Representing handbell ringers from Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and North Carolina, and promoting the musical art of handbell ringing

Board Election Results 2021

Jun 13, 2021 | Latest News

Your New Chair-Elect

The Chair-Elect position is for two years before becoming Chair. As the “Chair-in-training” the Chair-Elect will perform duties as assigned by the Board or as specified in the Area’s Governance document.

Kerry Johnston is Director of Music Ministry at First United Methodist Church in Cary, North Carolina. At First Methodist, he oversees a music ministry of 400 participants from kindergarten through adult, with a graded handbell program of over 80 participants. He served churches in Texas and Arkansas, before moving to North Carolina. Kerry holds a Bachelor of Music in organ performance from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and a Master of Sacred Music jointly from Perkins School of Theology/Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Kerry has
been involved with handbells since 1974, when he borrowed a 2-octave set of Petit & Fritsen bells to spur interest in the church he was serving. That started a long association with handbells and bell ringers. Kerry served previously on the AGEHR Area VI board as Arkansas State Chair. He was the founding director of Ozark Bronze, an auditioned community ensemble in Northwest Arkansas. Kerry has conducted massed ringing at festivals and taught numerous classes at workshops. He is also a composer and arranger, with handbell pieces currently in print with Beckenhorst Press, Lorenz Publishing, and Choristers Guild. In Kerry’s own words, “It would truly be an honor to serve as Chair Elect and Chair for Handbell Musicians of America Area 3. I would enjoy the opportunity to give back to this organization that has given me so much over the past forty years. If elected, I would like to see Area 3 explore offering some smaller, regional events, and also work on ways to reach ringers and choirs that are not currently a part of our membership.”


Your New At-Large Board Members

The primary job of the Area Board is to establish policies that connect membership needs and desires with the output of the organization. The Board governs with an emphasis on outward vision rather than internal preoccupation, collective decisions, and being future-oriented and proactive.

Neesa Hart has been ringing bells for 45 years. “There is nothing else,” she admits, “that I have stuck with this long — not even relationships! So, I guess, you could say, I am a ‘long-hauler.'” As someone who has always loved the inclusivity of the instrument, Neesa’s work in Handbells reflects that. She is the programming director for the Stafford Regional Handbell Society – and bears responsibility for the organization and planning of the Society’s 6 youth ensembles and 5 adult ensembles. “It is important to me that we have a place for every ringer. From 1st grade to Senior Citizen, students with special needs and professional musicians, we offer ensembles for every person who has a desire to make music with handbells.” She is also the co-creator of The Great Christmas Ring, a collaborative event that brings handbell musicians together to perform in large public spaces — most recently, at Carnegie Hall in 2019. “I believe,” Neesa says, “that the secret to building an audience and a following for our instrument is to put it out there for people to see. Novices are always fascinated by the bells. There is a certain magic to watching a group of people perform on a single instrument. The more we give the public quality music and performances, the more the public can appreciate the beauty of what we do. For me, the beauty of handbell ringing goes so far beyond the sound of the music. It is in the visual appeal. It is in the community that exists among an ensemble and, even, the handbell community at large. I can’t imagine my life without handbells in it — and I am deeply driven to spread that joy to others.”

In her tenure as an At-Large Area 3 Board Member, Neesa has been instrumental in several new initiatives. She played a key role in organizing the 2020 virtual Director’s Seminar. She has spearheaded a policy to broaden Area 3’s pool of workshop presenters for festivals and events, she, and the Coordinator of Events, are formulating ideas for an advanced youth ringing event and an advanced ringing event for individual adults. “I love serving on the board of Area 3 for so many reasons,” she says. “I love hearing what is going on with bells across our region. I love networking with, and resourcing for, other directors. I love facilitating new choirs that are just beginning their journey and celebrating with the veterans as they reach new heights of achievement and enjoy milestones of accomplishments. As an at-large member, it is exciting to talk about the future of bells in our area and lay groundwork for a vibrant and healthy ringing culture in years to come.”

