Sarabeth Alonso is the newest member of the group. She has played handbells for 20 years in her home state of California, and jumped at the chance to audition for the Raleigh Ringers when her husband’s schooling moved them to North Carolina in 2020. COVID threw a bit of a wrench in these plans, but she is thrilled to be part of the group in 2021. During the day she works as a project manager for clinical trials, and in her free time she enjoys reading and hiking in the beautiful North Carolina forests.
Bob Auchter was born and raised in Massachusetts but Tar Heel-bred by his North Carolina relatives. Piano lessons as a child, tuba in high school, and ringing in church handbell choirs for several years prepared him for first joining the group in 2001. In addition to enjoying time with his family, Bob likes skiing (snow or water!) and SCUBA diving.
Kathy Baker started playing handbells at the age of 14, having been recruited into her church choir because she could read music, and hasn’t stopped playing since. Now joining The Raleigh Ringers for a fifth year, Kathy also plays bells for a church near her home in Burlington and works in Institutional Research at UNCG, all of which leaves little time for much else. Any remaining time is spent with her husband, Tim, and daughter, Amanda, who are supportive of her ringing, though the cat, Amadeus, remains skeptical.
Ruth Brown holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Texas at Dallas, with graduate studies in Flute Performance and Pedagogy at Meredith College. She began playing handbells in 1995 after seeing The Raleigh Ringers perform. Ruth teaches private music lessons and directs church handbell choirs when she is not crunching numbers as a bank analyst. She and her husband, David, have been blessed with two amazing daughters, their wonderful husbands, and seven beautiful grandchildren.
Keith Burt was born in New Jersey but really doesn’t remember it since he lived most of his life in Florida. He was drafted into handbells when a former piano teacher said, “Just try it for one rehearsal!” and has been playing ever since. Keith studied piano at the University of Central Florida and fortunately for The Raleigh Ringers, enjoys transcribing and arranging music for handbells. He currently works at Martin Architectural Products and fills his spare time with his great loves, movies and heavy metal.
Angie Chiatello comes to us from California via Purdue University, where she played their famous Shaker Chimes as a member of the university's Handbell Choir. Angie works in marketing for an engineering firm, does freelance design work, and in her spare time, bakes and decorates sugar cookies. She also loves to read and travel, having visited all but six of the United States.
Matthew Eden, a native of Charlotte, is excited to be returning as a member of The Raleigh Ringers. He was first seriously introduced to music through his school orchestra, where he learned to play viola. Shortly afterward, he joined the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and was introduced to handbells through Morning Star Lutheran Church under Ed Tompkins. He progressed quickly in both, eventually becoming principal violist of the Youth Orchestra and becoming a member of the auditioned Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble, with whom he performed for nearly a decade. More recently he has also enjoyed playing with the Queen City Ringers of Charlotte.
Erin Glendening comes to us from Pella, Iowa, via Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Erin followed in her siblings’ footsteps and began ringing bells at the age of 12. The pursuit of a master’s degree took Erin to Pittsburgh, where she directed an intergenerational handbell choir and a children’s chime choir at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, while also ringing with the Chapel Bells at Mt. Lebanon UMC. Erin rings with the Bells of Saint Andrews and directs the children’s chime choirs at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church. When not ringing, Erin works as a computer geek and enjoys solo ringing, cross-stitching, knitting, crocheting, reading, and watching movies.
Wayne Hicks is excited to join The Raleigh Ringers after several years of “thinking about it.” Wayne began ringing handbells in 2001 when he submitted to the Lord's calling and returned to church. His music background includes trumpet, mellophone, and French horn. He minored in music theory while pursuing an engineering degree. Wayne's day job is working as a rocket scientist at NASA. He has his pilot license and enjoys flying with his wife Mary in his spare (?) time. Wayne is from Carrollton, Virginia.
Sandra Hopson was born in Illinois and grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. She began ringing at the age of ten and performed with the Carol and Wesleyan Ringers of St. Matthews UMC, Annandale, Virginia, directed by Nancy Cappel. Sandy and her husband James are the parents of two daughters, Emily and Megan. Sandy is a charter member of The Raleigh Ringers.
