Meet our director

Paul McKlveen
Paul began ringing handbells in 1974, and continues to pursue his hobby as a director, clinician, festival conductor and composer.  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 has also directed an adult handbell choir at First Baptist Church in Cary, NC; youth, adult and children handbell choirs at First Baptist Church in Matthews, NC.

Paul enjoys composing and has won several composition contests.  He presently has approximately ninety published compositions. For Area 3 of The Handbell Musicians of America, he has served as the North Carolina State Chairman, Secretary, and Chairman.  For Area 7 he is currently serving as the website administrator.

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 two daughters, Sarah and Alyssa, their two Boston Terriers, Calvin and Hobbes, and their Frenchton, Webster.

Meet our ringers
Devron Lee
Music has always been a part of Devron's life, playing the piano growing up and singing in choirs. Her exposure to bells came through church. A church she belonged to recruited her, promising the music wasn't too difficult. The first song she learned with that choir was Hallelujah!  She always did enjoy a challenge.

Devron works for the Kennedy Center in Oshkosh as a radiologist technologist. In her free time, besides ringing bells, she enjoys making products for craft sales and traveling with her husband.


Emily Loper
Emily has played bells since grade school, when her mother asked her to "help" in her church choir. She became a full member the next year and has rung or directed handbells ever since. She currently directs the chancel bell choir at Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church, which has so far been a challenging but rewarding experience. In addition to handbells, Emily also plays the cello, most recently with the vaudeville-inspired act, Dr. Kickbutt's Orchestra of Death. She is currently cultivating a pretty crippling addiction to fiber and is an enthusiastic knitter and crafter.


Deb Madel
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
Denean Smith has been ringing handbells for over 20 years, 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.


Judy Thoma
Judy was introduced to handbells as a teen at church. She is the owner of a legal guardianship agency. When not ringing, Judy enjoys deep sea fishing, snorkeling, zip lining, parasailing, hot air ballooning, travelling and gardening. She is the proud parent of a daughter and a son, and has two granddaughters.


Dellora Vogt
Dellora has been involved in all things musical since she was three years old. Her parents were musicians, and her earliest memories are of the family gathered together, singing and dancing, while her mother played the piano and her dad played saxophone or clarinet. Her mother was also the church organist for many years, and often enlisted Dellora and her sister to sing for funerals and many other church and community functions. Before joining Encore, she played handbells at her church for approximately 25 years. She also sings in her church choir and the Oshkosh Choraliers.


Mary Willadsen
Mary caught handbell fever more than 20 years ago and has been ringing whenever she can since then. She directs two handbell choirs at First Presbyterian Church in Oshkosh and enjoys passing the bell bug on to anyone with a spark of interest. When Mary doesn't have her hands on bells, she keeps them busy in the garden, messing about with fabric, or keeping up with her family.


Kaye Schmitz
Kaye comes to us from the south . . . well, Fond du Lac, that is, where she and husband, Ken, have raised their three children and a menagerie of pets. Kaye’s love for music started as a wee one, and she’s looked for opportunities to engage in music making ever since. Her day job finds her teaching K-8 music at Fond du Lac Christian School, and teaching private lessons. Kaye also enjoys serving as a worship leader at her church. She loves spending time with her family, volunteering and learning new things. She counts it a blessing to be a part of the talented and hard working Encore Handbell Ensemble!


Laura Berndt
Laura Berndt is new to Encore! this year after coming to see niece Emily perform in past concerts.  She has played bells in church for many years, but not in a community, auditioned group.  She also plays Oboe in the Oshkosh community band and sings and plays at her church.  She is a nurse with the Fond du Lac county Health Department, lives in Oshkosh with her husband Dave, and has 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren.


Lenore Geisthardt
Lenore has been involved with handbells for over 30 years - playing or directing or both. After seeing how new ringers struggled to be part of an existing group at her church in Wausau she started a new choir for beginners, and repeated the process in Denver, Appleton, and Neenah. Not wanting to be without bells when she moved to Bloomer she started a new bell program there.  Apparently she moves around a lot! 

Currently Lenore lives in Appleton with her lucky husband Mark. They have two adult sons. Sadly, the one with twins lives in California. Lenore and Mark spend their free time traveling to California.