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 eastern Greater Toronto area. In addition to his handbell activities, he is Music Director at Wexford Heights United Church (Scarborough) 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 Chruch 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.
Helen Coxon has been a ringer with Royal York Road United Church's 'Jubellation' handbell choir in Toronto since 2001. Helen works at the Royal Ontario Museum during the day and as the Manager for the Orpheus Choir of Toronto in the evenings. She is also the mother of two boys and a miniature schnauzer.
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. When she's not ringing bells, Anita is an Instructional Designer. Her ambition is to start ringing handbell solos and pass skills to her daughter.
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 and their dog Max.
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 also an accomplished Soprano and has performed in operas and musicals including most recently as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Lisa taught music in the school systems in Toronto and York Region for 12 years and has conducted countless choirs. She is the conductor of the Ballantrae Adult Community Choir and was the Voice and Choir Adjudicator at the Sunderland Music Festival in 2014. 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.
Linda Wilson began ringing handbells in 1999 with The Bells of St. Andrew's in Scarborough. 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. She has rung with Quintessence Handbell Ensemble since 2005, and she accompanies solo and duet ringers on piano. Linda is the Music Director at St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church in Scarborough, and she works as a family lawyer in Markham.