Meet the Ringers

Karen E. Leonard photo
MVR’s Artistic Director is KAREN E. LEONARD. She is a graduate of Boston University and UMass Lowell with degrees in church music, organ performance and conducting. In 1968 as a college junior, Karen competed in the organ category of the Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Fraternity Competition and was one of three winners of the entire competition across all categories. The award was a two-year concert tour across the United States designed to help launch a concert career. At the conclusion of the two-year tour, Karen gave up the possibility of a promising concert career as an organist in favor of church music where she felt she was being called. She is now in her 46th year as Minister of Music at West Chelmsford United Methodist Church in North Chelmsford, MA where she directs a graded choral and handbell program of seven choirs and also serves as organist. Karen served fourteen years on the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (AGEHR) Area I Board of Directors before becoming the National President in 1999 for a four-year term. In 2008, Karen was awarded Honorary Life Membership in AGEHR (now known as Handbell Musicians of America), the highest award given for extraordinary service to the organization. She continues to serve HMA as Chair of its National Master Series Classes, a weekend of intensive study in Conducting, Composition, Music Theory, and Ringing Techniques held in various cities across the United States. She and her husband, Mark, have two adult sons and two awesome grandchildren, ages 13 and 9.

Lisa Arnold photo
began ringing in 1976 and toured with the Wesley Bell Ringers (WBR) of Salt Lake City, Utah, from 1979-1983. While living in San José, California, Lisa rang with Bay Bells (a community handbell ensemble). She is a co-founder of Low Ding Zone (an all bass handbell ensemble), and Bells on Tap (a small ensemble). Lisa is also a solo handbell artist, specializing in jazz standards. Lisa is the editor and photographer for The Bass Ringer’s Notebook, by Larry Sue. Lisa has also toured with Campanae Mundi, ringing handbells in churches throughout Tuscany. When Lisa is not ringing, she works as an Operations Manager for Cisco Systems, and lives in Lowell, MA. She spends her free time learning Italian and exploring the New England countryside by bicycle or in the air with her husband Chuck.

Lynn Batty photo
developed her love of music as a child while sitting alongside her mother at the church organ, turning pages. She learned to play the piano and oboe and as an adult she played in several community orchestras and concert bands. In 1997 she moved to Lexington with her husband and three children, fell in love with handbells at Hancock Church, and soon joined the Hancock Carillon. Lynne works as the Director of Physical Therapy at the Children’s Center for Communication and Beverly School for the Deaf and in her spare time enjoys quilting, baking, and exploring walking trails around their home in Wakefield, MA with her husband, Mike.

Diane Burke photo
 was inspired to take up bellringing by her mom, and has been ringing for over 20 years. In addition to MVR, she has also rung with the United Ringers in Littleton MA, and the Sudbury Bellringers in Sudbury MA. For the past 6 years she has been the director of two handbell choirs – the Joyful Ringers at First Church Congregational in Marlboro MA, and The Lincoln Ringers from First Parish in Lincoln MA, and is honored to have recently returned to direct the Sudbury group where she began. Diane loves to sing gospel music and has performed with several choirs in and around Boston. She is a passionate fan of NFL football (some would say crazy!), and her most recent passion is ballroom dancing, in particular the Latin dances. Diane lives in Marlboro with her incredibly supportive husband Ron, Perch, a 6 year old tabby cat, and Socks, a loving stray cat who has adopted them for his own.

Colette Camp Daniels photo
began ringing in 1980 at six years old. While studying for her Bachelor’s in communication studies at Taylor University, she toured nationally and internationally with the Taylor Ringers, a handbell ensemble group. After returning home in 1997 to Hamilton, MA, she joined the Festive Ringers of The First Congregational Church of Hamilton, MA, until 2008, and Gordon College Ringers for two years. In 2007 Colette joined the Festival Ringers of West Chelmsford United Methodist Church and joined Merrimack Valley Ringers in 2008. Colette has also been solo ringing since 1997 and performs primarily with her father, Russell Camp. Colette has a Masters of Elementary Education from Lesley University and an almost Masters of Moderate Special Education from Salem State University, and is a special education teacher in Methuen, MA. She lives with her husband Brian, son Jack, and daughter Amelia in Dracut, MA. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, camping, and hiking.

