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No event is great on its own. It takes amazing people teaching classes, leading reading sessions, and conducting musicians. On this page, you can meet all of the amazing people who create the faculty for Summit 2018.

Carolynne Mathis – Master Clinician

Carolynne Mathis is Professor of Handbells at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she conducts two ensembles and teaches handbell techniques and pedagogy. She is also the director of handbells at Faith Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Carolynne has served as a clinician at local, area, and national events. She is the author of the book Teaching Young Ringers and has conducted Distinctly Teen at the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar.

Carolynne is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Reading Session: Handbell Gems to Rediscover

Mark Arnold

MarkArnoldMark Arnold is a graduate of the University of Kansas, with Bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Music Theory and advanced study in Computer Science. An active church musician for most of his life, he currently serves as Director of Handbell Ministries at the First Baptist Church of Keller TX, where he also plays bass in the worship band and horn in the orchestra. Mark’s professional experience includes many years of directing handbells, teaching school orchestras, leading adult and children’s choirs, and playing horn in community ensembles. In addition to leading workshops and clinics, he has published arrangements for both brass and handbell ensembles. In his “spare” time, he manages software development projects for a major North American transportation provider. Mark and his wife, Robin, have three grown children and reside in Fort Worth, Texas.

Mark is teaching the following classes/tracks:
4 On The Floor – Getting Started with Handbell Quartets & Ensembles
Extending Your Reach – Creating a Culture of Handbells in Your Church
Reading Session: Young at Heart

Kim Braswell

Kim Braswell“Do what you love and you’ll love what you do” was the advice from Kim Braswell’s father when she was a child in New Orleans, LA. She has spent her life living by those words. Kim pursued her passions both in education and handbells at the University of Southern Mississippi where she received her Bachelors of Music Education. It was there where she had the opportunity to travel the country and the world with Carillon Handbell Choir under the direction of Dr. Larry Smith. Since graduation, she has continued ringing in every location where she has lived and taught everyone from pre-K through retirees in multiple settings. Kim is currently the West Regional Membership Coordinator for Handbell Musicians of America and is excited to be able to serve the Guild in a larger capacity. As a military wife, she has lived a mobile life and is from everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. She and her husband are currently stationed in Altus, OK. They have three “fur-babies” of the four-legged kind that brighten their home. Kim enjoys playing flute, crocheting, and volunteering in her spare time.

Kim is teaching the following classes/tracks:
All Strung Up
Total Recall

Andrew Dugan

Andrew DuganAndrew Dugan has worked as a choral and handbell musician for the past twenty years. Andrew graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Organ and Vocal Music Education. He has taught choral music at the middle and high school levels in both Oklahoma and Texas and was also privileged to teach two years of handbells in the public school system. Andrew has served as Minister of Music or Organist at several churches throughout the Oklahoma/Texas region. Currently, Andrew resides in Tulsa and works as a travel agent and ringing and assisting with an ensemble at Asbury United Methodist Church.

Andrew is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Progressive Ring
Reading Session: Potpourri

Karen Eastburn

Karen Eastburn has been hooked on ringing, directing and helping others start handbell ensembles since 1992. Formerly on staff at Custer Road UMC in Plano, TX for over 22 years, she guided the program from 3 ensembles to 7 and still rings and directs as a volunteer. As a performer, Karen was selected for the first Virtuoso advanced ringer event sponsored by The Raleigh Ringers in 2013. In the handbell community, Karen is a member of the Handbell Musicians of America for which she has authored resources for church musicians on topics such as ringer retention and program organization. Karen is past secretary of the Dallas Chapter Choristers Guild and is again serving on the Greater Dallas Handbell Association as secretary. Being a dedicated Malmark customer eventually led to Karen becoming the sales and service representative for Texas and Oklahoma which she’s continued for over 11 years. Karen has taught Malmark maintenance classes in Texas, Oklahoma and at HMA national seminar.

Karen is teaching the following classes/tracks:
The Cajon: Why You Should Get Into, Otta, and Onto the Box
Handchimes: More Than a Cheap Substitute for Handbells
Malmark Maintenance Class
Taking the Mystery Out of Multiple Bell Ringing

Josh Fitzgerald

Josh FitzgeraldJosh Fitzgerald is originally from Colorado but has had handbell experiences all over the world. Some career highlights include starting a handbell ministry in Nicaragua, performing an international tour through Europe with Kokopelli Bells, and spending three weeks in Japan ringing with Sonos. Josh has been honored to be a clinician at events in Areas 5, 8, and 11, and is a Distinctly Bronze Alumni of twelve years. He has also been privileged to ring with nine different auditioned community choirs in four states.

