Diane Brown has been ringing handbells for 25 years as a bass bells specialist. She attends Chelsea First United Methodist Church and plays in its two bell choirs. During the day (and sometimes evenings and weekends), Diane coordinates media relations and other communications for the University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security. We are thrilled when we hear her doing a report on the radio! She ALWAYS has her phone (on vibrate) in her pocket or clipped to her clothes. So, if we’re lost or running late, she is the one we cal. Diane lives in Ann Arbor and has been a member of Detroit Handbell Ensemble since 2013.
Ann Buland, had her first introduction to handbells at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Redford, MI where her husband was serving as a pastor. She and four church friends formed “A Joyful Noise” ensemble which sang and rang for worship and many concerts in the area. Ann earned her Master’s degree in Church Music from the University of Minnesota and has served as a church musician for over 50 years. She grew up in Nebraska where she founded and directed the Midland Lutheran College Chapel Choir at her alma mater and met her husband, Rod. While her husband attended seminary in St. Paul, Ann sang with Concentus Cantorum Renaissance Ensemble of Minneapolis and later the Nebraska Choral Arts Society. In 1983 they moved to Michigan where Ann soloed with the Detroit Lutheran Singers, Detroit Symphony Orchestra Chorale and UMS Choruses and toured Italy with the Fred DeHaven Chorale. Since her retirement from teaching 30 years of elementary music, Ann is “down to one full-time job” as Director of Music Ministries at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Livonia. She serves as organist, choir and handbell director and plans the worship services. She and Rod enjoy their cat Isabella, their pond and garden, paddling their canoe, vacationing in Hawaii and photographing God’s beautiful world.
Rose French started ringing in her church in 1987 when the handbell choir needed ringers and she literally hasn’t been able to stop! Just try and stop her! Besides ringing in the Detroit Handbell Ensemble, she rings in the Royal Oak Community Handbells and substitutes in other choirs as well. Rose’s day time job is working as a paraeducator in the Southfield Public Schools. She works in a classroom for elementary aged children with autism. Originally from Ohio where she grew up with her seven siblings, she now has a grown son who is a lawyer and a wonderful daughter-in-law who is a tax analyst. When not ringing or working, she is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her family and rooting for Michigan sports teams, despite her Buckeye roots.
Nancy Kindraka is the daughter of a professional soprano and a reluctantly-singing microbiologist. Nancy says she inherited the “ham” gene and has spent her life performing music, specifically piano, voice and handbells (though not all at once!). Nancy is a graduate of Michigan State University and was a member of the Women’s Glee Club and the Spartan Handbell Choir for several semesters. She rang with the Capital City Ringers in Lansing, MI for nine years and has performed at several Handbell Musicians of America (HMA) Area Festivals. For the past six years, she has participated in Distinctly Bronze East, a massed ringing event for advanced ringers sponsored by HMA. Nancy, graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering, currently “holds down a desk” as a Project Manager in metro Detroit. When not involved in music, Nancy enjoys “very amateur” photography and reading lots of books.
Following his three older brothers, Paul Kinney began ringing handbells during his middle school years at his church in Flushing, Michigan. A Detroit Handbell Ensemble member since 1993, he is close to being a charter member. He got hooked by a call, “DHE is playing for a wedding in three weeks, can you sub?” Currently Paul teaches music theory and ear training at Marygrove College in Detroit and also directs the handbell choir at Redford Aldersgate United Methodist Church. He graduated with a double major at Albion College in Computer Science and Music and put the Computer Science to work in his first career while working in the auto industry – two years of that spent in Cologne, Germany during the German reunification. Six weeks after he started attending First United Methodist Church of Garden City, their handbell arrived and because he knew how to make them ring he was the handbell director…for 32 years! He took an early retirement from the auto industry as he completed a Master of Music in Composition. He started composing handbell music and several of his compositions have been published! During his down time, he volunteers one evening a week in the kitchen of the Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park. He also continues to compose as much as he can and he travels. He has attended 11 International Handbell Symposiums which have taken him to Canada, Britain, Japan, Korea and Australia.
Lisa Lemanek is new to the Detroit Handbell Ensemble.
Tammy Nott started ringing handbells in the early 1980’s at her church in Lansing Michigan. She loved the sound of the handbells so joined the choir when she had a chance and that is also where she learned to read music. Tammy personally owns two and a half octaves of handbells and enjoys solo ringing when she gets an opportunity. She’s ready, willing and available for hire! Besides ringing in the Detroit Handbell Ensemble, she is a member of Royal Oak Community Handbells and happily substitutes in church choirs. Both of Tammy’s parents still ring in their church handbell choir and her sister and brother-in-law own a winery in Missouri. During her downtime, she reads a lot of fiction, enjoys checking out the local libraries and volunteers with the local Leisure Services department and sometimes drives for Meals on Wheels.
