AREA 6 BOARD

Your Area 6 Handbell Board members are elected every even-numbered year for the offices of Chair-Elect, Treasurer, and Secretary.  Other Board positions are appointed by the Chair for a term of two years.  Area 6 welcomes individuals who are interested in serving as Board members!

CHAIR

MARY CALDWELL served as Director of Music Ministries at Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Shreveport before retiring in 2016. She was responsible for the complete music program including six choral and five handbell choirs. She also directs a handbell ensemble at Centenary College in Shreveport. Mary has served as clinician at several festivals and local retreats. She received her Master of Music degree from Northwestern State University.

CHAIR-ELECT

ADAM PHILLEY holds a M.M. in Choral Conducting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a B.M. in Sacred Music from Centenary College of Louisiana. He currently serves as the Director of Music Ministries at Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Shreveport. He is an adjunct voice professor at Bossier Parish Community College and often music directs for the Shreveport Little Theatre Academy. Adam is the founding conductor of the Prisma Vocal Ensemble now in their third season. Adam plays with the community handbell group The Red River Ringers as well as the Carillon Choir of Broadmoor UMC.

PAST CHAIR

SONDRA TUCKER, BSE, MMus (b. 1957) is Editor at Alfred Handbell. She has served Episcopal, Presbyterian, and United Methodist churches in Utah, Texas, and Tennessee. She is active in the Handbell Musicians of America, having served Areas 6 and 9 in various capacities, and teaches composition at the Master Series of classes sponsored by the Guild. She is in demand as a conductor and clinician for denominational and Guild events, and has many published pieces to her credit. She lives in Memphis with her husband, and has two children and two granddaughters.

TREASURER

SHANE KENNEDY is the Worship & Fine Arts Associate at Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville, a position he has held since August 2002. A native of Folly Beach, South Carolina, he completed a Masters of Music degree in vocal performance and church music in 2008 from Belmont University in Nashville. He directs the handbell and youth music ministries at Trinity, and is currently the artistic director of the Heritage Ringers of Huntsville, an auditioned community handbell choir. Previously, Mr. Kennedy was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus from 1997-2002 under directors Robert Shaw and Norman Mackenzie. He has performed numerous tenor lead solos for local theater, church and university productions.

SECRETARY

KELLEY CLEGG NEAL has been playing or directing handbells since 1995. She has been director of the Jubilant Ringers—advanced choir, Chancel Chimes—beginning choir, Children’s Handchimes—grades 1-6, Home School Children’s Handchimes—grades 2-6 and Southern Belles—adult small ensemble at Trussville United Methodist Church since 2010. Kelley has also served on the design team for the Central Alabama Handbell Festival for five years and is currently chair of the team. She holds a Bachelor of Since in Music Education from the University of North Alabama and a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has taught music education in several Alabama schools as well as the Blount county Education Foundation—9 Music Camps for Elementary Students. Kelley has been married to Rev. Donald S. Neal for 34 years and has one daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who teaches music in Birmingham, AL.

ALABAMA CHAIR

SYBIL WATSON serves as Director of Handbells at Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church and Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Sybil is Treasurer for the Central Alabama Handbell Festival and sings with the Mountain Chapel Church Choir.  She earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Birmingham Southern College. Sybil began ringing at First Methodist in her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. In 1994 under the direction of Phyllis Kirk, Sybil joined Shades Valley Presbyterian Church’s Covenant Ringers, and was a charter member of Embellishments Handbell Ensemble.  She has performed at several Area 6 festivals and International Handbell Symposiums with both the Covenant Ringers and Embellishments.

ARKANSAS CHAIR

SHERRI COTHERN is Director of Handbells and Music Associate at First United Methodist Church in Jonesboro. She has been involved with ringing for over 30 years and enjoys solo ringing. Sherri is also the Assistant Director of the Women’s Crisis Center of Northeast Arkansas which provides services to women and children who are victims of abuse. In her spare time, she enjoys providing percussion lessons to children and spending time with her two nieces.

LOUISIANA CHAIR

BARBARA WILLIAMS has been involved with handbells since the mid-’80’s, ringing at FUMC in Slidell, LA, and participating in several Area 6 and a couple of national festivals through the years.  In April 2013, she became director of Handbell Ministries at FUMC in Slidell, Louisiana. She  is also a retired teacher, reading specialist, and part-time tutor with St. Tammany Parish Schools.  Barbara has been a member of NOVA Chorale in New Orleans for 15 years, serving on its board for 8 years. For the past  8 years, she has served on the board of Jazz on the Bayou, an organization founded by Jazz pianist Ronnie Kole, which has raised over a million dollars in support of Easter Seals, STARC, and local foundations. 


 

MISSISSIPPI CHAIR

DR. LARRY SMITH  spent six years teaching at Union University in Tennessee, then retired in 2014 after 30 years as a Professor of Music at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has two degrees from the University of Mississippi and the D.M.A. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the founding director of European Handbell Festivals, the well-known USM Carillon Handbell choir, the Deep South Ringers community choir, and the sacred ensemble Singing Men. Larry remains an active member of NATS and ACDA. His hobbies include golf, traveling with his wife, Myrt, and bragging about their four amazing grandchildren. 

TENNESSEE CHAIR

MELISSA EMERSON is Director of Music Ministries at Calvary United Methodist Church in Nashville, where she oversees a vibrant multi-faceted ministry which includes vocal choirs, handbells, and brass.  She is an accomplished French horn player, and in her spare time competes in triathlons.

MEMBERSHIP CHAIR

Prior to retiring and moving back to Memphis, MARCY MITTELSTADT was Director of Music Ministries in the Charlotte, NC area. In addition to many years as a church
musician she was in higher education as Professor of Vocal and Choral
Activities, Dean of Fine Arts and Dean of Academics at various institutions of
higher education in WI, IN, GA and TN. Marcy is excited to be back in Area 6 and remain active in music. She is a member of Chapter B PEO and is active as a volunteer at St. Luke’s UMC in
Memphis, TN.

HISTORIANS

SUZANNE SWITZER

KATHY HUSE