Financial Adviser: Stephen Swanson
Chicago Area Chair, Beth McFarland
Beth McFarland has been ringing handbells for ruffly 38 years. She feels very fortunate to have started ringing in High School and loves that her then Choir director got her hooked. She is currently the director of three handbell choirs, the Heritage Bells Choir at the United Methodist Church of Libertyville, Illinois for 3 years, but has been ringing with the ensemble for 28 years. The Celebration ringers at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights, IL for 10 years and the Random Ringers Community Handbell Ensemble, located in the Northern Chicago suburbs for 17 years. Aside from Handbells, Beth works as an Administrative Assistant at a Pharmaceutical company, and she and her husband, Dan, have three daughters, Keira, Abbey, Megan; cats, George and Fievel; and dogs, Coco and Claudia and live in Mundelein, Illinois.
Dick Crusinberry, Iowa Chair, is a native Iowan who recently returned to the state after living in Nebraska for many years. He started ringing almost 30 years ago with his local handbell choir in Nebraska and was one of the founding members of Bell-issimo, an auditioned community handbell choir in Lincoln, Nebraska directed by Nancy Youngman. He currently rings with his church’s handbell choir in Iowa City as well as Des Moines Concert Handbells.
Dick also plays trombone and has served as Principal Trombone in the Lincoln Civic Orchestra, as well as being a long-time member of the Lincoln Community Concert Band. He currently is a member of the Iowa City Community Band and the Iowa City New Horizons Band, and plays in Tempered Brass, a local trombone choir, as well as playing euphonium in his church’s brass choir.
After nearly 30 years, Dick retired from his practice as a urologic surgeon last year. He and his wife, Laurel, have four adult children and three grandchildren. They are also the proud parents of an English bulldog named Jack. Dick enjoys running, hiking and travel.
Janelle Flory Schrock began ringing handbells in 1989 at her home congregation, the McPherson Church of the Brethren. In 1994, she began ringing under the direction of past area chair and Kansas Malmark representative, Eunice Tarum, at the Trinity Lutheran Church in McPherson. Between 1996 and 2002, she travelled with the Spirit Ringers to four Area 8 festivals, one national festival and as an individual ringer to two Pinnacle events.
Since then, she has performed with handbell ensembles in Indianapolis, Indiana; Claremont/LaVerne, California; and Hannover, Germany. After returning to Kansas in 2012, she has taken every opportunity to network with other Central Kansas handbell musicians, and to attend and recruit others to attend the Area 8 festival and the Kansas City-based Resonate Advanced Ringing Workshop. She currently is a member of Angelus Ringers of the McPherson Church of the Brethren, and the brand new Prairie Bronze Handbell Ensemble of Newton, Kansas. She and her sister, Kendra Flory, have performed handbell duets across the United States, as well as in Germany and on the 2004 Christmas Eve CBS television broadcast.
Janelle holds a B.A. from McPherson College in Modern Languages: German, with minors in English and Music. She is the office manager at the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, Kansas, a 30 acre native plant public garden.
Julie Assel, Kansas Co-Chair, was introduced to handbells when she was in elementary school. She attended her first handbell festival in Cape Girardeau when she was in high school and saw solo ringing for the first time. She incorporated solo ringing into her high school senior recital. Julie went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in instrumental and choral music education from Luther College (Decorah, IA).
Julie joined the Adult Bell Choir at Atonement in 1999 and became its director in February, 2001. She currently directs three handbell choirs (Joy – adult small ensemble), Adoration Ringers (adults), and Youth Bells (grades 2-12). She holds level one certification from the Handbell Musicians of America.
In her “other” job, she is the President and CEO of Assel Grant Services, a professional grant services firm providing comprehensive grant support to nonprofits, universities, school districts, health systems, and behavioral health care center. Julie is married to her husband, Tom, who plays in Atonement’s Adoration Ringers and has two active little boys who she has already introduced to handbells and chimes. Julie lives in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Trey began his musical journey like many did, at his church, Grace Covenant Presbyterian in Overland Park, KS. He sang in the children’s choirs growing up and eventually began playing handbells under the tutelage of his mother in the 5th grade. Trey continued to play at GCPC through middle and high school, and also attended the Intergenerational Handbell Camp in Parkville, MO starting in 7th grade. In addition to handbells, Trey grew up playing both tuba and bass. At Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, KS, Trey performed in the band and orchestra programs and was honored his senior year as the John Phillip Sousa award winner.
Trey attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in religion and minored in music and athletic coaching. At PC he was fortunate to play in the handbell choir under the directorship of Dr. Ron Davis in addition to being active in both the orchestra and band programs. He was named to the South Carolina Intercollegiate Honor Band for five years playing tuba and bass.
Upon graduation in 2011, Trey returned to the Kansas City area and successfully applied to become the director of bell choirs at Lenexa United Methodist where he directed both an adult and a children’s choir. He also auditioned to perform with Rezound! Handbell Ensemble, of which he was a member from 2011 to 2013.
In 2013 a longing for the relationships he had built in South Carolina drew him back to the south and Trey moved to Lexington, SC. Within a couple weeks Trey met his future wife, Jesse, while watching their beloved Kansas City Chiefs. In 2015 Trey and Jesse returned to the Kansas City Area.
Upon returning to Kansas City, Trey resumed his role as handbell director at Lenexa UMC in 2015. He also rejoined Rezound! in the winter of 2021.
Trey is relatively new to the Area 8 scene, serving as one of the local liaisons for the 2022 festival in Kansas City. He is excited to face the challenge of the Missouri Chair.
Byron W. Jensen recently retired from Hastings College (Nebraska) where he concluded forty-three years of music education working with ages ranging from preschool to college to professional musicians. His entrance to handbells began in 1990 as a professor at Ottawa University (Kansas) and continues today as an adjunct conductor of the Hastings College Handbell Choir. Jensen also directs youth and adult handbell choirs at First Presbyterian Church, Hastings, and has initiated beginning handbell experiences through the Hastings Community Music Academy. He has served on the Nebraska Handbell Committee for over a decade, primarily as Secretary, and is excited to move into the Chair’s role. Dr. Jensen is thankful for a talented, dedicated, and creative committee to help grow handbell experiences in Nebraska.