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.
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.
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, on the OGEHR Board of Directors, and in designing 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 she says that 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 cats, Eren and Percy.
David Keith is a charter member of The Bronze Foundation and began ringing in 1992 with the Bells of St. Andrew's at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Scarborough. He 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 spends his work days as a Terminal Automation Advisor for Imperial Oil and ExxonMobil. David enjoys spending his spare time travelling with his wife, Karianne.
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, was on the podium for the last two OGEHR Festivals and was chosen as the Canadian Conductor at the 2022 International Handbell Symposium. 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 and the Encore Choir in Newmarket. 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.
Jennifer Schafer started playing bells in 1996 with Grace Anglican Church in Milton and played for ten years. She and her family moved to Aurora in 2015 and she joined the bell choir at Trinity Anglican Church shortly thereafter. Jennifer joined the Aurora United Church handbell choir in 2018. She is currently a ringer for AUC's two choirs, Bellissimo and Faith-A-Peal, and is a member of the handbell quartet, EmBellished. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband, two sons and two step-sons. She works in finance for a data analytics company.
Jeannie Tsui was previously a member of Hong Kong Youth Handbell Ensemble, participating in local concerts and overseas concert tours. She rang as a member of Bellaholics — a Hong Kong handbell ensemble — at the International Handbell Symposium. Jeanne also plays the piano and does classical vocal. She is currently studying at the University of Toronto. She started ringing with the Bronze Foundation in 2022.
Linda Wilson began ringing handbells in 1999 with The Bells of St. Andrew's in Scarborough and rang with them until 2004. She also rang for a number of years with Quintessence Handbell Ensemble. Linda has rung with The Bronze Foundation on and off since its beginning in 2001, and most recently since 2015. She is also a fill-in ringer with Bells of Bowmanville. Linda is a past music director at St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church in Scarborough. She lives in Scarborough with her husband and two sons. Linda works as a family lawyer in Ajax.
Our Wonderful Friends and Past Members
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.
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.
Debi Sproule began ringing handbells in 2005 with the Wellington Square Church choir in Burlington. She is the Music Lending Library Coordinator for the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers.
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.
Matthew Boutda has been involved in singing, accompanying, leading congregational singing, and composing music. In his spare time, he enjoys running and being involved in various athletic opportunities, such as the CN tower climbs.