Rochester Area Handbells (RAH) was formed in 2017, and is directed by Paul Kingsbury. The mission of Rochester Area Handbells is to promote musical excellence in handbells, providing artistic challenge and growth opportunities for ringers, and expanding understanding and appreciation of the art form for audiences in Southeast Minnesota.
We rehearse weekly during the academic year at Christ United Methodist Church in downtown Rochester. Our ringers come from various backgrounds from around the southeastern Minnesota and Northern Iowa region. If you are interested in joining, please contact us!
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.
Paul Kingsbury began ringing handbells in high school and hasn't stopped yet. He is a 20-year veteran of the Bay View Week of Handbells, where he acts as "Pit Captain" leading a team of ringers covering bells and chimes from G1 to B3. When it comes to bell music, he is especially interested in exploring the tonal colors available in this instrument. Paul has been fortunate enough to work closely with some of the handbell world's great directors including William Griffin, Donald Allured, and Fred Gramann, and strives to incorporate into his own direction the lessons he has learned from these teachers. Paul lives in Rochester with his wife, toddler son, and a mostly-unsuccessful vegetable garden.
Chris Boswell is originally from Midlothian, VA where he grew up playing handbells at Tomahawk Baptist Church, starting around age 10. He continued to play at Davidson College Presbyterian Church in Davidson, NC during his undergraduate studies, and he now plays handbells with RAH! and with Jubilate Deo at First Presbyterian Church (FPC) in Rochester, MN. Chris is a Family Medicine physician at Mayo Clinic. He lives with his wife, Ariel, their children, Savannah and Noah, and their two dogs, Prince and King.
Paul began his ringing career at First Presbyterian Church in Plattsmouth, Nebraska in 1986. He currently rings at Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester. Paul works at IBM as a software engineer and he and his husband Erin have three cats and two dogs. He also plays saxophone and piano/keys. Outside of music, he loves Crossfit, the Cornhuskers, animals, playing board games, reading science fiction and Star Trek.
Matt Gender, DMA, is the Director of Worship Arts at Zumbro Lutheran in Rochester, Minnesota, having previously served various congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas. Matt earned his DMA in organ performance from the University of Kansas in 2019 where he studied with James Higdon and choral conducting with Michael Bauer. He has been playing handbells for 11 years, and has been a handbell director for 7 years. Matt is also a practiced electro-acoustic composer, professional choral singer, and sound engineer, operating his own freelance recording studio for several years. Matt has been playing with the Rochester Area Handbells ensemble since 2019. When he's not doing anything music-related, Matt is a student pilot and avidly enjoys flying airplanes!
Kristy began her bell career at Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester and has been ringing and directing for 27 years. For the past 31 years Kristy has served as Music Minister and organist at Zumbro. Married to fellow musician Bob Giere, she has two daughters and two grandchildren. Outside of music, she likes to spend time at her Wisconsin lake home with family and friends.
Lesley started playing handbells at Rochester Central Lutheran School (RCLS) from Fall 1990 to Spring 1992 while a student there. She took many years off of ringing and started ringing at her church in 2017. Lesley has also played the Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, and Alto Clarinet’s for the past 36 years (5th Grade thru current), but currently plays the Clarinet and Alto Clarinet in the Rochester Community Band (for the past 25 years). She is currently the Administrative Assistant at her church, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Stewartville, MN and has lived in Rochester for the past 36 years. When not working, she enjoys her Bible Study group, baking/cooking, cross stitching and other crafts, and various other activities.
Pam is a founding member of RAH and has played handbells at Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester since 1983 where she is a member of Bel Canto Handbell Choir and sings in the Zumbro Lutheran Choir. Frequently Pam offers her talents playing one of her many recorders in worship. Pam has recently retired (after 46 years!) from Mayo Clinic. A fun fact: I am the grandmother of three real ringers and a church musician since age 3.
Andy comes from a family of bell ringers and got his start at Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester, where he continues to ring 22 years later. He is a firmware architect for harddrives at Western Digital. Outside of music, his interests include board games — the longer and more complicated, the better — and anything nerdy, including video games, jigsaw puzzles and movies.
Catherine has been ringing bells for 13 years, starting at age 9 at Rochester Covenant Church and going through her time at St. Olaf College. She also plays the flute. Catherine gets the gold star for patience as a middle and high school math teacher. She has a golden retriever, Raya, and in her spare time she likes to read, bake and spend time with family and friends.
Maria has played handbells for 30 years. She also plays bells at Zumbro Lutheran. When not playing bells, she plays and teaches flute, sings in auditioned choral ensembles, spends time with her darling nephew, her cat, doing crosswords and jigsaws, linguistics, gardening, and watching the Minnesota Twins. Fun fact: She is an avid birder with an unusual talent for identifying their songs.
Jenna began ringing bells in elementary school with her church choir and continued through college while at St. Olaf. She's been on a long hiatus from playing but is excited to be joining the RAH crew! In addition, she's a member of the Our Savior's Lutheran Bell Choir in Spring Valley and the Bluff Country Singers. Jenna works at Eagle Bluff in Lanesboro and enjoys spending her free time reading, boating, and walking her dog.
Jackie has played handbells for 21 years and is a member of the handbell choir at Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester. Jackie is a retired 5th grade teacher and taught at The Blake School in Minneapolis. In addition to bells, she enjoys playing flute at Christ United Methodist Church.
Christine has been playing handbells for 6 years, formerly at Bethel University in St. Paul and currently at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Rochester. When not playing bells, she works for the Extension Office of Olmsted County. She almost hiked the Appalachian Trail (#covid) and instead spent the summer of 2020 working at a guest ranch in the North Cascades in Washington state. In addition to hiking, she enjoys sewing, reading, and exploring thrift stores.
Karen began ringing at First Presbyterian Church in Rochester as a child, and rejoined as an adult three years ago. She also played the clarinet for many years and currently plays in a recorder ensemble as well as singing in the chancel choir at First Presbyterian. Karen is the Operations Administrator for Choral Arts Ensemble. Outside of bells, she enjoys exploring the parks of Minnesota, volunteering, reading and watching the Wild.
Alex has played handbells for 3 years. When not playing handbells, he works at the Mayo Clinic as a technologist in the IMPACT laboratory. His work involves culturing dendritic cell and manufacturing CAR-T cells for treatments for patients in phase I/II clinical trials. He and his husband semi-recently moved back to the are to be closer to family. They both enjoy cooking, reading, traveling, and working on word games and geography puzzles.
Jen got her start ringing at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin, Minnesota, and has been ringing for over 30 years. She is a publications editor for Mayo Clinic, and her life is filled with busy teens, an energetic toddler and a handful of furballs. Jen also plays piano, violin and a bit of cello. Outside of music, she enjoys travel, gaming, reading and sleep.