Joan Fossum, director
Joan Fossum has been actively involved with handbells for more than 25 years. She has served as director of music at South Congregational Church, Concord, NH and Northwood, NH Congregational Church. Joan has studied handbells with Don Allured. She has served Area 1 AGEHR as member at large, has been a clinician and massed ringing director and is currently serving as the NH State Chair. She has rung with the New England Ringers. Joan works for the Pittsfield School District. She enjoys singing with the Concord Chorale, reading, and spending time with her new granddaughter.
Mary Divers is the Granite State Ringers business manager. She received her BS from Plymouth State and MM in music education from Westchester University in PA. She has been Minister of Music at Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Laconia since 2000 and director if the handbell choir, “A Joyful Noise” since its conception in 2002. Mary is also the organizer of the Greater Lakes Region Bell Festival.
Rebecca Butler has been playing handbells for almost 10 years. Her previous musical experience come from playing flute and piccolo for many years. She has been teaching for the Pembroke School District for 12 years as a classroom and special education teacher. She is married to Craig and resides in Laconia. Rebecca enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling and deep sea fishing with her husband.
Jeremy Cooper is a graduate of Harvard College and has owned his own business since 1969, designing and building pipe organs with mechanical actions. He has served as an organist in several churches, as well as being past president of the Concord Chorale, Inc.
Debbie Garland has played handbells with the Ringers on the Square choir at the United Church of Christ in Keene since 1979. She also played with the Quarter Notes handbell quartet for 12 years. Her musical history also includes playing the cello, baritone horn and piano. Debbie is a retired special education teacher . She and her husband Kent have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.
Carlene started playing handbells in 2004 when she joined the Memorial Bells at South Congregational Church in Concord and got so hooked, she filled in as an interim director. She is now the director of the Senior Handbell Choir at the Lee Church Congregational. She also has been singing in various choral groups, including the Manchester Choral Society, the Concord Chorale, and the Choral Art Society of Portland, Maine. She is currently working on a Master’s degree in Education with a certification to teach K-12 music. In addition to that, she is the Administrative Assistant to the President of the Concord Community Music School. In her free time, she can be found riding her bicycle.
Jane Sachs began playing handbells at her U.U. Church in Chelmsford, Massachusetts in 2000 and subsequently joined the Merrimack Valley Ringers because “once a week bells” was not enough. In 2007, she and her husband Richard (and dog Angus) retired to Grantham, N.H. where she substitutes in local bell choirs. In addition to bells she plays flute in the Upper Valley Community Band, quilts avidly, is learning to weave, and loves to hike.
Andrea Bourn was introduced to handbells by Joan Fossum at South Church in Concord in the early nineties. Her experience includes 6 years with Creekside Ringers in Edina, MN. Currently, she and her husband Frank ring with A Joyful Noise in Laconia, NH. They are retired and live in Meredith. Andy enjoys reading, quilting, knitting, RVing and playing senior women’s basketball. Her first grandchild will now steal time from these activities!
Meri Hirtle began ringing handbells at church conferences on Star Island in the late 1980’s. She has been ringing with Granite State Ringers for 4 years and enjoys every minute of it. She also rings bells for First United Methodist Church/Gilford. Meri’s musical abilities do not end with handbells. As a senior in high school she toured Europe with the American Youth Symphony and Chorus playing solo piccolo and flute and currently enjoys playing piccolo and flute with Gilford Community Band.
Emlee C. Kohler has been ringing since 1977, first in Area II and then Area V and presently with the Ringers-on-the-Square in Keene. Her handbell experiences include: solo, duet and ensemble performances. Emlee is a Psychology professor at Franklin Pierce University. She lives with her husband Howard and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Polly and Esther, in Hancock. She also enjoys kite-flying, toy collecting and RV-ing along the Maine coast.
Lynne Lemay has played handbells for over 10 years. She directed the Jubellation Handbell Choir at Wesley United Methodist Church, Concord for almost most of those years. She is a special education teacher working as a paraprofessional at John Stark Regional High School and in her free time enjoys cheering for her children at various sporting events. Her hobbies include playing piano, hiking, and reading.
Sharon Parker has been a bell ringer for over 30 years at her church in Rochester. She has played many different positions through the years and is thrilled to be a member of a challenging group playing a variety of music. She also serves as Secretary of this group. Sharon is a medical transcriptionist at Wentworth Douglass Hospital and Frisbie Memorial Hospital. She is the mother of three daughters and grandmother of three. She wishes to thank her family for their love and support.
Kandia Watson has been playing handbells for 25 years at t he First United Methodist Church in Rochester, where she directs the Witherell Handbell Choir. A graduate of Endicott College, Kandia works as a Commercial Loan Administrator for TD Bank. Kandia resides in Farmington with her husband and two children. She enjoys scrap booking and cross stitching as well as spending time with her family.
Lauré Mackey has been involved with handbells for more than 13 years, as director and as a solo, duet, and ensemble ringer with church choirs in NH, NJ, and VA. She has played with Back Bay Carillion, Casco Bay Ringers, and New England Ringers in past seasons. She has also taught beginning chime and handbell classes to K-8 students in a school music program. Currently, she and her husband are substitute ringers with two churches in Keene, NH. Lauré works as a virtual librarian online for Penn Foster School of Scranton, PA, and a bookkeeper with Counting House Associates of Greenland, NH. She and her husband Bruce have 2 teenage boys, four cats, and two Cavalier Spaniels.
Pam is very happy to be ringing with Granite State Ringers. Pam has been ringing handbells for over 15 years with the First Church of Nashua handbell choir. Most recently, Pam has rung with the United Ringers directed by Debra LeBrun. She has been involved with the AGEHR Area I as both former Secretary and the current Glove Tree Manager. Pam works at Target doing both the cash office and whatever tasks need to be done in the Guest Service Area. Pam currently lives in Milford, NH and loves being a mom to her daughters, Shanley and Kendra.
Diantha Dorman began ringing handbells in the late seventies when she was organist/choir director at the United Methodist Church in Rockville, Connecticut. She was AGEHR Area I, Chairperson from 1982-1985. In 2000, Diantha and her husband, Tom retired to Keene, NH to be nearer children and grandchildren. She now serves as director of Ringers on the Square and Jubilation Bells at Keene United Church of Christ.
Julie started playing handbells in junior high at Main Street United Methodist Church in Nashua, and currently plays with the Jubellation Bell Choir at Wesley United Methodist Church in Concord. Julie started ringing with Granite State Ringers in 2010 and she is thrilled to be part of this amazing group! Julie graduated from Smith College in 2008 and now works as a chemist at Horizon Technology in Salem, NH.
Kelly’s love of handbells began at age 10 when she joined the bell choir at her church, Main St. United Methodist church in Nashua, NH. She was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to continue playing bells with the Smith College Chapel Handbell Choir in Northampton, MA. She graduated from Smith College in May 2011, and is still playing with the choir at Main Street United Methodist Church. Kelly is absolutely thrilled to be playing with Granite State Ringers. In addition to handbells, Kelly also is an avid singer and pianist. She lives with her husband Matt in Milford, NH.