Director of Music: Rick Wood
Rick Wood is a former elementary school teacher of computers and technology with a secret night life in the handbell world. (The hottest thing going in the little town of Bethlehem on Friday night is handbell rehearsal.) He stays busy during the daytime as a leader in the Caring for Bethlehem Food Bank.
After seventeen years of directing the Handbell Choirs of First Church of Bethlehem, Rick, with fellow ringers, transformed the handbell choirs into a non-profit community music organization, Chime In! Music With a Mission, Inc. Ringers from Bethlehem have engaged many audiences throughout the Northeast in lively performances.
As a music major at Williams College 40+ years ago, Rick was part of the original Williams Handbell Choir along with Sandy who later became his wife. Rick has conducted handbell choirs in Woodbury, Watertown, and since 1994, in Bethlehem.
Assistant Director: Samantha Beschta
A mild-mannered property manager by day, Samantha Beschta transforms into a high-spirited handbell director by night! Since 2013, Sam has served as the Assistant Director of Chime In!, sharing responsibility with the Director for conducting rehearsals, selecting music, and coordinating concerts. She has also taken her talents on the road by co-creating, with Steve Mazeau, the CT Handbell Ringers. This off-shoot of Chime In! provides handbell ringers from all corners of the state an opportunity to hone and expand upon their skills while their home choirs take a summer break, and culminates in a mid-September concert.
Performing in and leading handbell choirs has enabled Sam to put her dual degree in music and theatre from Radford University to good use. Her endeavors are supported by her husband and inspired daily by her two beautiful children--who are just coming of age to catch the handbell bug themselves!