Before moving Dallas, Josh served the Area 5 board as the Ohio State Chair and was the director of creative arts for a large congregation. In that position, he led a handbell ministry of eight ensembles in addition to a variety of instrumental, vocal, puppet, and drama ministries. However, in 2014, Josh decided to pursue his love of travel by returning to the air as a flight attendant. He also owns and operates a retail business around his flight schedule. For fun, he enjoys playing other instruments including the harp and piano, going to amusement parks and fairs, and attending live auctions.

Josh is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Advanced 4-in-Hand
Beginning 4-in-Hand
No More Cups and Sticks!
Six-In-Hand Methods (For Treble Bell Hogs!)
Successful Sight-Reading

Brenda Granger

Brenda GrangerBrenda A. Granger is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Museums Association. She started in that capacity in January 2005. From 1994-2005, Brenda served as Executive Director of the Edmond Historical Society Museum in Edmond, Oklahoma. Prior to that, she was Volunteer Coordinator/Promotions Manager at the Harn Homestead Museum in Oklahoma City. Immediately following her graduate work, she was employed by the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture and Meacham and Associates Resource Planning and Design in Norman, Oklahoma where she conducted research, completed preservation surveys and wrote historical contexts for National Register Nominations.

Brenda grew up in Oklahoma and received her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in History/Museum Studies. She received museum training at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. She serves on several boards, commissions, and committees and loves visiting museums.

The mission of the Oklahoma Museums Association is to support Oklahoma museums in their efforts to educate, inform and entertain. The Oklahoma Museums Association is a non- profit 501(c)3 charitable organization founded in 1972. Programming offered by the Oklahoma Museums Association is important as the primary source of information and professional development for Oklahoma’s 500+ museums, historical societies, historic sites, zoos and botanical gardens, historic houses, living history museums, tribal cultural centers and other museum-related institutions.

Brenda is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Audience Expansion Through Collaborations with Cultural Organizations

Ben Harris

Ben HarrisBen has been “addicted” to handbells since 1980, and his first connection with the AGEHR (now Handbell Musicians of America) was the 1987 Western National Festival in Minneapolis, MN (a hockey arena was used for massed-ringing sessions – interesting acoustics and sound!). He graduated from Concordia University (St. Paul, MN) with Elementary Education and Director of Christian Education degrees and later earned a Master of Music degree in organ performance from Rice University (Houston, TX).

Pursuing his handbell addiction, he attained the AGEHR Level 1 Director Certification “with distinction” in 2007. Ben rings with the Houston Bronze Ensemble and was the Conductor and Artistic Director from 2006 to 2010. Ben is a member of the Handbell Musicians of America (HMA), the American Guild of Organists (AGO), and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM). He also sings in the Texas Master Chorale, an auditioned semi-professional chorus based in northwest Houston.

Ben believes in championing the arts he thoroughly enjoys and has served on local and area Boards of Directors for several non-profit music organizations. He has taught handbell classes at local, Area, and national HMA events as well as the National AGO Convention in Houston in 2016.

Ben currently is an engineering project manager for HP Inc. and volunteers as the handbell director at Trinity Lutheran Church in Spring, TX. Before joining HP, he served as Director of Music/Organist at various churches in Minnesota and Texas.

Ben is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Director as Diagnostician
Now that You Have the Notes, Let’s Make Music!

Lee Hinson

Lee HinsonLee Hinson is in his thirteenth year as Professor of Church Music at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK. He has served as a worship leader in local churches for 40 years, engaging primarily in interim and supply work since 1999. Before coming to OBU, Dr. Hinson taught at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO from 1999 to 2005, and was Director of the Church Music Program. Before teaching at Midwestern he worked as the Small Church and Associational Music Consultant for LifeWay Christian Resources. Dr. Hinson began conducting OBU’s University Ringers in 2007. In recent years the Ringers have toured in Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma. They are regular performers in OBU’s annual Christmas Chapel and Hanging of the Green. The group performed at the 2015 Baptist Church Music Conference in Oklahoma City. As a 1977 music education graduate of Baylor University, Dr. Hinson also holds a master of music degree from East Texas State University (now Texas A & M at Commerce), and a doctor of musical arts degree in church music from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition, he earned a master of arts degree in religious education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For almost nineteen years Dr. Hinson has been the regular writer for the opening article of The Music Stand, a choir director’s quarterly magazine contained in the Glory Songs Kit published by LifeWay Christian Resources. In addition to his work at OBU, he is currently the minister of music at Shawnee Bible Church.