Neesa is an advocate of handbells and large public performances. She is working with the National Park Service to bring a mass ringing event to the steps of the US Capitol for New Year’s of 2022, and to Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing arts for its December season. She is also partnering with Walt Disney World Resorts for a Christmas 2021 opportunity, with Carnegie Hall for a return of the Great Christmas Ring, and with Global Bronze Productions to bring non-seasonal ringing opportunities to world stages.

“If I have one goal for handbells,” she says, “and I realize this a little unorthodox – it is to replace in people’s minds the quintessential ‘Dicken’s Carolers Quartet’ as the go-to Christmas musical performance. While I love bells year- round, I recognize that bringing an audience into an awareness of what bells can do, and how they can sound, and what a world-class performance looks like – begins with meeting an audience where they are comfortable. There is a reason the Hershey Company got push back on the changes to their iconic handbell ad this year. People love to hear bells at Christmas. By tapping into that – we can help them love to hear, and play, bells beyond the Christmas season.”

That is the energy, vitality and vision Neesa plans to bring to the Area 3 Board in the next term. “We are emerging from a long period of silence and meditation. As the sun comes up on our next chapter, it is time, as we say in Stafford, to ‘grab your bells and get out there.’ The world needs the sense of community and joy handbell ringing provides. We have been isolated for so long, that the vibrancy of ringing together brings a new meaning to our musicianship.” The motto of the Stafford Regional Handbell Society is, “Every Ringer Counts.” That is the same vision Neesa brings to the Area 3 Board. “I love the inclusivity of handbells,” she says, “and that is the energy I look forward to harnessing with the Area 3 Board as we strive to make plans and create an environment where every Handbell Musician in our region has the opportunity to grow and flourish.”

Tammera Missell has been an active member of Virginia Handbell Consort for 6 years and Handbell Musicians of America 7. She started ringing handbells 30 years ago and has a passion for ringing. She first started ringing handchimes in middle school at FUMC in Kerrville, Texas, and was invited to join the adult handbell choir in 9th grade. Tammera started playing piano as a young girl and picked up the clarinet in the 6th grade (only because the band director would not let her start on oboe!).  She finally switched to oboe in the 7th grade and continued through her junior year of college, while also playing baritone in marching band. After a break from music while serving our country in the U.S. Navy and having a child, she joined one of the handbell choirs at FUMC Round Rock, Texas and continued to grow as a musician. Tammera is the handbell director at Trinity United Methodist Church in Smithfield, and enjoys ringing at various churches in Hampton Roads as a solo ringer. She is always looking for ways to bring the art of handbell ringing to others and expand the art of ringing. She enjoys thinking outside the box and problem solving, which is a must as a director!  Tammera holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. When she’s not ringing handbells or directing, she enjoys being a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, spending time outdoors, spending time with family, and traveling!

Dottie Tweedie
Having grown up in north Richmond, VA, surrounded with church music, it was discovered early that I had a “talent” for directing. The story is told, according to my father, that as an 8(ish) year old, I began “conducting” my mother’s church choir from the front pew of the sanctuary while sitting alone during the morning worship service. Dad sang bass, and even though he and the rest of the choir could clearly see my antics, my mother was kept in the dark for several months, until someone in the congregation commented, “she’s so cute, sitting up there directing the choir!”  

For all the years of piano lessons, school band (flute), show choir, and an apparent knack for things musical, my main interest in college was biology, ending up with a science degree from Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) in Wilson, NC. To keep from becoming a total science nerd, I sang in the college choir and by the time I was a senior, was the Music Department’s head secretary.

I came home to New Kent County in 1975 to take over the directing duties at Mom’s church in Hanover Co. It was there that I first encountered handbells when a church member said, “I just heard the most wonderful thing at the church I was visiting last week! We have to get some handbells… here’s $800 to get it started!” Charged with learning everything I could about bells, raising funds and recruiting the first bell choir, the church purchased 3 octaves of Schulmerich bells a year later in 1989. I “retired” from church work after 25 years to finally enjoy some free Sundays.