Lauren Housley began ringing at the age of 12 at the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler, Pennsylvania, and carried her love of ringing into her university career, joining the Rooke Chapel Ringers of Bucknell University. Since graduation, she has performed with other community handbell groups, and is now in her third season with The Raleigh Ringers. When not ringing handbells, Lauren can be found up to her knees in any area creek, studying aquatic insects for the state of North Carolina; or knitting, crocheting, or spinning.
Allison Keisler is originally from Hickory, North Carolina, and teaches chorus and handbells at Bandys High School in Catawba County. Her love of handbells started at the age of 9 in her church bell choir, which she later directed for 15 years. She has been a member and assistant conductor of several professional handbell groups in the Hickory and Charlotte areas. Allison has four beautiful children ranging in age from 10 to 15 who have many different interests including sports, music, reading, and video games. She and her wife, Kristin (fellow ringer) currently live in Kernersville and, in their spare time, enjoy watching Grey’s Anatomy, shopping local, and checking out craft breweries across North Carolina. Allison is the president of The Raleigh Ringers.
Blake Long comes to us originally from Farmville, North Carolina, where his early years were a mix of piano, voice lessons, and euphonium performances. He took his music to UNC-Chapel Hill where he performed in various groups while earning a Chemistry degree. After a stint in pharmaceutical R&D, he now is a consultant advising pharma companies. Blake joined the group a year after learning how to play handbells and played for six years. He returns to the group after a 10+ year break, during which he and Melissa, his wife of 22 years, have raised three boys, Spencer, Tyler, and Barrett.
Cindy Massey, one of Cary’s earliest “Yankee transplants,” managed to turn her toddler virtuosity at the Fisher-Price Xylophone and subsequent love of music into the ringing adventure of a lifetime in 1990 – as a charter member of The Raleigh Ringers! In the past, when she wasn’t working at a quilt shop, ringing, sewing, or shopping, Cindy claimed to enjoy helping husband Phil care for the pecan trees and beehives on their Nuts for Nuts farm. Forget that. Now she’s providing daily loving care for her two beautiful grandchildren: Hudson and Amelia. Well, that, and shelling pecans. Lots of pecans.
Kristin Murphy, a native of Virginia Beach, relocated to North Carolina to continue ringing with The Raleigh Ringers. Kristin started ringing as a child with Virginia Beach UMC and continued ringing through college and pharmacy school with Williamsburg United Methodist Church, Virginia Handbell Consort, James River Ringers, and Virginia Bronze. When she is not ringing, Kristin works as the Medication Safety Officer for UNC Hospitals. She and her wife (and fellow ringer) Allison can often be found at Starbucks, a local craft brewery, or chatting it up with daughters Elizabeth (age 9) and Meredith (age 6) over Skype to hear all about their adventures in Dublin, Ireland. Kristin is the secretary for The Raleigh Ringers.
Cathy Rowe comes to Raleigh from Springfield, Illinois, where she played with the community group Bells in Motion for 13 years. Piano lessons at the age of six started her love of music, and a church donation of three octaves of bells by her parents started her love of handbells in high school. Cathy enjoys ringing at the annual handbell event Distinctly Bronze and she is currently working as a Programmer/Analyst for Measurement, Inc. in Durham.
Sarah Sheffield is excited to be in her fifth year with the group! Sarah's love of handbells began in 1994 when she was recruited to play in her church's choir and now takes every chance she can to ring – like ringing with Queen City Ringers, Distinctly Bronze East, and anyone who needs a sub. Outside of ringing (there's a life outside of bells?), Sarah likes to read, cross stitch, read, go to the movies, and read. Sarah has a music education degree (French horn), though works for an insurance agency during the day. She and her husband Milton (who also rings) live in Charlotte.
Former Members of The Raleigh Ringers
Stephanie (Morgan) Alm
Melissa (Borchardt) Brinson
Crystal (Moran) Coen
Laura (Ellwein) Fix
Ann (Wheeler) Grigg
Amy (Dale) Harris
Lisa (Brande) Harris
Carla (Batchelor) Hinton
Elaine (Bodisco Massink) Hofmann
Lisa Ann Kelder
Paula (Coss) Kolarov
Wendy (Burger) Pase
Brenda (Byrd) Powell
Karen (Copeland) Rhew
Heather (Duschl) Saunders
Diane van Dijk
Ann Lowe Vodicka
Ellen (Havens) Wentz