Holly Cerullo photo
has been ringing handbells as a member of the West Chelmsford United Methodist Church Festival Ringers since 1980. She is also assistant director of the Celebration Ringers and Singers, a handbell/vocal group made up of middle school and high school youth. Having retired in June of 2004 after 35 years of teaching, she currently explores gardening, landscaping, writing, quilting, and is the current chairperson of the Chime Loaner Program for Area 1 Handbell Musicians of America. As worship chairperson of WCUMC, she coordinates artistic elements with the themes and seasons of the church. Holly has been married to her husband Michael since 1972, and has two adult children, Joshua and Rachel, one cat, and two grandchildren.

Rachel Cerullo-Romano photo
 joined MVR during its very first season in 2002 and is proud to still be a part of such an eclectic and enthusiastic group! A ringer since the 2nd grade, Rachel also loves performing solo and small ensemble bell music, with a particular affinity for playing bell trees. She also designs MVR’s tour programs and promotional material. Rachel enjoys singing and dancing, and occasionally finds time to perform community musical theater, recently appearing as “Frau Blucher” (horse whinny) in the Southern NH premier of “Young Frankenstein” (Actorsingers). She has a 2.5-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son, both of whom toured with MVR in-utero during prior seasons, and are named after film characters from Rachel’s two favorite movies: Aliens and Jaws. When not working or chasing after her children, husband, and/or cat, Rachel enjoys photography, painting, and sleep. She would like to ask John Williams to PLEASE stop being such a curmudgeon and allow his music to be adapted for handbells, as she dreams of one day being able to arrange/perform both “March from ‘Superman’” and the various themes from “Jurassic Park.”

Sue Chamberlin photo
has been ringing handbells for over 30 years and directing handbell choirs for almost that long. Two highlights of her ringing/directing career (in addition to being a member of MVR) were taking her youth choir to the International Handbell Symposium in Tokyo, Japan in 1998 and participating in the First International Handbell Festival in Israel in 2013 . After retiring from being a math teacher and technology coordinator in a K-8 school, Sue served for over 7 years as the New England sales representative for Schulmerich Bells. She now directs two handbell choirs and one chime choir at Faith Community Bible Church in Loudon, NH, and is the Area 1 treasurer for the Handbell Musicians of America. Last fall, Sue and her husband Doug moved to a bigger house on a lake in Deerfield NH in order to have enough room for their five grandchildren to come visit.

Adam Jenkins photoADAM JENKINS was roped into playing handbells by some friends in his church’s youth group and has stuck with it ever since. A graduate of Grove City College and Carnegie Mellon University, he has also played the violin and has been a member of handbell choirs in Roswell, GA; Grove City and Pittsburgh, PA; Lexington, MA; and now MVR! He works as a software engineer at The MITRE Corporation in Bedford, MA. Outside of work and handbells (is that even possible?!), he enjoys photography, biking, spending time with friends, and is a licensed amateur radio operator.

Molly Lamson photo
made her singing debut in a kindergarten musical, and has had a passion for music ever since! Molly has been singing forever, ringing since 1989, and with MVR since 2006. She even played handbells at the White House and piano at Carnegie Hall. You never know where music will take you! Molly’s favorite activity is spending time with her daughter, the light of her life. She also enjoys being outdoors, traveling, photography, scrapbooking, and anything creative. She lives and works as a graphic designer in Londonderry, NH.

Sue Lee photo
With an undergraduate degree in Music Education from Lowell State College ’67, Sue taught all levels of music, general, choral and instrumental, before getting her Masters in Elementary Education and becoming a fourth grade teacher. She first rang and then directed handbells choirs at a previous church, and has been Director of Handbell Ministries at St. Matthew’s UMC, Acton, MA since 1998, where she directs four ensembles. Now retired, other interests are playing her trumpet or baroque recorders, quilting, playing golf, traveling, reading, or just enjoying time with family and friends. She has two sons, a daughter-in-law, two precious granddaughters, and two spoiled cats.