I am the founding director of The James River Ringers, an auditioned community group based in Richmond, VA since 1998. I have taught a variety of classes at Handbell Musicians of America’s Area III Adult Festivals, Directors Seminars and Bravissimo!, and led JRR’s many Ringer Workshops for beginning and advanced ringers. I have also served as the guest conductor for the Genesis track at HMA’s Ocean City Festival in March of 2011. When AGEHR dropped Pinnacle, I was instrumental in establishing Bravissimo!, Area III’s event dedicated to community and performing groups, and twice served as program chair for that event.

In 2016 I handed over JRR’s baton to step down into “retirement” although I am still active in supporting the group. At the end of 2016 I retired from my real job of working as the office manager for a residential building contractor.

After years of having other obligations vie for my time, I now feel like at this point in my life I have the flexibility to put my talents to use for Area III. Although I have been out of the loop for the past several years, I come with over 30 years of exposure to bells, both from the learning at the beginning to becoming knowledgeable and proficient toward the end. Area III and HMA have been the main source of my bell education, and I feel it still has a vital role in supporting and growing the art.


Your New Treasurer

The Treasurer handles all the financial matters of the Area including routine banking functions, budget planning, regular status reporting, and meeting annual IRS requirements.

Leslie Lewis has been ringing handbells since 1979 when she was introduced to them at the Montreat Worship and Music Conference. Leslie has been ringing in the bass section for Distinctly Bronze East since the event began in 1999 and participated in the Distinctly Bronze European Tour in 2007 and added Distinctly Bronze West in 2019. She has rung low bass in many area and national All Star Choirs and rang low bass at Virtuoso 2017 and 2019 sharing the stage with the Raleigh Ringers for the final concert.

Leslie is currently ringing with Queen City Ringers based in Charlotte, NC (currently serving as treasurer of the group) and is serving as the Treasurer for Area 3 of the Handbell Musicians of America.  She enjoys substituting for choirs in the Gastonia and Charlotte area and 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 available once ringing returns to ‘normal’ in the area.

After graduating from NC State 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, NC where she prepares all types of tax returns and as an Enrolled Agent represents clients during IRS tax audits and appeals. In 2015, Leslie added the role of Chief Accounting Officer for a commercial aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul station located in Medley, FL. 

Outside of bells Leslie enjoys playing golf and walking on the beach as a precursor to life after retirement.

In Leslie’s own words on why she would like to be Area 3 Treasurer – “When I assumed the role of Area 3 Treasurer in 2017 I noticed several anomalies in the accounting software and have made great strides in standardizing the accounting and cleaning up outstanding entries, but still have more I would like to see done to help future treasurers and simplify their job. Also, as someone who is passionate about ringing I want to continue working with the board to strengthen our financial position while growing our membership again.”


Thank you for helping to further the work of Area 3 by participating in this important election for your Board members.

Paul Brill, Area 3 Chair

Kath Wissinger, CHIME Loan Coordinator

Director, clinician, teacher, composer, ringer – Kath Wissinger loves all aspects of handbell ringing. This is her third term on the Area 3 Board – the first 2 as Secretary. She directs the teen ensemble “Spectrum” at Massanutten Presbyterian Church in Penn Laird, Va., and teaches 2 music classes (using bells and chimes) for 4th-8th grades as well as K-3 music at Redeemer Classical School in Harrisonburg, Va. She has taught and directed at local, regional, area and national events – for all Levels and ages. Kath has over 50 pieces in print – including a wide variety of ensembles and full choir pieces, some for double choirs, some with instruments, and a few original hymns accompanied by bells. She enjoys writing commissions for special occasions and pedagogical pieces that teach specific skills while still being musical. A former National Park Service Ranger, commissioned handweaver and Elder Hostel teacher, Kath currently teaches piano in her home studio in the Shenandoah Valley. Her website is: www.kathwissinger.wetpaint.com/.

Kathleen Wissinger

Kath embraces all aspects of bells–director, teacher, ringer, composer. Directing since 1988–advanced teen groups, young beginners, adults, community group, grades 4-8–she creates a wide swath of music for her diverse groups, plus commissions and pieces that simply catch her fancy. Well-known for unique originals and fresh arrangements–as well as unique series that include pedagogical pieces written over her 15 years of teaching–she also loves a good challenge in writing for solo/small ensemble, belltree, double choir; including voices and instruments; and adapting pop and movie themes. Her publishing company “ringTrue” features all these and more.

