Debbie first started ringing in 1987 as an answer to a plea at church for people with music abilities to help with the bell choir. She hasn’t stopped ringing since. Debbie has rung with four different church choirs and still fills in as a substitute at two of the churches, helps with two youth bell choirs and has been ringing in her home church, Sanctuary UMC Herald Ringers Choir, for 15 years. She says she feels blessed as she begins her first year with Philadelphia Bronze to have the opportunity to ring with such seasoned and talented ringers.
Victoria is new to Philadelphia Bronze, but not new to ringing. She first started bells in 4th grade and hasn't stopped since. She played for churches in Pennsylvania and Florida, during college, before moving to a professional community choir in Washington, D.C. She played with Capital Carillon for about two years. Then decided to move closer to family in Pennsylvania. Before the boxes were even unpacked, Victoria was on a quest to find a new bell group in the area, and there came Philadelphia Bronze. Victoria now lives with her three-legged cat and works at Indian Creek Foundation providing therapy to children with disabilities.
Michelle (aka "Chellie") has been playing Handbells since age 13. She is a self-taught handbell soloist from lovely Wayne, PA. Michelle's hobbies include jewelry making, assorted crafts, cooking and baking and working out! Someday she hopes to have a small business selling her very famous biscotti and granola that her friends at Bounce Back Physical Therapy and Club La Maison enjoy! Michelle is a member of The Baptist Church in the Great Valley in Devon, where she not only plays bells, she sings in the fabulous choir. She has been a proud member of Philadelphia Bronze for 8 years!
Sarah Hazel began ringing with the Dorothy Shaw Handbell Choir when she was 10 years old where she played for 3 seasons. After college, she joined the adult world of bells and has never looked back! She directed the JuBellate Ringers at League City United Methodist Church in League City, TX for 3 years prior to coming to Pennsylvania. Here in Philadelphia, she has played with the Ringers of Bryn Mawr, was a charter member of the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble, and is excited to be in her fourth season with the Philadelphia Bronze! She also is very active in dog rescue (she has 3 senior dogs at home along with 4 cats) and lives with her long-time S.O. Gordon. She serves as Philadelphia Bronze's Business Manager.
Änna Hobbs first started ringing bells in the summer of 2007 at the Csehy Summer School of Music camp and hasn't stopped since. She rang with the Csehy ensemble every summer (where she met her husband Gavin) until she graduated high school in 2010. She continued ringing with the Cairn University Handbell Choir while studying music education at the university from 2010-2014. Änna currently teaches PK-8 general music and directs the band, choir, and musical productions at Timothy Christian Academy in Mount Holly, NJ. Additionally, she directs the bell choir at Ascension Lutheran Church in Newtown, PA.
Gavin Hobbs first encountered hand bells back in 2006 at Csehy Summer School of music. During the next three years, he participated in the hand bell ensemble at Csehy. During college, he was involved in a few music programs, including joining a composition class and composing a piece for small ensemble. In 2012, he graduated from Lafayette College with dual degrees in Mathematics and Physics. He returned to bells in the 2013-2014 season with Philadelphia Bronze. After taking a year off to complete his M.A. Mathematics degree from West Chester University, he is once again collapsing under the weight of the big bells in Philadelphia Bronze. Outside of handbells, Gavin is currently the Instructor of Mathematics at Cairn University.
Deena Hopkins met her first handchime in her grade school choir - Chyme Tyme. A few years later, she left the world of bells and chimes to follow a love of woodwinds. She earned a Bachelor’s of Music from Immaculata College in 2000. Since then, Deena has played flute in a variety of venues. When her husband's church started a bell choir a few years ago, she jumped in with both feet. Deena is now active in the Upper Dublin Lutheran Church bell choir and has attended the Bay View Week of Handbells in Bay View Michigan. She is extremely excited and a bit nervous to take on the challenge of ringing with Philadelphia Bronze.
Risë Kagan-Erickson was inoculated with the bell virus as an infant by her mother, who was a chimes master at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Nevertheless, she became a Music Therapist, then Dining Service Manager. In the late 70s, she began playing handbells at the church in North Jersey where she sang professionally, and became an instant bell hog. Soon after that, she moved to Germany and it took 16 years before she realized that handbells also exist there. From 1995, she has not looked back, conducting and teaching others, selling handbells, ringing in faraway ensembles, solo ringing, wherever she could in Germany. She returned to Bucks County in 2006 and has since been making up for lost time in the handbell world. To support her habit, she works full time at Ann's Choice Retirement Community, and is the Director of Music at Newtown United Methodist Church in Bucks County. In her spare time, she follows her husband, Clipper Erickson, a well-known concert pianist in the area, turning his pages as needed. He is contracted for life as her accompanist when she performs as a solo handbell artist, locally and as far away as California and Germany.
Kristie McIntyre’s introduction to handbells came about ten years ago at her church. An organist had discovered a set of unused handbells in the attic and asked for volunteers to ring them. She learned the basics from him and later worked with her church music director to develop a handbell choir. Kristie now serves as Director of Handbells and Percussion at her church, leading an adult ensemble and a children’s chime choir, which is part of a Royal School of Church Music program. Under Kristie’s direction, handbells are a regular part of her church liturgy and can be heard almost weekly as accompaniment to hymns, anthems, and service music. Kristie is an Occupational Therapist and works primarily in the area of hand therapy.
Marcia Murphy first picked up a bell in 5th grade, and from that point, there was no turning back. She has had the privilege of ringing with the Rooke Chapel Ringers, under the direction of Dr. William Payn while attending Bucknell University. She is also a past member of the renowned Raleigh Ringers under the direction of David Harris, for whom she has arranged several of their signature Rockin' Raleigh Ringers pieces. Marcia has one published arrangement as well, and plans to do more composing and arranging in the future. Aside from handbells, Marcia also sings soprano and plays piano. She is employed as a senior systems administrator for a community bank, and is enrolled in the Masters of Counseling graduate program at Eastern University.
President of Philadelphia Bronze, Cynthia Regan began ringing handbells 23 years ago while at Westminster Choir College. A short time later, her whole world revolved around bells. Upon graduating from college, she was employed at Malmark Bellcraftsmen, where she is responsible for quality control. She also directs the bell choirs at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Flemington, NJ., where she began solo ringing. When she's not ringing, she sings soprano with the Bucks County Choral Society.
Allen Regan has been ringing handbells for 18 years at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Flemington, NJ. Under the direction of his wife, Cynthia, he has honed his skills as a bass bell ringer, but can be seen in the treble end with 4 bells in his hands from time to time. Allen works for CNA Insurance in the Princeton NJ area as a Business Analyst. He is a baritone singer in the Bucks County Choral Society and is an avid homebrewer in his spare time. Ask him about his "Dead Ringer IPA"!