Daryl Markey photo
began ringing handbells in junior high school and has continued to play ever since. After learning to play a multitude of instruments including: the violin, the clarinet, percussion, and handbells, he’ll tell you that handbells are, by far, his favorite. Daryl graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell with a BA in English, with a writing concentration. After graduating, he attended night school at UMASS Lowell to study in the field of Technical Writing. He was awarded a certificate of completion in February 2009. He currently works at RSA Security as a Senior Information Architect, working primarily as the project lead for Archer – RSA’s Governance, Risk, and Compliance platform. He is currently enrolled in graduate school at UMASS Lowell, working to complete a Masters in Business Administration. He is also studying to become certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Lynn Mason photoLYNN MASSON comes from a musical family and has played piano and other instruments and sung in many groups her whole life. She played bells as a teen but didn’t restart until joining her church group in 2005. She also rang with Back Bay Carillon in Boston and Copious Notes in Wellesley. Now her favorite instrument is handbells and she is excited to be a part of MVR and enjoy the extra challenge of a premier community group. Lynn is retired from a career in community organization and finance, but keeps active in her church leadership and town government, as well as a book group and sewing projects, along with bell groups, including Sounds of the Spirit at Congregational Church of Littleton and Lincoln Ringers. She had two grown children and five grandchildren and lives with her husband and Lucie, their 2-year-old Shih Tzu.

Carlene Ruesenberg photoCARLENE RUESENBERG started playing handbells in 2004 when she joined the Memorial Bell Choir at South Congregational Church in Concord and got so hooked, she filled in as interim director in her second year there. After serving three years as the director of the Senior Handbell Choir at the Lee Church Congregational, she is back at South Church, directing the Memorial Bell Choir. She was a founding member of the Granite State Ringers, and served as President for three years. In her earlier musical life, she was a bassoonist with the Vermont Symphony, and was the Operations Director of the Portland (ME) Symphony. She also sang in various choral groups, including the Manchester Choral Society, the Concord Chorale, and the Choral Art Society of Portland, Maine. During the day, she is the Executive Assistant to Gary Hirshberg, founder and Chairman of Stonyfield Farm. In her free time, she likes to cook, ride her bicycle long distances, and hang out with her partner, Chris, his two teenagers, and their dog, Ava.

BJ Stratton photo
has been ringing handbells since he was nine. A licensed high school math teacher and graduate from Western New England College, he currently works for Gex, Incorporated, a company that develops online content for textbook publishers that allows students to do their classwork or their homework or even take entire tests at the computer instead of on paper. He is a fan of most major sports and often spent Sunday afternoons updating Diane Burke on the score of the Patriots game before he joined MVR himself. When he is doing nothing else productive, he spends his time playing video games or chatting on the internet with people across the planet.

Jim Stratton photo
has been playing handbells for most of the last 20 years. He’s been involved with music for most of his life, having played violin while growing up and then teaching himself guitar in (and after) college. Along with terrific son BJ (also in MVR) and wonderful wife Roberta (former MVR member), Jim rings with the West Chelmsford United Methodist Church’s Festival Ringers and sings in the Senior Choir. When not rehearsing, Jim engages in user, system, and process support for a growing company that provides remote computer support for individuals, as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

Kim Whitehead photo
began ringing bells as a teenager with her mom in the church bell choir, and is excited to be ringing with MVR again this year. A graduate of UNH and Boston University with degrees in piano and organ performance, she is the Director of Music and Organist at Brookside Congregational Church in Manchester, NH. In addition, she teaches piano and organ to “kids” of all ages, is music director for the Amherst Middle School Theater Club, and accompanies the Milford High School Chorus. Outside her busy music schedule, Kim loves watching the Patriots and Red Sox, the Food Network, Barbie movies, and treasures spending as much time as possible with her husband Derek and their three amazing little girls!