Music Director - John Charles (J.-C.) Coolen
J.-C. Coolen is an active participant and leader in the Greater Toronto Area (Ontario, Canada) 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. In 2018, he started directing the Bronze Foundation Academy, a developmental choir under the Bronze Foundation umbrella. He also directs Bells of Bowmanville, at the Bowmanville Seventh-day Adventist Church. J.-C. is active in the wider handbell world as a handbell clinician and teacher. For 13 years, he served as a member of the Board of Directors and Membership Secretary 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.
J.-C. was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and currently lives in Ajax, Ontario. As a freelance accompanist, conductor and church musician, he participates in a wide range of musical activities throughout the central and eastern Greater Toronto area. In addition to his handbell activities, he is Music Minister at St. James United Church (Etobicoke) and Director of Durham Community Choir and Espressivo Singers (Oshawa). In his spare time, he likes to travel, read, think, and satisfy his curiosity.
Sandra Jean Bedford began ringing handbells in 2007 with the Queensway Bellringers in Brantford. She is the organist and choir director at St. George United Church in St. George, and the director of the handbell choir at Wellington Square United Church in Burlington. Sandra Jean also plays in the Foundation Five handbell quintet. She is a retired elementry school teacher who volunteers weekly in both the day surgery unit and the diabetic clinic at Brantford General Hospital.
Jennifer Bell grew up ringing at Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga. She's an accountant during the week and a church musician on the weekend. After being away from bells for several years, she was happy to start ringing with the Bronze Foundation in 2017.
Matthew Boutda has been involved in music almost all his life: singing, accompanying, leading congregational singing, and composing music. Matthew is currently the Interim Director of Music at Leaside United Church while completing the Masters of Sacred Music (MSM) program at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto studying organ with Patricia Wright. He also sings with the MacMillan Singers (University of Toronto), Schola Cantorum (St. Basil’s Catholic Parish), Choir of Church of the Redeemer, and Pax Christi Chorale. Currently, Matthew is the Assistant Conductor for Pax Christi Chorale. In his spare time, he enjoys running and being involved in various athletic opportunities, such as the CN tower climbs.
Kyungmi Chung was born in South Korea. She came to Canada in 2017. She has a university degree in piano performance, and has been ringing at Vaughan Community Church since 2017. Kyungmi lives in Vaughan with her husband and twin daughters.
Helen Coxon has been a ringer with Royal York Road United Church's 'Jubellation' handbell choir in Toronto since its inception in 1999, and has directed the group since 2008. Helen works at the Royal Ontario Museum. Her spare time is used volunteering as Administrator for the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, and as newsletter editor for OGEHR. She is also into making beaded jewelry.
Anita Crump first rang bells as a teenager in Kitchener. She has been a member of the Bells of St. Matthew's at St. Matthew's United Church in Richmond Hill since 2006, the Bronze Foundation since 2007, and started with the Thornhill Ringers in 2013. Now say she has played bells in Alaska, Calgary, and the United Kingdom. She also enjoys ringing solos. When she's not ringing bells, Anita is an Instructional Designer, and co-managing a heritage apple orchard with her husband. She lives in Thornhill with her husband and daughter, and cat, Eren.
David Keith is one of the directors of The Bells of St. Andrew's at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Scarborough, and a charter member of The Bronze Foundation. David began ringing in 1992 and is an accomplished solo and small ensemble ringer, and has mentored many bell ringers by teaching workshops at Handbell Festivals in Ontario and beyond. David plays trumpet with the Toronto Argonotes. David enjoys spending his spare time with his family.
Lisa Kyriakides is an experienced soloist, educator, musical director and conductor. She is the director of Aurora United Church's Faith-A-Peal and Bellissimo Handbell choirs and a member of the EmBellished Handbell quartet. Lisa is in demand as a workshop clinician and festival adjudicator and most recently was one of the conductors at the 2019 Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers (OGHER) Festival at Fanshawe College. Lisa taught music in the school systems in Toronto and York Region for 12 years and has conducted countless choirs, and is the conductor of the Ballantrae Adult Community Choir. Lisa lives in Newmarket with her husband Bob and her two lovely daughters, Elizabeth and Victoria.
Priscilla Li directs, and rings in, the bell choir at Scarborough Chinese Alliance Church where she is the choir conductor and organist. She works as a translator of church music books and hymn texts. She also rings handbell solos.
Debi Sproule began ringing handbells in 2005 with the Wellington Square Church choir. Two years later, she joined the Bronze Foundation community choir and currently also rings in a quintet, Foundation Five and a quartet, 841 Sound. She also enjoys playing solo and duet pieces. Attending handbell festivals and workshops is a favorite activity and this has taken her to Bay View Week of Handbells in northern Michigan, provincial and national festivals plus a number of handbell conferences in the U.S. Debi is the Music Lending Library Coordinator for the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers. Next to ringing, her favorite pastime is reading. Debi has two grown daughters. She and her husband are mostly retired and live in Burlington.
Man-Yee Sun is a multi-talented musician from Waterloo. She is known for playing all types of instruments, but her newest one is the trombone. In addition to being an enthusiastic ringer with the Bronze Foundation, she plays in several bands, and Bells Ablaze, a handbell group in Ingersoll.
Linda Wilson began ringing handbells in 1999 with The Bells of St. Andrew's in Scarborough. She also rang with Quintessence Handbell Ensemble. Linda first rang with The Bronze Foundation from 2001 to 2004, she returned from 2007 to 2009, and she is happy to be back again since 2015. Linda is the music director at St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church in Scarborough, and she works as a family lawyer in Oshawa.
Our Wonderful Friends
Janis Neuland moved to Lindsay after retiring from her French and music teaching career. She has enjoyed ringing handbells in multiple groups and ensembles since 1998. She plays the clarinet, and enjoys running.