Al Reese

Al Reese has been the Musical Director of Virginia Handbell Consort since January 2008, has taught classes for ringers and directors at Handbell Musicians of America Area 2 and 3 events and has served as Massed Conductor for such events as La Plata, MD, Hampton (Genesis), Ringing at the Springs, Virginia Baptist Handbell Festival, and Area 3 Roanoke Festival. He was selected as the Associate Conductor for Distinctly Bronze East, 2015.

Al is a published composer and holds a Master of Church Music Degree with concentration in Handbells from Concordia University, Wisconsin where he studied with William Payn, John Behnke, and Arnold Sherman. He is currently an Adjunct Instructor in the Music Department of Norfolk State University teaching private Trumpet, Piano and Music Theory, and serves as the Music Director/Organist at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Suffolk, VA.

Ann Cameron Pearce

Ann Cameron Pearce has directed handbells at Highland UMC in Raleigh, NC since 1987, developing one of the most accomplished church choirs (comprised of adults spanning five decades) in the Triangle. A Raleigh native, she earned her Bachelor of Arts from UNC-CH and a Master’s from Duke Divinity School. She is a founding member (1986) of the Raleigh Flute Choir, in which she specializes in contrabass flute. She is a freelance performer and served twenty years as flute instructor at Saint Mary’s School. In 2011, she and one of her sons established an online sheet music publishing company, ScoreVivo.

Linda R. Lamb

Linda Lamb has been involved with handbells since 1992, as director, ringer, and composer. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Carson-Newman College (now University) with a minor in music, and a Master of Church Music with handbell emphasis from Concordia University Wisconsin. She is the founder and list owner of the Frustrated Friends of Finale (FFF), a mailing list for users of the computer music program who mostly compose and arrange for handbells. She has numerous handbell publications to her credit. She is married with two grown children and two grandchildren.

Nick Hanson

Nick Hanson received a BA degree from Concordia University, Irvine, CA, as a major in music with concentration in handbells. He is in his twelfth year as the director of handbell ensembles at the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia, teaching instrumental music to 5th – 12th grade students in four handbell ensembles. He is also in his tenth year as the handbell director at Bush Hill Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Nick has served as faculty, clinician, and conductor at handbell events in 13 states, Washington DC, and internationally in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. In 2015, Nick was chosen as the first-ever Associate Conductor for Distinctly Bronze, under the mentorship of renowned conductor, Dr. William A. Payn, and, he also conducted the Distinctly Teen ensemble at the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar in Dallas, Texas. This summer, he will be the co-conductor for the 2018 All-Star Handbell Ensemble at the National Seminar in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has written articles for the national handbell magazine “Overtones”, and has arranged and composed over 40 pieces of handbell music.

Pepper Choplin

Pepper Choplin is a full-time composer, conductor and humorist. With a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he went on to earn a Master of Music degree in composition from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His published works includes over 300 anthems for church and school choir with 20 church cantatas and two books of piano arrangements. Since 2013, he has conducted several cantatas with choir and full orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City; and at Meymandi Hall in Raleigh, NC. He also visits many schools, churches, and conferences to conduct and to entertain.

Brian Childers

Brian Childers is an accomplished composer whose works are performed throughout the world. He is in demand as a clinician and conductor. His easy-going style and teaching expertise quickly connects with ringers of all ages who respond with enthusiasm and energy. He currently serves as Director of Children and Youth Music at Myers Park United Methodist in Charlotte, NC where he conducts 7 handbell choirs. Brian is an avid runner and a rabid fan of the San Antonio Spurs. You can learn more about Brian and his compositions at BrianChilders.org.

Kyler Brengle

Kyler Brengle, Music Director at Westminster United Methodist Church (WUMC), is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, where he earned both a BS and MS in Music Education. His responsibilities at WUMC include directing all vocal choirs, children through adult, and the church’s 5-octave adult handbell choir. Kyler was a member of the Westminster Ringers, an auditioned community handbell ensemble, from 2006-2016, serving on their Board of Directors and as Assistant Music Director. He was the guest conductor for the Holston River Handbell Festival in Kingsport, TN in October 2017, and served as Area 3 Chair from 2015-2017.

