meet our clinicians!

John-Charles (J.-C.) Coolen is an active participant and leader in the Greater Toronto Area handbell community. One of the founding members of The Bronze Foundation, Toronto’s auditioned community handbell ensemble, he has served as its Music Director since 2005.J.-C is the Director of Bells at the Bowmanville Seventh-day Adventist Church. He is also active in the wider handbell world as a member of the Board of Directors, Membership Secretary and Chair of the Governance Committee for the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers. He has also served as Ontario District Coordinator for Area 2 of the Handbell Musicians of America. He has been ringing since 1989 and directing bells since 1998. In addition to his handbell activities, he is Music Director at Wexford Heights United Church (Scarborough), Director of Durham Community Choir and Espressivo Singers (Oshawa), and sings with the St. Thomas’s Church Evensong Choir (Toronto).

Handbells etc. Team:
Susan Galloway has directed and rung in handbell choirs since 1985. She has directed with Edmonton Public Schools as well as both community and church choirs. Susan has served as clinician for workshops across Canada and in Colorado. She has adjudicated handbell choirs in youth and music festivals in Alberta. She currently rings in the auditioned community choir, JUBILOSO!  Susan serves as the Coordinator for the Classic Bronze Handbell Festival in Edmonton.  She is the western Canada Sales Representative for Malmark Handbells.

Camille Ream has been ringing and directing handbells since 1989 and has served as workshop clinician in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Colorado.  She has been the handbell adjudicator for youth and music festivals in the Edmonton area. Camille rings in JUBILOSO! Bells of Concordia in Edmonton. She is currently the music coordinator and director of the handbell program at First United Church in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

Anne Hill has been playing, teaching and conducting handbells for 28 years beginning as an elementary school music teacher in Saskatoon SK. Anne has the pleasure of being the conductor/director of the handbell choir, BC Bronze, an ensemble of ringers from a number of regions of BC. Anne has been a workshop clinician and massed ringing conductor at provincial conferences in Western Canada and at many of the Canadian National Handbell "Ringing Link" conferences. She was chosen as the Canadian conductor at the 2004 International Handbell Symposium (IHS) held in Toronto and represented Canada as Chair of Handbell Guilds (HGC) of Canada at IHS 2008 in Osaka, Japan.  Anne has provided leadership on the Saskatchewan and British Columbia handbell guilds as area director, vice-president and president and has been a BC provincial representative on the HGC Board of Directors of which she is presently Past-Chair. Anne is also Co-Chair for the Planning Committee of the 2016 IHS to be held in Vancouver BC. She is currently employed as a K-12 Curriculum Coordinator of the British Columbia Ministry of Education.

heather keith has performed in worship and concerts across southern Ontario, western Canada, in the United States, in a barn, in a castle, on a cruise ship, and at the top of Toronto’s CN Tower.  heather was honoured to be chosen to perform in the International Concert at the 2004 International Handbell Symposium in Toronto and in the National Concert at the 2008 Canadian Ringing Link Festival in London, Ontario.  She also performed in a solo showcase concert at the AGHER national Pinnacle event in Nashville, Tennessee in July 2010.  heather is the only international ringer ever chosen to be a part of the teaching & performing staff for the Solo/Ensemble Extravaganza in Pennsylvania in July 2007 and in Colorado in July 2011. She frequently teaches workshops on solo ringing, ensemble ringing, 4‑in‑hand ringing, bell trees, and music in motion at local, provincial, national and international handbell events.  She is the Artistic Director and a ringer with Quintessence Handbell Ensemble, a group of four experienced ensemble ringers. heather served as the Editor of "Clapper Chatter", the newsletter of the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers for more than 13 years, and she served as Coordinator for the 2008 Canadian National Ringing Link Festival in London, Ontario.

Monica S. McGowan is in demand as a conductor and clinician for festivals and workshops across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.  She has served as Director of Handbells in various denominational churches from Minnesota to Louisiana and in various leadership capacities for the Handbells Musicians of America on both the Area and National levels.  As the founding Artistic and Music Director of Twin Cities Bronze of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, Monica led the ensemble to recognition as an internationally acclaimed handbell ensemble known for its professional musical artistry.  Monica is the Handbell Coordinator for the International Music Camp, succeeding the program’s founder, Fred Merrett.  “Handbell Week” and “Adult Handbell Camp” are held each summer as part of the IMC’s Summer School of Fine Arts at the International Peace Gardens on the border of North Dakota and Manitoba. In 2013, her business, Ringing Restorations, was recognized as an Independent Schulmerich Authorized Refurbishment Center.

