Our Members

Joan Fossum

Joan has been actively involved with handbells for more than 40 years. She starting ringing in Germany and was a member of the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church Handbell Choir TX. She has served as Director of Music at South Congregational Church, Concord, NH, and Northwood, NH Congregational Church and ReBELLion, a community handbell choir based in Boston. Joan studied handbells with Don Allured and has rung with the New England Ringers. She has been a clinician and massed ringing director for Area 1 of the Handbell Musicians of America and has also served on the Area 1 Board in many capacities. She recently participated in the SPLICE virtual handbell choir sponsored by Stafford (VA) Handbell Society. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, sewing and crocheting. She loves spending time with her granddaughters.

Director and Co-Founder

Mary Divers

Mary received her BS from Plymouth State and MM in music education from Westchester University in PA.  She has been Minister of Music at Good Shephard Lutheran Church in Laconia since 2000 and director of the handbell choir, "A Joyful Noise" since its inception in 2002.  Mary originally organized the Greater Lakes Region Bell Festival, which has now become the NH Handbell Festival.  She is also the director of the New Horizons of the Lakes Region in Belmont, NH.

Co-Founder

Kandia Watson

​Kandia has been playing handbells for over 30 years at the First United Methodist Church in Rochester, where she directs the Witherell Handbell Choir. A graduate of Endicott College, Kandia works as a Quality Assurance Analyst for TD Bank. Kandia resides in Farmington with her husband and two children. She enjoys scrap booking and cross stitching as well as spending time with her family.

Assistant Director

Rebecca Boisvert

Rebecca began playing handbells at age 12 with her Mom in her church bell choir in Massachusetts. Following college at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, where she studied accounting/business, Rebecca moved to NH and has been here ever since. She plays with Brookside Congregational Church’s bell choir in Manchester and has been with the group for the past five years. In addition to handbells, Rebecca has played the flute for many years.  She is dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations and is a grant writer currently contracted with New Hampshire Humanities. She resides in Bedford, NH, and enjoys spending time with her husband and three children Sam, Izzie and Holly. She is also a long-distance runner, skier, and gardener, and enjoys spending as much time as possible on Cape Cod. 

Kelly Brown

​Kelly's love of handbells began at age 10 when she joined the bell choir at her church, Main Street United Methodist Church in Nashua, NH. She was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to continue playing bells with the Smith College Chapel Handbell Choir in Northampton, MA. She graduated from Smith College in May, 2011 with a BA in Music and in January 2015 became the conductor of the church bell choir that she learned to ring in. Kelly is also an avid singer, flautist, and pianist, as well as a substitute conductor for her church's vocal choir. She currently lives in Milford, NH with her husband Matt, son Malcolm, and dog Sue Baby.

Jeremy Cooper

​Jeremy is a graduate of Harvard College and served in the United States Naval Reserves. He established his own company in 1969, designing and building pipe organs with mechanical actions. He has done work for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Maine State Museum and was a consultant to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art on a Smithsonian grant. He has served as an organist in several churches, as president of the Concord Chorale, and is a founding member of Granite State Ringers.

Mya Dundzila

Mya began ringing handbells in the 7th grade after the organ lessons weren’t going well. She continued ringing through high school and college then took a break during military overseas assignments. Mya enjoys ringing at Distinctly Bronze events and substituting at various churches around New England. Mya recently retired from the Department of Defense and lives in Eliot, Maine with her husband Tom and their cat. In moderation, they enjoy bicycling canoeing, and travelling.

Douglas Dixon

Douglas has been involved in music from an early age, starting with his church’s children’s choir and cello in elementary school. He was first introduced to handbell ringing while living in New Jersey.He moved to Indiana in 1985 and started playing tuba, as there was no bell choir or orchestra offerings in the area. He continued to play tuba through college at Purdue University, where he received a BS in Computer Science. Doug has continued to play in community wind ensembles as he has moved through his career in Ohio and now New Hampshire. He restarted with his bell ringing when he started attended Brookside Congregational Church seven years ago. Doug is married to his lovely wife Brenda. They have two beautiful children, Karen and Derrick, as well as two precocious grand-daughters, Madeline and Sophia.