Gregg Bogovich, Layout Coordinator

Gregg designs all of the floor plans for Area 3 festivals. He has been listening to handbells since 1996, and has been the unofficial roadie and videographer for his sister Lynn’s various handbell groups, including Anacrusis and the Community United Methodist Church in Crofton, MD.

Theresa Carpenter, Registrar

Bio coming soon!

Laura Blauch, Scholarship Chair

Laura Blauch started playing handbells in 1978, in her hometown of Emmaus, PA. Laura continued to ring after moving to Maryland, and in 2002, she was asked to form and direct a new handbell choir, as her church had received a memorial gift to purchase a new set of handbells. Laura began attending workshops and festivals, and quickly discovered that she loves directing as much as ringing! Laura moved to NC in 2006, and currently directs the Chancel Bells and sings in various choirs at Davidson United Methodist Church in Davidson, NC. Laura has a B.A. in Sacred Music (voice) from Lebanon Valley College and a Masters of General Administration from University of Maryland University College. She is a Senior Financial Analyst with HP. Laura is married to Dave, a Professor of Chemistry at Davidson College and bass ringer in Laura’s bell choir, has 2 wonderful children, Tim and Katie, 4 cats, and in her spare time, loves to play tennis.

Ken Bissell, Mentor Coordinator

Bio coming soon!

Karen Eggert, Historian

Retired from her 25+ year career as a librarian for the International Monetary Fund, Karen serves as the Area 3 historian/archivist helping to organize, preserve and make accessible the Area 3 historical materials for future handbell ringers. She also has a 20+ year stint ringing handbells with various choirs and currently rings with the Anacrusis Handbell Ensemble and duets with Chesapeake Bronze. These efforts have culminated in participating in numerous Distinctly Bronze events, Area 3 festival choirs and International Handbell Festivals.

Sarah Sheffield, Events Coordinator

Sarah’s start into handbells began like so many folks out there. In 1994 her church purchased a set of handbells. Since she could read music, she was on the short list of recruits. Thankfully she jumped at the chance as she has been playing bells ever since. Sarah currently rings with Queen City Ringers (since 2002 and is currently President) and with The Raleigh Ringers (2017 was her first year!). Even though she works for an Insurance Agency to pay for her handbell addiction, Sarah received a Music Education degree from Wingate University where her principal instrument was French Horn and secondary instrument was flute. She lives near Charlotte with her husband, Milton, who is a fellow ringer. Handbell highlights include: 3 performances at Disney World directing the Weddington UMC Youth Handbell Ensemble; participation in Distinctly Bronze East since 2002 and Distinctly Bronze West since 2014-2017; performing the National Anthem for the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers; and performing onstage with the Raleigh Ringers as part of Virtuoso 2013 and 2015.

Lynn Bogovich, Composition Contest Chair

Bio coming soon!

Susan Atkins, Chair (2023)

Susan M. Atkins, PHR, CEBS, of Richmond, Virginia, has been involved in instrumental music most of her life. Sue played bassoon and euphonium from middle school through college. She marched at the collegiate level with “Virginia’s Finest”, The James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes and is a life member of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national honorary band service fraternity. She met her husband, David, on the marching band practice field at JMU. Their son, Brian, followed in his parent’s footsteps as a low brass player – he was a tuba player in both high school and college. Sue started ringing handbells in the late 1980s and currently is active as an on-call substitute for churches throughout Richmond. Sue joined The James River Ringers, Richmond Virginia’s auditioned community handbell ensemble, in 1999. She held various positions on JRR’s Executive Board including at-large member, Vice-President, and President. She has rung at Distinctly Bronze on and off (mostly on) since 2003. While handbells are her love, the job that pays the bills for Sue is being a Director, Human Resources for Travelers Insurance supporting 350 employees in two Virginia offices. Sue has been in HR since 1986 and holds three HR credentials – Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Society for HR Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS).

