Magnolia Ring Instructors

Fred Gramman (Guest Conductor)

Area 6 Handbell Musicians of America is extremely honoured to welcome Fred Gramman as the Festival Clinician for the 2013 handbell festival in Hattiesburg, MS.   Fred is a native of Washington State where he began organ studies with Dr. Edward Hansen of Seattle.  He earned organ performance degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Michigan, moving to Paris in 1972 for organ study with Marie-Claire Alain and Maurice Duruflé.  Since 1976, he has been Director of Music at the American Church in Paris where he is organist and conducts the Adult Choir, the ACP Bronze Ringers, and the Celebration Ringers.  Fred also organizes the weekly Sunday evening classical concert series.  He has numerous choral and handbell works published in the United States and is the Honorary Associate Director of the Raleigh Ringers of North Carolina as well as co-conductor for the yearly European Handbell Festival.

John Wooton, D.M.A. (Percussion Instructor and Banquet Entertainment)

Area 6 is pleased to have Dr. John Wooton as our Banquet Entertainer and Class Instructor for Magnolia Ring.  Dr. Wooton is on the percussion faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi.  He is in frequent demand as a steel drummer and vocal soloist and is also active in many drumming groups including Kaiso! (Trinidad slang for Calypso), The Jazz Project, and The Down Isle Steel Band, all which showcase the amazing art of steel drumming.    John is also on the “Artist Roster” for the Mississippi Arts Commission and does everything he can to showcase and spread the art of steel drumming.  We are excited to have him on our faculty for the festival.

Dan Lawhon (Secular/Classical Reading Session Instructor)

Daniel (Dan) Edward Lawhon is a Kentucky native.  He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Belmont University, studying organ with Helen Trotter Midkiff.   Dan received his Master of Church Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the School of Church Music at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky where he studied organ with Boyd M. Jones, II and Donald P. Hustad.  He studied conducting with Jerry M. Warren and W. Irwin Ray, Jr. at Belmont and S. Milburn Price at SBTS.  Dan began playing in church at the age of nine and has served churches throughout the Southeast.  Most recently Dan served St. Matthews Baptist Church and Temple Emanuel B’Rith Shalom in Louisville, KY and First Baptist Church Huntsville, AL for nine years as Organist/Music Associate before accepting the post of Organist—Choirmaster at Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham, AL in 2008 .  Dan has served on the adjunct music faculties for SBTS, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Oakwood College, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and currently Samford University.   Dan is the musical director for the Heritage Ringers of Huntsville, an auditioned civic handbell choir and the Bells of Buchanan, the student handbell choir at Samford University.  He is currently the Chair for the Area 6 Handbell Musicians of America.  Dan has served as a keyboard clinician, accompanist and handbell clinician through much of the United States as well as Toronto, Vancouver and Moscow.  His hobbies include water skiing, running and cooking.

Evy Lamb (Bells in Worship and Chimes Instructor)

Arkansas Chair Evy Lamb first heard handbells in Omaha, NE, when she was Coordinator of the North Omaha Cluster of United Methodist Churches.  In graduate school, she had the opportunity to join a handbell choir and has been involved with them ever since, directing handbell groups at several churches.   In addition to Arkansas Chair, she has served on the Area VI Board as Chair Elect, Chair, and Chime Chair.  She has been involved in planning State and Area festivals and seminars, and has taught classes at local, state, area, and national festivals.  She is currently the Assistant Director of Ministries at Central United Methodist Church in Rogers, Arkansas, and directs handbell choirs for children, youth, adults, and ensemble as well as children’s vocal choirs.  She also is owner/director of Shepherd Music School in Rogers, Arkansas.

Barbara Broome (Unique Techniques Instructor)

Barbara Broome has been active as a handbell ringer, director, clinician, and teacher since 1979.  At Broadmoor Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, LA, she rings with the Broadmoor Belles & Beaux.  She also rings handbell duets and arranges much of the music for their team.  Barbara has served in several capacities on the Area 6 Board.

