in ensembles and as bell tree solos since 1994. She has performed with Distinctly Bronze, at the International Symposium, and at HMA National Seminar. She is currently the co-host of “Walking on With Chris Hayes”, a podcast where she and her son share reactions to the Miami Hurricanes football team. Here’s a link to an article about Kathie in the Observer newspaper.
Paige started ringing handbells at her church in Connecticut during middle school and has been playing ever since! In high school, she rang under the direction of Terri Chapman, who many years later would introduce Paige to Ring Sarasota. She continued ringing in college, took a short break while completing her Masters at USF, then joined Capitol Bells in Tallahassee. Now back in Tampa, Paige lives with her husband and dog while working at USF. She is thrilled to be a member of Ring Sarasota, and as a bonus, it’s the first time she and her mother (Valerie Phillips) have been in a handbell choir together!
Kim is a retired Information Technology Project Manager. She is a native of Wisconsin and, even though she has lived in Florida over 40 years, she still considers herself a “Cheesehead”. She began playing handbells twenty 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 ringing, Kim volunteers as an Adoption Assistant at Cat Depot, a local rescue, adoption and education center in Sarasota. She also loves quilting, machine embroidery, and other fabric crafts.
Prior to relocating to Florida, Steve was a founding member (2002) of the Atlanta Concert Ringers. He rings in various national advanced handbell events where he has been honored with multiple selections to the All Stars Choir and to Virtuoso, performing with the Raleigh Ringers. Steve is currently the Ring Sarasota board president, and a past board member of Handbell Musicians of America Area 4. He has taught handbell technique classes at Area 4 and state festivals. Retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a senior mathematical statistician, Steve conducts cancer prevention research as an independent contractor with the CDC.
Kyle joined Ring Sarasota in Season 2 and brought years of handbell ringing experience with her. When she is not ringing with Ring Sarasota, she enjoys working and ringing with Ring Sarasota’s smaller ensemble, RingSide. She is married to Stuart, and they share a home with their two schnauzers, Nicholas and Holly. She maintains an independent bookkeeping service by day; and at night, you will most likely find her creating at her sewing machine.
Phyllis joined Ring Sarasota in 2015, after moving to Bradenton from North Carolina with her husband, who pastors Roser Community Church, Anna Maria. As a music educator and church musician, she enjoys every aspect of making music: 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 musician/organist in Baptist, Methodist and Moravian congregations and cherishes time with her family and three wonderful grandchildren.
It’s ‘all in the family’, so to speak for Valerie. She drives an hour-plus north weekly to have fun ringing with her daughter Paige Hunt, who drives an hour-plus south. And Valerie has been ringing with family friend (and RS ringer) Terri Chapman on and off for 20 years, randomly following her from Connecticut to Florida. After a full career as a discovery scientist, Valerie is passionate about her second career in nursing. Time off is spent poking around her orchids, outdoors with her hubby, or planning trips to see her daughter Elyse in Colorado. Valerie has had the honor of ringing for the last 2 years under the direction of Michael Helman with the SWFL Handbell Ensemble in Cape Coral. She is thrilled to be invited to ring with her new bell family, Ring Sarasota.
Robin is enjoying retirement in Sarasota after working as a procurement analyst for a NC-based software company for many years. She has been playing handbells for over 50 years and relishes the challenge of ringing with Ring Sarasota. In her “spare” time, she sings in her church choir, volunteers as treasurer for three organizations and travels to North Carolina to spend time with her friends and family there, especially her grandson.
Suzi began ringing handbells at church in 1996 when she was asked if she read music and has been ringing ever since. Piano lessons paid off. She is employed as an Employee Benefits Manager for more than 25 years with the same employer. Recently an empty nester, Suzi enjoys yoga, strength weight training, and college sorority alumnae group and is involved with her church.
Carolyn began her music career at age four, when her parents realized that she could play all of her nursery rhyme tunes on the family piano. Lessons followed. She became the school chorus accompanist at 14. She’s received a B.A. degree from Ithaca College in behavioral psychology with a music minor, playing bass clarinet. Carolyn currently rings in three handbell ensembles, plays piano and keyboard for a big band, a pipe and drum band, a church choir, and the Bay Chorale in Bradenton. It’s no wonder her car says “It’s OK, 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 30 years, directed children’s handbell and choir-chime 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 and part time bicycle mechanic. He currently sings in his church choir, plays trumpet in a community band, does photography, and is an avid cyclist.
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.
Born into a family that already had two generations of bell ringers, it comes as no great surprise that Nils started playing bells at age seven. He joined his parents at a few statewide bell conventions, and continued to be in various bell choirs throughout high school and college; where he is now finishing an Associates of Science degree in Computer Information Technologies. After hopping in last minute as a substitute in a 2018 Christmas concert, Nils has become the go-to for everyone who needs an extra hand in any given piece.
Rebecca St. Pierre
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 more than 30 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
Christy Blue * 2010 – 2018
Valerie Bush * 2010 – 2016
Dori Copeland * 2010 – 2013
Janet Cook Ross * 2010 – 2016
Alan Corey * 2010 – 2011
Susan Davis 2018 – 2019
Marcia Haynes – 2011 – 2016
Jeanne Jessup – 2014 – 2018
Caryn Johnson 2015-2016
Thomas Mueller * 2010 – 2014
Julie Odenweller * 2010 – 2013
Sondra Thompson * 2010 – 2011
Lita Tyler 2013 – 2016
Libby Tyner * 2010-2017
Jennifer Weinstein 2018-2019
Cathy Winkler 2011 – 2012