Carl Ashley, Bell-O-Gram Editor

Carl is the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church in Goldsboro, NC, where he directs two handbell ensembles. Previously, he was the Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Mount Olive, where he conducted the Concert and Chamber Choirs and taught courses in the voice curriculum, church music, and music education. He holds a BMME from the University of Florida, an MM from Westminster Choir College, and a DMA in choral conducting from the University of Miami, where he studied with Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe. His choruses have consistently received the highest ratings at district and state MPAs, have won or placed in numerous national choral festivals, and have performed at Carnegie Hall on several occasions. He is in demand as a conductor, composer/arranger, clinician, and adjudicator. He conducts Goldsboro’s premier community choir, the III Century Singers, and his choral music is published by National Music, Colla Voce, and Walton. Carl is the editor of the Carolina Caroler, a publication of the NC ACDA, and is the founder of Songworth.org, a ministry dedicated to the composition of contemporary hymnody. He and his wife Marie, an elementary music educator and opera singer, live in Mount Olive, NC, with six-year-old son, Ian.

Marcia Payne Wooten, Secretary

Marcia Payne Wooten is a retired Foreign Language Educator (Spanish, French, ESL, FL Pedagogy) and “Abuela” to the twin tornados (4 years old and in high gear). She is also the Director of Music and organist at Union Grove United Methodist Church in Union Grove, NC. She has been involved with handbells as a ringer, director, soloist, roadie, etc since 1998 when Bob Ivey came to introduce handbells to her church.  She has attended several National Seminars (Des Moines was the first), Area III and XII conferences, and Distinctly Bronze East in 2017. Marcia rang with Bells of Lake Norman for a year and a half until Covid shut down everything and plans to continue to ring when they start back up. Handbells have contributed so much in her life, and she is ready to serve Area 3 as needed.

Jerry Hill, Metro D.C. Chair

Jerry Hill is the handbell director at First Baptist Church Alexandria, Virginia where he oversees the handbell ministry and directs the Adoration Ringers and children handbell choirs.  He is also the music director at Christ Episcopal School in Rockville, Maryland where he directs four hand chimes choirs.  Jerry earned his master’s degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  He has taught in both private and public schools for over 25 years as well as served on several church staffs.  In 2009 Jerry represented the National Association for Music Education on a cultural exchange program to China.  His choirs have performed on national television, regional conferences and recently performed at the National Cathedral. He is a former Area 3 District Chair for Northern Virginia.

Trinity Martin, North Carolina Chair

Trinity Martin, residing in the greater Charlotte area, has been playing and directing handbells for nearly 25 years. She currently is the Master Theory Instructor for the National Handbell Musicians of America which includes both writing the curriculum and teaching the theory classes 1, 2 and 3 starting the summer of 2021 in Phoenix, AZ. Trinity holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory from Belmont University in Nashville, TN, and a Master of Music degree in Music Theory from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Trinity received a full assistantship working as a graduate instructor teaching theory and aural skills and served as the University’s theory tutor. Upon receiving her Master of Music degree in Theory, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro hired her as an adjunct theory professor teaching advanced undergraduate theory and aural skills. She went on to pursue the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, NC finishing her course work but is still contemplating her dissertation. Trinity Martin is the Director of Music at St. Francis United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC where she works with an enthusiastic adult choir, adult, youth and children’s handbells and a very active children’s choir. Trinity has over 20 years of experience in music ministry previously serving as the Director of Handbells, Youth and Children’s Music at Myers Park United Methodist Church (Charlotte, NC) where she worked with 7 handbell ensembles, 3 children’s choirs and a youth choir. She served at Elon Community Church (Elon, NC) as Director of Children and Youth Music and Handbells, overseeing and directing eight ensembles from pre-k to adults. While at Elon she planned and directed a Music Camp for children and youth ages 2-18 that attracted close to 100 kids every summer. She served as Director of Music at Sedge Garden United Methodist in Kernersville, NC and at Summerfield United Methodist in Summerfield, NC and was a college music intern at Belmont United Methodist in Nashville, TN. Trinity joined the 2018-2019 season of Charlotte Bronze, an elite handbell ensemble performing all over the southeast, and served as the ensemble’s assistant conductor. Trinity is married to Steve Martin, an attorney and a very talented musician in his own right. They have three daughters together, Gwen and Evvy (twins), and their youngest, Harper. In Trinity’s spare time she loves to cook and bake and has become quite the accomplished bread maker.