Andrew Duncan (Advanced Ringing Track Instructor)

Andrew is a long-time church musician currently serving as Director of Music and Worship at First United Methodist Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Andrew received his Masters degrees in Choral Conducting and Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and his undergraduate work as a piano major was at Middle Tennessee State University. Andrew is an active ensemble and solo ringer, as well as an enthusiastic conductor and composer. He is currently the editor of the online handbell music publishing company ring-Press (www.ring-press.com). Andrew lives in Knoxville with his wife Rachel and their three children.

Michael Sneed (Bass Bells Techniques Instructor)

Michael graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  At USM, he studied with Dr. Larry Smith and has been a bass bell ringer in USM’s Carillon handbell choir for over eight years.  With the bell choir, he has performed all over the world, including: Puerto Rico, five foreign countries, and with Princeton University’s jazz ensemble; performing music from director/arranger Hart Morris.  While at USM, Michael sang baritone and played the handbells at Dr. Smith’s First Presbyterian Church.  After college, he became a band director and has been teaching band for the past several years.  He was an assistant band director in Wayne County, MS and is currently the band director for Gonzales Middle School in Gonzales, LA.  He enjoys spending time in New Orleans; listening to live jazz music, golfing, traveling, and spending time playing with his dog, Eko.

Sandy McKinney (Yoga Instructor)

Sandy is a certified Yoga instructor and handbell director who lives in Robertsdale, AL.  She began ringing handbells in 1997 and began directing 2 years later at First Baptist Church of Fairhope, where she directs an adult 4 octave choir and a children’s choir of 5th and 6th graders.  She is a mom of 4 active and musical children and has been married for over 20 years to Steve McKinney, a former band director at Fairhope High School.  They now own and operate a small coffee and ice cream shop in Robertsdale, Alabama.

Larry Smith (Back to Basics Instructor)

Larry D. Smith has been a voice teacher and ensemble director since 1984 at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he is currently Professor of Music. In 1985 he founded the USM Carillon Handbell Choir, which he has conducted in concerts in 25 states and 12 foreign countries. In 2003, Dr. Smith organized the first European Handbell Festival which annually attracts handbell ringers from around the world to concertize in a mass handbell choir throughout Europe. Dr. Smith is also Director of Music at the First Presbyterian Church of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Larry is also our Area 6 Mississippi State Chair and Local Festival Liaison for Magnolia Ring.

Susan Mayfield (Bell Trees Instructor)

Susan has been directing handbells choirs for thirty years at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS.  The Paul Gaudet Memorial Handbell Choir has been in existence for this entire time period, and has progressed to advanced choir status, specializing in secular concerts for children and adults filled with movie and popular music of all types enhanced by props and appropriate posters.  The newer choir, the Covenant Evening Bells, also rings in the worship service on a regular basis and goes out into the community in December and April to entertain in various venues.  Susan has also served on the then AGEHR Board as Mississippi Representative and as Secretary, and has served as an instructor at several Festivals.

Kathy Mahloch (Change Ringing Instructor)

Kathy Mahloch is the Director of Music Ministry at Crawford Street UMC in Vicksburg, MS. She holds a BME from the University of Nebraska and an MME from Mississippi State University. She is past MS Chair and is currently the Chime Chair for Area 6. With over 25 years of handbell experience, Kathy has taught a variety of classes for Area 6 Festivals and Director’s Seminars.

Ruth Howald (What Do You Mean 11/8 and Weaving Instructor)

Ruth is Area 6 Treasurer, rings with Riverchase United Methodist Church, and has rung in the past with Embellishments of Birmingham and the Westminster Ringers of Westminster, MD.  By day, she is the Chief Actuary for the American Mining Insurance Company.