Lee is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Creative Performance Ideas for Handbells and Chimes

Venita MacGorman

Venita MacGormanVenita MacGorman has been a music educator and handbell director for over forty years. She has taught hundreds of beginners to ring bells and chimes. She recently retired from her position as a church music director and now serves as musical director of the Oklahoma City Handbell Ensemble.

Venita is a former chair of Area 9 of Handbell Musicians of America. She has also served this group as Oklahoma Representative and as Education chair. She has led handbell workshops for HMA and Choristers Guild at the local, state, area and national levels. She is the author of the handbell method books Basic Training for Bells (with her daughter Erin) and Basic Training 2: Rhythm Training for Ringers (with her daughters Erin and Kristen). She is a member of the Oklahoma Native American Flute Circle and plays flute and pennywhistle in a Celtic band.

Venita and her husband Don live in Norman, Oklahoma, where Don works for the National Severe Storms Laboratory. Their household is dominated by their two cats, Strider and Arwen, and a love of all things Tolkien and Harry Potter.

Venita is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Child’s Play: All the Children Ring
Child’s Play: Cracking the Code
Child’s Play: Handbell Petting Zoo
Meet the Native American Flute
Reading Session: Just for Fun!

William Mathis

William MathisWilliam (Bill) has served the Handbell Musicians of America in several capacities, currently as a member of the national Board of Directors. He is an active clinician in both the choral and handbell fields. As a festival conductor and workshop clinician, he leads local, regional, and national events, giving special emphasis to teaching rehearsal technique and musicianship. He is the founder and music director of Bells of the Lakes, and the music director of StreetSong MN, Hennepin Chime, and Chorus Polaris. His compositions are found in the catalogs of 15 publishers.

William is teaching the following classes/tracks:
After the Prelude
The Basics of Conducting
Finding the Music on the Page: Score Study 101

Carol Lynn Mizell

Carol Lynn MizellCarol Lynn has been the Handbell Director at First United Methodist Church in Denton, TX, since 1994. She rings handbells with Concert Bells of Fort Worth (charter member-1998), and has been the Conductor of the Denton Community Band since 1978. Carol Lynn is a published composer, has served as Handbell Clinician at Area and National events, and as Massed Conductor for Area Events. She currently serves as President of the Greater Dallas Handbell Association.

Carol Lynn is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Ringing from the Middle: Battery Bell Techniques (G4 to B5)
Shaping the Handbell Phrase: Achieving Musicality

Joel Plaag

Dr. Joel PlaagDr. Plaag is Director of Traditional Worship at Cypress Creek Christian Church where he directs the chancel, bell, and children’s choirs. He has been on the faculty of colleges in Texas and Arkansas. Churches he has served at include First United Methodist Church of Brenham, Holy Cross Lutheran Church of Houston, and First Christian Church of Grand Prairie, as well as a staff singer at churches and synagogues including Congregation Beth-El of Fort Worth, Emmanuel of Livingston, NJ, and Westcliff United Methodist of Fort Worth. He holds degrees from Texas Christian University, Rider University and the University of Houston, and major professors include Ronald Shirey, Ruth Whitlock , Joseph Flummerfelt, and Charles Hausmann. He has also studied orchestral conducting with Robert Gutter and Ovidiu Balan. Dr. Plaag lives in Spring with his partner Michael and their two dogs, Poogie and Freckles.

Joel is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Changing Time: Conducting In & Out of Different Meters & Tempos

Debbie Rawlins

Debbie RawlinsDebbie Rawlins, Adjunct Professor of Studies in Music for Children at Sam Houston State University for the 16th semester, graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Music Education with Elementary Certification and a Masters of Music Education. She has taught in the Texas public schools for 29 years including Lubbock I.S.D., Bryan I.S.D., Lexington I.S.D., LaPorte I.S.D., Spring Branch I.S.D. and Spring I.S.D. She has had experience in classrooms as a classroom grade-level teacher, music specialist (K-5), middle school general music teacher and high school choir director. She has had numerous student teachers from Sam Houston State University, University of Houston, Baylor University and Texas Tech University during her 29 years.