Nancy Plumley began limited ringing in 1989 in her sister Sandi’s church handbell choir at the First United Methodist Church in Dearborn where the music program was thriving. Becoming more interested in handbell choirs, she went to a DHE concert and was hooked by the music and level of performance that was different from a typical church choir. (Nancy joined DHE a short time later.) Back to the story…Sandi’s handbell choir went and performed two concerts at the church where Nancy belongs – the Sterling Heights United Methodist Church – and the congregation was thrilled. Approximately 18 years ago, a member of the SHUMC lost his mother. He chose to memorialize her with a 4-octave set of bells purchased for the church and the Sterling Heights United Methodist Church Bell Choir was born! Nancy currently directs both the Adult Chancel Choir and the Handbell Choir at SHUMC. Besides ringing, her first real musical love is choral music and Nancy has a vocal music minor. During the day she is the VP of Administration at an executive Research and Recruitment firm. Nancy is married to her husband Dave and they have three children – Michael, Ann and Emily…plus Rocky, their Portuguese Water Dog. Dave and Nancy love to travel and recently completed a 1700 mile motorcycle trip through some of the western states. They are admitted “wine snobs” and make frequent use of the wine in their cellar. They love cooking, taking cooking classes together and entertaining. Many hours are spent with friends on their patio enjoying homemade pizza from their oven, drinking wine and listening to music. The Detroit Handbell Ensemble has also enjoyed their hospitality and we thank them for the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry! P.S. Nancy is also the sister of DHE ringer Sandi Smith.
Sandi Smith has been ringing handbells since high school where her church had a set of handbells and she thought they would be fun to play. Besides playing in Detroit Handbell Ensemble, she directs the handbell choir at the First United Methodist Church in Dearborn and has conducted several Handbell Festivals in Michigan. She earned her B.S. from Western Michigan and a M.S. from University of Michigan and has put those degrees to good use, working as a kindergarten teacher at Howard Elementary School in Dearborn, a job that brings joy and laughter to her life. She is married to her husband Ron, has three married daughters and five grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with all of them. During her off time, she likes to travel to Charlevoix and Beaver Island. Sandi also finds time to walk, ride bikes and work out. P.S. Sandi is also the sister of DHE ringer Nancy Plumley.
Shelly Walldorff was first exposed to handbells in her early teens at the United Methodist Church in Six Lakes, MI (mid-Michigan). A wonderful member named Betty Cornell donated three octaves of handbells to the church. Betty and Jeff, Shelly her husband had no children and they wanted to donate something to the church that could be used by all ages for years to come. What a gift! Some 40 years later, those bells are still being played and once in awhile, Shelly gets an opportunity to play them when visiting her folks. Besides, playing in the Detroit Handbell Ensemble, she is a member of the TeDeum Handbell Choir at First Presbyterian Church of Northville. Shelly’s love of music came from her Mom, her Dad who encouraged her to get (and stay) involved and an aunt who was a music teacher. During the day, she works as a Church Administrator at St. Timothy Presbyterian Church in Livonia – a job she thoroughly enjoys! During her off time, Shelly says she is a “social butterfly”. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, meeting new people and exploring Detroit and the surrounding areas. She loves to cook and bake and especially likes to experiment and try new recipes. Her dog Nimitz, carries on the “social butterfly” theme as he loves to go on walks and meet and greet dogs and their owners – doggie social hour! A lot of volunteer time is also dedicated to First Presbyterian Church in Northville. During quiet time, she likes to read books and magazines…and take naps! Shelly and her husband, Mark Ernst (a Real Estate Broker) live in Northville and love supporting their MSU Spartans. Shelly says Mark brings “joy” to her life and she wants to thank him for his support of all her extra-curricular activities.
Kyle Webber is new to the Detroit Handbell Ensemble.
Michael Wineman began ringing at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in St. Paul, MN about 16 years ago. Michael told us he saw those” big shiny objects” and was drawn to them. Besides playing in the Detroit Handbell Ensemble, Michael sings in the Chancel Choir at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Livonia because he can’t get enough of “Michael Burkhardt”. Michael works with car simulators that test car engine computers. He works with the software so that the $300,000 prototypes aren’t involved in an accident and says specifically “I work on the simulator hardware to keep people from electrocuting themselves by mistake”. Glad you’re keeping us safe Michael! During his off-time, Michael likes to work out when he finds time and plays a new-ish card game called Hearthstone. And in his words “for those of you as geeky as me, think Magic: the Gathering or other trading card games”. Michael grew up in St. Paul, MN and went to grad school at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During the last year he moved to Michigan (from Milwaukee), joined the Detroit Handbell Ensemble and got married to his bride Katie (in that order). Katie is a pedestrian protection engineer at Ford. Both of them are working to keep us safe! Michael is so proud of her accomplishments; Katie got her 5 year recognition at a crash testing facility the year after she graduated from college, worked on research for the military during graduate school and has had her research referenced at a United Nations meeting which means Michael married a “26-year-old renowned scientist”!
Ellen Woodard has been ringing since she was a teenager. Her mother, a long-time member of the handbell choir at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland, MI recruited her when a substitute ringer was needed. As Ellen Says, "I took to ringing bells immediately, ringing multiple bells, LOUDLY”! Ringing loudly is something she enjoys doing to this day. Ellen enjoys solo ringing and has been performing since 1994. Not to be outdone, her mother started “solo” ringing in 1995 and rang into her 80s. Ellen holds a Master's degree in music performance from the University of Michigan and continues supporting the great maize and blue working as a clinical trials Data Manager for the SABER group in the Biostatistics Department of the School of Public Health. She is the TeDeum Handbell Choir Director at Northville First Presbyterian Church and also assists teaching handbells/handchimes for the Hearts, Hands and Voices program. When she is not ringing, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her incredibly adorable granddaughters – Kierstien and Jaelyn. Kierstien and Jaelyn get to spend the weekend about once a month – a weekend long slumber party!! She also is Mom to dog, Jenni and cat Maggie. Ellen is a closet cyclist, riding 11 to 12 miles per day in the comfort of her own study. When she has time, she likes to watch HGTV and tries to get enough sleep.