Gary Bynum (Ensemble Ringing and Advanced Techniques Instructor)

Gary Bynum serves as Associate Director of Music at Christ United Methodist Church in Chattanooga where he leads various vocal and instrumental ensembles.  A founding member of The Metropolitan Bells, Chattanooga’s advanced community handbell ensemble, Gary now serves in the role of music director for the group.  He is also co-chair of the annual Chattanooga Area Handbell Festival, now in its 13th year.  Gary holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Tennessee and a Masters of Business Administration from UTC.  He is a lifelong resident of Chattanooga and is Manager of Marketing Operations for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

Nancy McCracken (Four-In-Hand Instructor)

Nancy has been ringing handbells since 1969.  Having a degree in music, this is one of the outlets she uses to express her love of the art.  She has rung in several church handbell choirs throughout the years, and is a charter member of Embellishments, Inc, an auditioned ensemble in Birmingham, Alabama.  She has also done solo ringing and bell tree ringing, in concerts as well as in the worship setting. She enjoys the opportunity to improvise with those genres, by weaving tunes together, experimenting with different scales, and playing by ear. She has taught four-in-hand technique, weaving and ensemble techniques.  She pays her bills as a Physical Therapist, specializing in Neuro Rehab and Lymphedema treatment.  She and her best friend and husband Paul enjoy participating in archeological excavations in the Holy Land and doing community theater. They have three grandchildren, and are working on major spoilage!

Phyllis Kirk (Drills, Skills, & Thrills Instructor)

Phyllis Kirk has served on the Area 6 Board and on the National Board.  She has served as handbell clinician and conductor for State, Area and National Festivals and Directors’ Conventions, three festivals in Canada and the International Symposium in Australia.  She has led workshops at Montreat (Presbyterian), Junaluska (Methodist), Lutheridge (Lutherans), Music & Worship Conference for the Christian Church (DOC) and state workshops for North Carolina, Mississippi, Virginia, and Alabama Baptists.  She has several published handbell compositions and has articles published in Overtones.

Kathy Milstead (Color Me Happy Instructor)

Kathy Milstead attended Northeast Louisiana University (now known as ULM) on a 4 year vocal grant singing with the University Chorale under the direction of Dr. Edward Deckard. She graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems, and has spent the past 22 plus years working for CenturyLink, a national telecommunications provider located in Monroe, Louisiana.  Music, in one form or another, has always been a part of her life, but she fell in love with handbells when she started ringing in high school. Kathy is currently the volunteer handbell director for the Selah Ringers of First Baptist Church of Calhoun, Louisiana, and has served as the church’s volunteer Children’s Choir Director as well. When she is not busy directing, she rings solos, duets, and with the Red River Ringers, an advanced community handbell ensemble, in Shreveport, Louisiana. Kathy is the current Secretary for Area 6 HMA.

Tom Jones (Sacred Reading Session Instructor)

Tom Jones taught choral music for 33 years in Louisiana high schools.  He has a Bachelor’s in Music Education from University of Louisiana in Lafayette and a Masters Degree in Music Education from LSU in Baton Rouge.  Having served at many outstanding churches, Tom is currently the choirmaster and the director of handbells at the Plains Presbyterian Church in Zachary, Louisiana where he has served for more than 20 years.  He has taught private voice and piano.   Tom is currently the Louisiana State Chairman for HMA, and serves on the board of Area VI.   He is a frequent arranger of choral music and orchestral scores.   Tom is married to Eva Williamson, a handbell participant at this clinic, has three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Bill Moats (Bells Plus Other Instruments Reading Session Instructor)

William (Bill) Moats is a resident of Birmingham, Alabama. He attended and graduated from Kent State University in Music Education with a major in instrumental music.  He was a member of two military bands, playing trombone and euphonium before attending and graduating from Ball State University with a Master of Arts degree in Music.  As a band and orchestra teacher in Ohio, he taught in the Dayton Public Schools and the Trotwood-Madison City Schools.  Mr. Moats served as choir director at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Kettering, Ohio for 15 years.  In addition to vocal choir he directed a brass ensemble, church band, folk ensemble, and eventually started a handbell choir.  As a member of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Birmingham, Alabama, he directs the adult handbell and vocal choirs.  He has published handbell compositions with several publishers, published band music and brass chamber music.  During his professional career he has been a member of the Music Educator’s National Conference, Ohio Music Educators Association, Handbell Musicians of America (AGEHR), and the American Federation of Musicians.

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