Reggie Fox, Virginia Chair

Bio coming soon!

Beau Lochte, Maryland Chair

Musician, teacher, composer, and conductor with a degree in Music composition from Towson University, Beau Lochte currently directs three handbell programs and teaches over 20 piano students. He arranges original, popular and symphonic music for handbells including Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor. He also performs regularly as a solo ringer and in chamber ensembles. In 2013 Mr. Lochte founded Charm City Bronze Handbell Ensemble (CCB) in Baltimore, MD. This exciting group ranges in age from youth to adult and performed alongside Arsis Youth Handbell Ensemble from Estonia in 2014. CCB has twice participated in the annual Festival of Trees to benefit the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland and has also live-streamed concerts from unique venues in Baltimore such as the historic Bromo Seltzer Tower, the Pagoda in Patterson Park and the Palm House at the HP Rawlings Conservatory.

Kevin Chamberlain, DelMarVa Chair

Kevin B. Chamberlain serves as Minister of Music and Organist Avenue United Methodist Church, Milford, DE. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, and a Master of Music in Church Music with an emphasis in Organ Performance from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Beginning December 1, 2019, Kevin will be starting a doctoral degree in Worship from the Institute for Worship Studies in Jacksonville, Florida. Kevin works part-time at POLYTECH High School in Woodside, DE where he teaches all of the choral classes and several music technology classes throughout the year. He serves as the Assistant Director/Accompanist for the Mispillion Children’s Chorus; a non-profit organization providing educational and inspirational music to children ages 6-12yrs old. Kevin serves as the co-Director of the Lay Servant Academy for the Dover District Board of Laity in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is on the faculty of the Music School of Delaware where he teaches private and group piano lessons. He also maintains a small private piano and organ studio with several high school students. Kevin is involved with various professional music organizations where he serves in various capacities. He has long been an active member of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, the American Choral Directors’ Association, as well as the Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada.

Neesa Hart, Board Member (2025)

Neesa Hart began playing handbells in 4th grade at First Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. After six years of highly unsuccessful piano lessons, she persuaded her mother to let her make the switch. Thus began a life-long love of handbell musicianship and the relationships, experiences, and musical camaraderie that comes with ringing. She is the program manager for the Stafford Regional Handbell Society — a community ringing organization in the Fredericksburg, VA area. She is responsible for concert planning for the Society’s 9 ringing ensembles, inventory and maintenance of the equipment, and administration of the Society’s Bells After School program — a music instruction program for elementary – high school age students using handbell ringing to teach advanced musical concepts. Founded in 2005, the Society’s youth ringing program enjoys a national reputation for musical excellence and innovation. She is also the organizer for the National Honors Handbell Ensemble, a national youth ringing event the Society sponsors. She is the co-creator of The Great Christmas ring, a mass ringing event for handbells held world wide annually. She has also served AREA 3 in various volunteer capacities as equipment chair and workshop chair for several events. Neesa hopes to bring her commitment for innovations in youth ringing and growth for Handbell Musicians of America to the Area 3 Board. Handbell musicians need innovative solutions to sustaining and growing handbell ringing programs. Thinking beyond the walls of the church, new approaches to community ringing, and a commitment to viable and sustainable youth ringing programs is essential to the future of Handbell musicianship. She would like to serve the members of Area 3 by equipping existing handbell programs to grow and thrive, and by identifying underserved populations and establishing handbell ringing programs at the local level.

