Financial Adviser: Stephen Swanson

Education Chair: Patrick Gagnon

Historian: Christie White

Quavers Editor: Beth Ann Edwards

Membership Chair: Chris Peck

Resource Librarian: Charleton Pendry

Communication Chair: Linda Lunt 

Events Coordinator: Laura Kopff 

Webmaster: Wendi Levitt 

Historian: Christie White

Christie is a graduate of William Jewell College, B.S. Music Education, and the University of Central Missouri, M.A. Instrumental Music Education.  Her career began as a band director then after moving to Liberty, MO, she first saw and rang in her church’s handbell choir.  She began teaching handbells the following year and since 1980, has taught from 4th grade through adults, has been a guest clinician for area churches, and conducted handbell choirs for Second Baptist Church, the Liberty United Methodist Church, Liberty, MO, and at the Montreat Conference on Worship and Music, Montreat, NC.  She continues to teach at her church and recently retired from conducting the handbell choirs at William Jewell College for 15 years.  In addition to Handbell Musicians of America, she is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota (national women’s honorary music fraternity) serving as the Chapter Advisor while at William Jewell. 

Christie and her husband, Jerry, operate Beneficial Lighting, Inc. and you may see her driving a tractor at her family farm.  They have two children and three wonderful grandchildren.

Central/Southern Illinois State Chair, Kendall Ladd

Kendall Ladd is a current member of Bells in Motion in Springfield, IL, and frequently “subs” with Bells of Wesley at Wesley UMC in Bloomington, IL and with Bloomington-Normal Community Bells.

She got her start ringing handbells when she was 10 as an extracurricular activity at her elementary school. Continuing to ring with her school choirs throughout middle school and high school, she eventually got her start ringing with community handbell choirs as a member of Joyful Sound in Indianapolis. She has attended numerous Area 5 festivals as well as National Handbell Seminars where she has started her handbell certification and participated in Distinctly Teen and All-Star Choir. She looks forward to attending more events in Area 8 and becoming more involved with Handbell Musicians of America.

Kendall currently lives in Normal, IL where she is working on her Master of Science degree in Quantitative Psychology at Illinois State University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Criminology from Butler University. Her non-handbell hobbies include yoga, traveling, listening to music, reading, and binge-watching Netflix.

Chicago Area Chair, Kirsten Hendrickson 

Kirsten Hendrickson is a current member of the Agape Ringers in Chicago, IL, and Bells In Motion in Springfield, IL. She began ringing at age 11 when she was asked to sub at a friend’s church and has been ringing ever since!

As a member of the Agape Ringers and Bells In Motion, Kirsten has performed and taught at Area festivals. She to eventually attend events in all of the areas!

Kirsten has a BA in Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology from Drake University. After working for a number of years as the manager of a medical clinic, Kirsten went back to school and is now pursuing a Masters of Science in Nursing degree. She is currently living in Chicago, IL, where in her spare time she can be found reading non-textbooks while lying on the couch with her cat.

Chicago Area Chair, Beth McFarland

Iowa State Chair, Patrick Gagnon

Patrick Gagnon is a music educator dedicated to the development of the tuneful person. He is a K-5 Vocal Music Specialist and HS Vocal Music director for the Eldora-New Providence CSD and is Director of Music at First Congregational UCC in Eldora.  Patrick serves as Performance Chair for Hardin County Performance Series, and has done music direction for productions of Into the Woods, Les Miserables, The Secret Garden, Little Women, Oklahoma, and Godspell for the Department of Music and Theater at Iowa State University.  He has served Handbell Musicians of America in numerous capacities as a board member both in Area 1 and Area 8 and as a member of the HMA Education Resource Task Force.

While living in Boston he served as Massachusetts Chair, Adult Weekend Chair, Directors’ Seminar Co-Chair, Festival/Conference 2009 Chair, and finally Chair-Elect of HMA Area 1.  Patrick was a founding member and later associate director of Back Bay Ringers, and was a member of Merrimack Valley Ringers. Since moving to Iowa, he has served Area 8 as Iowa Chair and has served the six-year sequence on the Area 8 Executive Committee as Chair-Elect, Chair, and Past Chair, including serving as Chair for the 2016 Festival/Conference.  He was a member and director of the North Central Iowa Handbell Ensemble, and is a founding ringer and director of Des Moines Concert Handbells.

Patrick will serve as the Education Chair for the 2020 Area 8 Festival/Conference in Overland Park, Kansas.

Kansas State Chair

The Kansas state chair position is open! Who would want to be a state chair?

  • Someone who is passionate about handbells
  • Someone who believes that Handbell Musicians of America and Area 8 are organizations that bring worth to our musician members
  • Someone who is willing to volunteer their time for a two-year term and contribute to Quavers
  • Someone who enjoys being plugged into the local handbell community
  • Someone who is willing to run a small committee and plan events

If that sounds like you (or you and a friend – you can serve with a co-chair), please contact Sharon Schmidt.

Missouri State Chair, Cheri Leigh

Cheri is the director of the handbell choir at St. John’s UMC, Kansas City, MO. She has been playing handbells for around twenty years.  Cheri took over the leadership of the choir when the funding was eliminated from the budget “just to keep it going.”  That was about 8 years ago.

Cheri attended her first National Seminar in Cincinnati and was excited to learn so much about directing and playing handbells.  Portions of her choir have attended three area festivals and several local festivals and always learn so much.

By training, Cheri is a retired structural engineer, but also plays the piano and organ.  She has always had music in her life from choral choirs to playing the piano and organ in church to now leading the handbell choir.  She still enjoys playing the handbells and is now starting to play four in hand with her small six-person ensemble.



Nebraska State Chair, Nancy Youngman

Nancy Youngman has been a handbell choir director since 1984, currently with 5 choirs in two churches under her direction, ages ranging from 5 to 94. She is the founder/director of Bell-issimo, Lincoln Nebraska’s auditioned Community Handbell Choir.

Nancy has degrees in Instrumental Music and German, and recently retired from Lincoln Public Schools, where she taught both subjects for years.

Since 1990, Nancy has been a member of the Nebraska State Handbell Committee, and is currently serving the Guild as Area 8 Chimes Chair and Nebraska State Chair as well as serving previously as State Chair from 1994 – 1996 and Area 8 Secretary from 1996 – 1998, plus teaching at many Nebraska and Area 8 events.