Meri Hirtle

Meri has been involved with music since she was a child. As a high school senior, she was solo piccolo with

the American Youth Symphony and Chorus and traveled with them through seven European Countries. She graduated from Green Mountain College in Vermont with an Associate Degree in Music Performance Flute. She began ringing handbells at church conferences on Star Island in the 1980s. Meri performed with the Lakes Region Symphony for several years. She currently plays flute and piccolo with the Gilford Community Band. She has been ringing with Granite State Ringers for 12 years and enjoys every minute of it. When not involved with music, she volunteers at Back In the Saddle, a therapy barn. She works for the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery. Meri is a Justice of the Peace and performs weddings throughout New Hampshire. She enjoys riding horses and, when there is time, driving her Honda 1800 Trike motorcycle.

HIlary Justice

Hilary is starting her third year with GSR and her fourth ringing handbells, having started with GSR Vibrations in 2017. She holds a Music degree from Dartmouth, a Master’s in English (Trinity College), and PhD in English (University of Chicago). After a career as an English professor, she's now Scholar-in-Residence at the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the JFK Presidential Library & Museum in Boston. She has served as Interim Director for the Heritage Ringers at Exeter UCC/Congregational and also rings with the Congregational Church in Lee. In 2020, she recorded bell-tree solos for both churches and participated in the SPLICE socially-distanced international handbell choir. When she’s not ringing or following Hemingway all over the world (last year: Idaho and London), she hangs out with her family in Exeter, enjoying gardening, knitting, playing piano, and spoiling the cats.

Rhonda O'Keefe

Rhonda has been playing handbells with Decibells at First Church in Nashua, NH for more than 10 years. She is thrilled to now also be playing with Granite State Ringers. Rhonda works as the Director of Environmental Health and Safety for the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. She and her husband Mike live in Hudson, NH. In her spare time Rhonda enjoys gardening, quilting, hiking, geocaching, and spending time at her family's camp on Cow Island on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Nina Orchard

Nina was hooked on playing handbells from her first experience at Wanakee summer camp 17 years ago. She’s been an active member in the music ministry (including handbells and choir) at FUMC in Rochester ever since. Nina received her Master’s in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University. She enjoys researching her ancestry as well as spending time with her family.

Sharon Parker

Sharon has been a bell ringer for over 35 years at First United Methodist Church in Rochester. She has played many different positions through the years and is thrilled to be a member of a challenging group playing a variety of music. She is a former President of the Board of GSR. Sharon is a medical transcriptionist at Wentworth Douglass Hospital and Frisbie Memorial Hospital. She is the mother of three daughters and grandmother of three. She wishes to thank her family for their love and support, particularly her husband, who is a roadie with this group.

Heidi Prior

Heidi is entering her 5th year ringing with GSR. She is a 4th-generation professional musician which includes her paternal aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her great-grandmother was a published composer who successfully obtained White Chapel bells that had to be shipped across the Atlantic during WWI that Heidi now possesses. Heidi has been playing the organ since she was 8 and the piano since she was 18. Heidi is currently the organist at St. Paul's Methodist Church in Manchester, NH. Originally from Massachusetts, she moved to Bedford, NH seven years ago. She is an Accountant at The Granite Group in Concord and just completed her MBA at SNHU. In her spare time, Heidi enjoys spending time with Faith, her little through Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and spoiling her niece and nephew. She also likes to paint,garden, hike, bike, and visit local wineries.

Noralie Sarver

Noralie Sarver of Pepperell, MA, began ringing handbells while in college at Purdue University and has been ringing ever since. She currently rings with the Sounds of the Spirit choir at the Congregational Church of Littleton, MA. Noralie works as an Engineer at MIT. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring New England, having moved here from Colorado.

Debbie Young

Debbie is entering her fifth year with Granite State Ringers. She has been involved in music since the age of 10, primarily as a vocalist. Debbie studied Music Education at Plymouth State University and is currently the choir director at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Manchester, NH. Additionally, Debbie works for SAU27 at Litchfield Middle School in their main office. Debbie resides in Manchester, NH with her husband Bob and is eternally grateful for all of his support in all her musical endeavors. Debbie is absolutely thrilled to be a member of the Granite State Ringers and is thankful for the opportunity to perform with such great musicians!

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