Debra LeBrun, Board Member (2023)

Debra LeBrun received her B. Mus. from Syracuse University and her M.M. in Organ Performance from the University of Illinois at  Urbana/Champaign. In October 2010 she became the full-time Director of Music for Raleigh Court United Methodist Church in Roanoke, VA after serving for 24 years as the Minister of Music for the Congregational Church of Littleton, MA. She has been a professional musician for over 30 years, working as a church music director and organist, conductor, accompanist, director for musical theater and opera productions, teacher of piano and organ, and as a handbell clinician. Debra’s love affair with handbells began in college and handbells have played an important role in her life ever since. She is a past member of the New England Ringers and now performs regularly as a handbell soloist. Debra has served on the Handbell Musicians of America Area I Board as Secretary and Chair, as well as being involved in organizing and teaching at many handbell events throughout New England and in Virginia. She has attended five International Handbell Symposiums and was selected to be in the All-Star Choir representing the United States at the 2012 International Symposium in Liverpool, England.

Dottie Tweedie, Board Member (2025)

Bio coming soon!

Laura Swafford, Board Member (2023)

Bio coming soon!

Tammera Missel, Board Member (2023)

Tammera has been an active member of Virginia Handbell Consort since January 2015 and Handbell Musicians of America since June 2014. She started ringing handbells/handchimes in 1991 at FUMC Kerrville, Texas. Tammera started playing piano as a young girl and picked up the clarinet in the 6th grade (only because the band director would not let her start on oboe!).  She finally switched to oboe in the 7th grade and continued through her junior year of college, while also playing baritone in marching band. After a break from music while serving our country in the U.S. Navy and having a child, she joined one of the handbell choirs at FUMC Round Rock, Texas and continued to grow as a musician. Tammera is the handbell director at Trinity UMC in Smithfield, and enjoys ringing at various churches in Hampton Roads as a solo ringer. She is always looking for ways to bring the art of handbell ringing to others and expanding the art of ringing. She enjoys thinking outside the box and problem solving and has a passion for the art of handbells! Tammera holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. When she’s not ringing handbells or directing, she enjoys being a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, spending time outdoors, spending time with family, and traveling!

Leslie Lewis, Treasurer (2025)

Leslie Lewis has been ringing handbells since 1979 when she was introduced to them at the Montreat Worship and Music Conference. Leslie has been ringing in the bass section for Distinctly Bronze East since the event began in 1999 and participated in the Distinctly Bronze European Tour in 2007. She has rung low bass in many area and national All Star Choirs and recently rang low bass at Virtuoso 2017 sharing the stage with the Raleigh Ringers for the final concert. Leslie has been treasurer for the Mid-Carolinas Handbell Festival committee since 1998 and has been responsible for table layout since the festival began. She is currently ringing with Queen City Ringers based in Charlotte, NC (currently serving as treasurer of the group) and is serving as the Treasurer for Area 3 of the Handbell Musicians of America. Leslie enjoys substituting for choirs in the Gastonia and Charlotte area and dabbles in solo ringing. After graduating from NC State 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, NC where she prepares all types of tax returns and as an Enrolled Agent represents clients during IRS tax audits and appeals. In 2009, Leslie added the role of Director of Commission Accounting for a growing Charlotte, NC based Brokerage Firm with branches in seventeen states until she left at the end of 2015 to pursue the role of Chief Accounting Officer for a commercial aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul station located in Medley, FL.

Kerry Johnston, Chair-Elect (2025)

Kerry Johnston is Director of Music Ministry at First United Methodist Church in Cary, North Carolina. At First Methodist, he oversees a music ministry of 400 participants from kindergarten through adult, with a graded handbell program of over 80 participants. He served churches in Texas and Arkansas, before moving to North Carolina. Kerry holds a Bachelor of Music in organ performance from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and a Master of Sacred Music jointly from Perkins School of Theology/Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Kerry has been involved with handbells since 1974, when he borrowed a 2-octave set of Petit & Fritsen bells to spur interest in the church he was serving. That started a long association with handbells and bell ringers. Kerry served previously on the AGEHR Area VI board as Arkansas State Chair, and on the HMA Area 3 board as North Carolina State Chair. He was the founding director of Ozark Bronze, an auditioned community ensemble in Northwest Arkansas. Kerry has conducted massed ringing at festivals and taught numerous classes at workshops. He is also a composer and arranger, with handbell pieces currently in print with Beckenhorst Press, Lorenz Publishing, and Choristers Guild.