She has been a clinician, in 2017 and 2018, for the Houston Area Suzuki Piano Teachers Association workshop, teaching Music and Movement to ages 4 through 18. She has certification levels in the Orff-Schulwerk and Kodaly methods and has also been affiliated, as piano accompanist, with the Spring Branch Girls’ Choirs and as a Lead Teacher of the Spring I.S.D. Honor Choir. She has been the Lead Teacher of the Elementary Students’ Performance for the Texas Association of Superintendents and Administrators Convention in 2003.

From 1990 until 2006, Mrs. Rawlins directed 4th and 5th-grade handchimes groups at Memorial Drive Christian Church in Houston, Tx and at Hirsch Elem. and Salyers Elem. in Spring I.S.D.

While affiliated with Spring I.S.D., she received the coveted Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award and Teacher of the Year Award. She has also led New Music Teacher Inservices and has been an Elementary Music Consultant for the district.

Formerly an oboist, she has taught privately in Lubbock and Bryan, Tx and has performed with the Roswell Symphony, Midland-Odessa Symphony, and Brazos Valley Symphony.

Her affiliations include Phi Delta Kappa, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Retired Teachers Association and the Handbell Musicians of America.

Believing that volunteer work is extremely important, she has been President, Vice-President, and President-Designate of the Spring High School Band Boosters. She currently, and for the 12th year, is Chairperson for the 85-booth Dickens on Cypress Creek Christmas Market at Cypress Creek Christian Church, and is in her 18th year as the Coordinator of the Spring High School Band/Orchestra Spring Splashtown Music Festival.

Mrs. Rawlins is a volunteer assistant for the Music Ministry at Cypress Creek Christian Church where she also teaches 3rd through 5th grade Sunday School, is a member of the Disci-Bells handbell group and sings with the Cypress Creek Community Chorale.

Debbie is teaching the following classes/tracks:
How To Use Handchimes with 3rd Grade through Middle School

Linda Rutherford

Linda RutherfordLinda Rutherford first started ringing handbells in 1982 and was hooked. She has directed choirs in Indianapolis and Austin and has also been a member of the Indianapolis Handbell Ensemble and a charter member of the Austin Handbell Ensemble. Linda teaches an introductory class at Veritas Academy in Austin and is a clinician at the Heart of Texas Suzuki Organization weekend seminar. In addition to ringing at multiple handbell events in the United States, she has had the privilege of ringing with groups in Scotland and Italy.

In 2013, Linda went with a group from Covenant Presbyterian Church to Luyano, Cuba and took a two octave set of handchimes to the church. When the team returned to Cuba last year, they took the needed handchimes to complete three octaves. It is a thrill for her to receive emails with pictures of the group playing for church services there.

Linda received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Eastern Kentucky University and her Master of Music Education degree from the University of Texas. She has taught instrumental music, worked as an educational editor at Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, and was a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching ESL classes and traveling.

Linda is teaching the following classes/tracks:
Reading Session: The Other Holidays

Area 9 reserves the right to cancel any portion or all portions of Summit 2018
if the number of registrations is deemed insufficient.

Summit 2018 Sponsors

Phillips 66
Dinner/Lunch Sponsor

Wilson Van Tine
Dinner/Lunch Sponsor

Houston Bronze Ensemble
Director Sponsor

Malmark Bellcraftsmen
Musician Sponsor

Schulmerich Bells
Musician Sponsor

Austin Handbell Ensemble
Wi-Fi Sponsor

Heitz Handbells and Music
Wi-Fi Sponsor

Use of Tablets to Hold Music

Handbell Musicians of America is committed to upholding the copyright laws of the United States and protecting the rights of our publishers, arrangers, and composers. If you wish to use a tablet computer to hold your music in place of standard paper copies on a music stand, you must contact the publisher of each piece of music to first obtain permission to convert a purchased piece of music to the format required for the tablet you are using. Copies of the written permission received from publishers must be presented on request from the event organizer, event chair, or Handbell Musicians of America staff. Permission from a publisher for one piece does not imply permission for other songs from the same publisher. The title of each song used in this format must be included in the written permission received. Attendee should also have legally purchased copies of all music with them for verification.