Jan Nordstrand has taught elementary music from Kindergarten to Grade Seven for twenty years. She has a passion for handbells, choir, and musical theatre which she shares with her students. Trained with Level 2 in the Orff pedagogy, Janet’s music room is alive with a variety of experiences for her students. She conducts three handbell ensembles – a beginner and advanced choir at Inman Elementary School, and an honour district choir with students in grades 6 – 9 from four Burnaby schools. Janet is the BCGEHR Director for Education and has conducted handbell ringing provincially and nationally. She has presented many workshops to teachers, adults and youth on the art of handbell ringing. Passionate about excellent choral music, she also sings in Vancouver’s Phoenix Chamber Choir, and is Vice President of their board.

Emmy Okazawa-Bortolin represented Canada as its massed conductor and clinician at the 2012 International Handbell Symposium in Liverpool, UK. In April 2013 she conducted the 35th Annual English Handbell Festival at the Riverside Church in New York City. One of the founding directors of the Alberta Guild of English Handbell Ringers (ALGEHR), Emmy has served as Treasurer and currently, as Chair of the Handbell Guilds of Canada. She has presented workshops at local, provincial, national and international handbell events in Japan, Singapore and the UK. Emmy has also adjudicated at numerous Youth Handbell Festivals across Alberta and promoted the art of massed ringing among elementary school bell choirs. She coordinated The Ringing Link in 2011 in Calgary, Alberta as well as provincial festivals in 2008 and again in 2012. Emmy is the Artistic Director of Quarter Notes Handbell Ensemble, a high-performance small ensemble. She is also in demand as a handbell soloist.

Stuart Sladden, born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area, moved to Winnipeg in 2010 to begin a Master of Music degree from the University of Manitoba, specializing in Choral Conducting, which he completed in the spring of 2012.  Over the last 17 years he has enjoyed working with a variety of classical, jazz, and church choirs as a singer, conductor, and clinician. His interest in vocal performance was first nurtured in the respected musical arts program at Mayfield Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario. He then furthered his training in vocal performance at Humber College and ultimately earned a Bachelor of Music degree, specializing in vocal jazz performance, from the University of Toronto (2002).  While in Toronto, Stuart was a sought after private music teacher and freelance musician and just prior to moving to Winnipeg was the Artistic Director of Oasis Vocal Jazz, the longest running community jazz choir in Toronto, the Asst. Conductor of Pax Christi Choral, Toronto’s Mennonite Oratorio Chorus, and the Director of Music at Eden United Church, a large church in the Mississauga area.  It was at Eden United where Stuart was first introduced to the art of handbell ringing.  Since then, he has either been a ringer in, or a conductor of, a number of different handbell ensembles. Stuart attended the Ringing Link in 2008. the Ontario Guild’s conference in 2010, gave two presentations at the Ringing Link in 2011, and is very excited to be one of the Guest Conductors at this years Ringing Link in Winnipeg.

Susan Stevenson has over 30 years of experience as a handbell ringer and has directed the senior handbell choir at Broadway-First Baptist Church for the past seven years. She has served as a clinician for the MBGEHR, performed with the MBGEHR Christmas Guild choir for a number of years and has attended the handbell session at the International Music Camp for 9 years. In addition to directing her choir, Susan rings with the Community Handbell choir and is frequently found substituting in a number of other choirs as the need arises.  

ringing link co-chairs

Morna-June Morrow and Patsy Andrews-Vert

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massed ringing groups

Level 1-2  - merged with COPPERS

Level 3 - 3+ COPPERS   - Copper Crachits

Level 4+  BRONZE   - Boz Bronze

Massed Ringing selections are now available on our Agenda and Sessions page

Ringing link 2014 

july 2 - 5, 2014   Winnipeg, Manitoba, canada

Victoria Inn


Start making plans to attend the 7th Handbell Guilds of Canada National Ringing Link,
hosted by the Manitoba Guild of English Handbell Ringers, to be held at the Victoria Inn
from July 2-5, 2014.

February 7th, 2012 was the bicentennial of the birth of the English novelist, Charles Dickens, so the Ringing Link Committee decided to base the next Ringing Link on Dickens’ best known novel, A Christmas Carol, published in 1843. Instead of speaking of Dickens’ Spirits of the Past, Present and Yet To Come, the Ringing Link 2014 entitled A Dickens of a Ring will feature Christmas music of the Past (pre-19th century), Present (in this case, the 19th century Victorian Era), and Yet to Come (20th and 21st centuries). If you are a history buff you will enjoy all things being planned to reflect the glorious age of the Victorian Era. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837-1901 and Dickens wrote extensively throughout her reign. So what better place to have Ringing Link 2014 but at the Victoria Inn!
A massed handbell festival is unlike any other musical experience.  It is a unique opportunity to ring bells together with hundreds of other ringers in a massed setting.  It is a chance for people from all over Canada (and outside Canada) to come together and share in the joy of music and ringing handbells.
This festival is an opportunity to learn by seeing and hearing different performances and participating in workshops, and is an invaluable way to grow as a ringer or director of handbells.



Manitoba Guild of English Handbell Ringers

registered participants:

Please click HERE for performance notes from the Massed Ringing Conductors. You are required to prepare for the Massed Ringing prior to the event.