AREA 6 BOARD
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 holds a Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance and K-12 Teaching Certificate from The University of Iowa, and a Master of Sacred Music with an emphasis in Choral Conducting from Boston University School of Theology. She is an accomplished French horn player, and in her spare time competes in triathlons.
SHERI ROACH has served as Chair of Area 10, and also has served as Alaska State Chair, bringing a wealth of experience and perspective to the job of Area 6 Chair-Elect. She has an academic background in biology and science education, and is retired from a 24-year career as a K-12 public school teacher. Now living in the Nashville area, Sherilyn’s lifelong passions for learning and sharing continue to take her down new, exciting paths every day and she looks forward to getting to know the handbell community in Area 6.
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.
Since its inception in 2006, JULIE TURNER has been the Associate Conductor, Composer in Residence and a ringing member of Music City Bronze, Nashville’s advanced community handbell group under the direction of Principal Conductor and former Handbell Musicians of America National President, John Pfeiffer. Julie has been a member of the group’s Board of Directors since 2007 (initially as an at large member and later and currently as Recording Secretary) and assisted in authoring the group’s bylaws and Ringer Handbook. Julie has directed the handbell choirs at her church in Nashville since 1999. She holds a B.A. in Music from Cumberland University and was a contract music engraver for the United Methodist Publishing House for nine years. Julie has over 40 published handbell arrangements and compositions and was named Composer of the Year in 2009 by Jeffers Handbell Supply. Over the years, Julie has had the privilege and pleasure of serving as clinician for several handbell festivals and workshops throughout the country. In the non-musical part of her life, Julie recently retired after working 19 years for the Tennessee Supreme Court’s lawyer disciplinary agency, the Board of Professional Responsibility. Prior to that, she was a corporate Human Resources professional specializing in employee benefits. Julie and her husband Jim have lived in Nashville for many years where they raised their two grown children, Dylan and Mallory.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vacant – if you live in TN and would be interested in volunteering – please contact Melissa Emerson, Chair of Area 6.