Meet Our Director
Paul began ringing handbells in 1974, and continues to pursue his hobby as a director, clinician, festival conductor, and composer. Currently, he is serving as the Music Director for Encore! Handbell Ensemble, a community ensemble based in Oshkosh, WI. He has served as the Handbell Program coordinator at First Presbyterian Church, Neenah WI; conductor of Rezound!, an auditioned community handbell ensemble located in the Kansas City area; and was the Director of Handbell Ministries at White Plains United Methodist Church in Cary, NC for four and a half years. For six and a half years he served as the Assistant Director of the Raleigh Ringers, an auditioned community handbell ensemble which he helped to form. He also directed an adult handbell choir at First Baptist Church in Cary, NC and youth, adult, and children handbell choirs at First Baptist Church in Matthews, NC.
Paul enjoys composing and has won several composition contests. He currently has approximately 100 published compositions. He has served Handbell Musicians of America in Area 3 as the North Carolina State Chairman, Secretary, and Chairman, as well as the website administrator for Area 7.
Paul is employed by Schneider National as an Enterprise Application Integration Engineer within the Information Technology department. He received a BS in Computer Science and a BS in Mathematics from North Carolina State University. He makes his home in De Pere, Wisconsin with his wife, Sue, his daughter, Alyssa, their two Boston Terriers, Calvin and Hobbes, and their Frenchton, Webster.
Meet Our Ringers
Emily has played bells since grade school when she was drafted to sub in her church choir. She became a full member the next year and has rung or directed handbells ever since. She plays the cello, and also the washtub bass with Dr. Kickbutt's Orchestra of Death, a local jug band. When not playing music, she can also be found knitting, pretty much non-stop.
Deb was introduced to handbell ringing in youth group at her church, and has been playing on and off since, accruing over 28 years of ringing. Her passion for ringing handbells led her to become a founding member of Encore! in 2007. In addition to playing in ensembles, she has performed in quartets, duets, and as a solo ringer. She also enjoys singing in her church choir and with the Oshkosh Chamber Singers.
Denean Smith has been ringing handbells since the nineties, initially “drafted” to ring in her church handbell choir in Decatur, IL. Her prior handbell experience includes ringing with Bells in Motion (Springfield, IL), Week of Handbells (Bayview, MI), numerous national and regional events sponsored by Handbell Musicians of America, and Grace Lutheran handbell choir Green Bay, WI. She and her husband Mark live in De Pere.
Corinne began ringing handbells in junior high with a Fond du Lac church choir in the 1990s. She took a brief hiatus during college and started ringing again in 2007 with a church choir in Kaukauna. In 2010, she began directing the newly-formed hand chime choir while still being a ringer in the handbell choir, and in 2015, took over directing the handbell choir. Corinne was introduced to Encore! in 2018 and is enjoying ringing with a community group. Corinne lives in Appleton with her husband, Matt, and three girls, Erin, Elsa, & Eve, and works as a court reporter.
Kaye started ringing handbells 18 years ago. Professionally, she is a music educator and is actively pursuing a graduate degree. Kaye currently teaches Birth to 5 music classes, as well as, private lessons for ages 5 through adult. She also sings with South Shore Chorale and is a member of Greater Milwaukee Orff Dimensions. She counts it a blessing to be a part of this talented and hardworking ensemble, and serves as board secretary. Kaye enjoys spending time with her family.
Tom started ringing handbells in 2018 but is no stranger to music. He has been playing piano since grade school; and spent many of his early years playing percussion, specializing in mallet instruments. In addition to music, Tom enjoys playing tennis and pickleball, board games, and volunteering in the Appleton community.
An avid musician since high school, John was formally introduced to handbells his freshman year at UW-Eau Claire, when he was invited to play in (and later direct) their handbell choir. Since then, he's had the privilege of learning and ringing bells across the state and country. In addition to handbells, John stays busy as a performer, playing reeds for his local band, orchestra, and theatre groups. His latest passions include contemporary music and nonprofit arts management, which occasionally compete with his other interests, such as sleeping.
Mary was introduced to hand bells as a middle school student and returned to playing them 20 years later as a member of a church hand bell choir and then Encore!. She loves the challenge of playing hand bell music of this caliber and the camaraderie that is built within this special organization.
Mary's musical talents extend beyond hand bells, as she has played percussion since she was 11, and is percussion section leader of the Oshkosh Area Community Band. She has been the elementary music teacher in the School District of Omro since 2011, and gets the opportunity to pass on her love of all things music to her students every day! Mary and her husband, John live in Omro, with their two kitties, Xyla and Iggy.
Bethany grew up in her parents’ church, where she began ringing as a 5th grader. Since then, in addition to Encore!, she has rung in various church bell choirs and for the UW Oshkosh handbell ensemble. She enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter when she’s not ringing bells or teaching 4K.
Nancy was introduced to handbells in high school by her grandmother and music has always played an important part in her life. She joined an Appleton church handbell choir shortly after her family moved there in 2006. The love of handbells returned to her heart. She is excited to be joining Encore for the 2019-2020 season. Nancy and her family live in the Darboy/Appleton area where they have been involved in both school and community theater. Nancy also enjoys time up north, quilting and refurbishing furniture.
As the child of two church musicians, Martha has been ringing handbells since she could see over the tables. She has been a member of various choirs throughout the years and is currently the director of The Bells of St Mary Handbell Choir at St Mary Parish in Appleton. Martha lives in Neenah with her husband and cats and works as a Plant Controller at Amcor Flexibles North America.
Amy Berg is a church musician who plays organ and piano. She began ringing handbells in college and has directed church and school ensembles in Wisconsin and Texas. While living in Texas, she had the pleasure of being a member of Austin Handbell Ensemble for eighteen years. She and her husband now live in Neenah near their two children and nine grandchildren.
Erica began ringing in high school with her church handbell choir. After a long hiatus she was recently reminded of the joy of ringing and sought out Encore! to resume playing. Erica is a psychologist at a correctional facility and lives with her family in Oshkosh.
Sarah has played various musical instruments since 1998, but only recently started playing handbells. She joined Encore! after hearing about it from a coworker. Ringing with this group has been a fun challenge, especially since Sarah has had to relearn bass clef! Outside of handbells, she can be found fencing, helping with prairie restoration efforts, and being sat on by her cat Pumpkin.
Lenore began ringing bells in the 1980’s. Over the years she has rung in six church bell choirs and started 7 different beginning choirs in those six churches. She is so honored to be able to play with Encore! Lenore lives with her lucky husband Mark and they enjoy traveling around the country in their camper van.
Melissa began playing handbells over in the nineties with her church handbell choir - First United Methodist Church in Neenah, and continues to enjoy ringing with them today. She has also done occasional solo ringing. She appreciates the experience of ringing with Encore - to be part of a 5 octave choir, learning new and challenging music, and the fellowship that comes with being a part of the bell choir.