Meet The Ringers :: Current Members
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John has a bachelors degree in music from Ripon College and is currently getting an additional degree in information systems from UW-Oshkosh. John also plays the guitar, bass, and piano. This is his second year ringing in the Encore! Handbell Ensemble. John enjoys spending time with his fiance and their new puppy Benedict.
Mitchell Eithun is currently a Mathematics student at Ripon College. He has played handbells and handchimes since elementary school. In his hometown, New London, WI he has lead several small handbell ensembles and a children's handchime choir. Mitchell's hobbies include playing saxophone, working with computers and math tutoring.
After directing her former church's handbell choir for twenty years, Amy attended Encore's Salvation Army holiday concert. By then she had joined Oshkosh's Calvary Lutheran chime choir and decided to audition for Encore as a challenge. As one of the newest members of the group, she is looking forward to mastering four-in-hand.
Darcy Duffy is originally from the metro Detroit area and moved to Oshkosh with her husband, Mike, 26 years ago. They met at the University of Michigan, where she received a B.A. in Speech Pathology and then completed her Master's degree at Eastern Michigan University with a teaching certificate. Darcy worked in the schools for 5 years before deciding to stay home to raise her three daughters, who are all college-age or older now. After being on maternity leave for 21 years, Darcy began doing long-term substituting for speech pathologists in the Oshkosh Area School District.
During those years of being a full-time mom, Darcy volunteered for many organizations, including the schools. She helped out in her children's classrooms, was active in the Gifted and Talented Parent Group and the Music Parent Group at North High School. She was also a board member for the Oshkosh Youth Choir, the Oshkosh Symphony, and the Winnebago County Literacy Council. Darcy has always made music a priority and has sung in choirs throughout her lifetime at school and church, and began ringing handbells eight years ago. She has also led several reading groups because of her love of reading, enjoys sewing, and loves sports of all kinds, especially following her favorite team, the Michigan Wolverines.
Linda fell in love with the sound of English Handbells at a concert at her church in 1982. She told the choir director that if there were ever a spot open to please consider her. (Don't say that to a church choir director unless you really mean it). By that fall she was ringing bells for the first time and has been ever since. She likes to say that she was raised on church hymns. Her grandma played the organ, and hymns were most often the songs of choice. Linda would play along on guitar and everyone would sing.
She lives in Oshkosh with her two daughters, Megan, 24 and Kristen, 18, a kitty Lexie, a new puppy, Gracie and their horse Sonata.
Linda loves to 'make a joyful noise' with the Encore! group and really enjoys the camaraderie they have together especially their Chalice nights or get togethers after rehearsals (she can totally attest to Joey's margarita making skills). She hopes this season brings them many opportunities to share their love of music with others to entertain, delight and maybe even inspire someone listening to begin a love of English Handbells too.
Kim grew up in a family of musicians, with exposure to all different styles of music. She was exposed 20 years ago to handbell ringing through the church she and her husband attended. Learning to ring has been a fun and uniquely challenging experience. Kim brings 8 years of ringing experience to the Encore Handbell Ensemble along with playing the flute. Other interests include playing the piano some, attending dance, soccer, choir and theatre performances of her 3 children, gardening, spending time with family, friends and the critters, and playing board games. Kim is also a full time Occupational Therapist.
Having an opportunity to share music with others has been a true "blessing" in life. Kim is excited to belong to such a talented group of musicians. Ring on!
Deb was introduced to handbells in junior high school and has been playing on and off since, accruing over 25 years of ringing. Her passion for ringing handbells has led her to become a member of Encore! In addition to playing in ensembles, she has performed in quartets, duets and solo ringing. She also enjoys singing in her church choir.
Patrick W. Meyer
Patrick Meyer attended University of Wisconsin--Oshkosh majoring in music education, music merchandizing, and recording technology. He started composing and arranging music while attending UW--Oshkosh - mostly choral and small ensemble works-studying under Rolf Yttrehus, Dr. Bruce Wise, and Dr. James Chaudoir. His first handbell composition was written for his daughter Erin, entitled My Song of Joy, or Erin's Lullaby.
Patrick, a Desert Storm veteran, lives in Oshkosh, WI with his wife Susan, where he attends First Congregational Church, sings in their chancel choir and has directed the Faith Ringers Handbell Choir. He has three grown children--Eric, Erin, and Bryan (Ashley Nicole). Patrick is a founding member of Encore! Handbell Ensemble and currently serves on their Board of Directors.
Shirley resides in Omro, Wisconsin and has been involved in music of some sort all her life. She started out by taking accordion lessons at the age of 5. She has sung in her church choir for over 30 years and with the Oshkosh Choraliers off and on for about 15 years. She has been playing bells for approximately 30 years.
Judy has been a handbell ringer with Algoma Blvd. United Methodist Church since her high school years. She owns and operates a legal guardianship agency. When not ringing, Judy enjoys deep-sea fishing, hot air ballooning, parasailing, zip-lining, traveling, and gardening. She is the proud parent of two grown children and a rescued dog.
Jo Ellen Vogt
Jo Ellen (or Joey, as her fellow ringers call her) considers herself to be the least musically talented of the group. Stemming from an unfortunate incident in elementary school, she was told by the music teacher to be the narrator of the class musical performance because she couldn't sing. But her love of music could not be silenced. And then, one time at band camp, she realized the ringing in her ears was more than just the dinner bell, and thought, "What the bell?"
Since then, Joey has shared the stage with many talented musicians playing bells in a church handbell choir on and off since she was 16-years old. She is excited to be part of this amazing ensemble of performers as a founding member of Encore, to bring the joy of handbell music from the church into the community. She is especially grateful for the gifted leadership of director Cara Davis, whose perseverance has made Encore a reality. Joey now uses her voice to make us laugh and plan get-togethers that cement the camaraderie between us. She also makes a pretty darn good margarita.
In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, gardening, sports, camping, canoeing, traveling, and listening to music. When she is not doing something fun, she works as a corrections supervisor for a county sheriff's department.
Dellora has been involved in all things musical since she was three years old. Her parents were musicians, and her earliest memories are of the family gathered together, singing and dancing, while her mother played the piano and her dad played saxophone or clarinet. Her mother was also the church organist for many years, and often enlisted Dellora and her sister to sing for funerals and many church functions.
She played handbells at her church for approximately 25 years, the last several under the direction of Cara Davis. She sings in the Oshkosh Choraliers, and is also a member of an entertainment group called The Rhythmettes, a tap dancing group of older women entertaining throughout the valley at nursing homes and senior citizen functions.
Mary has been ringing off and on for about 16 years. She recalls her initial experience requiring the calmness of a duck paddling like mad with four bells in hand at once, and is happy to report that she’s only thrown one bell so far! Ringing bells is a wonderful way to participate in a musical group and she is pleased to be a member of Encore.
Sue began playing handbells when she moved to Oshkosh back in 1997. Her daughters wanted to try it, so the three of them joined the beginning bells at church. The girls played for one season, and Sue kept going. Considering the excellent player that she is, her modesty and humor fits in perfectly with the other Ringers when she says "You'd think, after all these years, I'd be pretty good. You'd think."
Emily has played bells since grade school, when her mother asked her to "help" in her church choir. She became a full member the next year and has rung or directed handbells ever since. She currently directs the chancel bell choir at Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church, which has so far been a challenging but rewarding experience. In addition to handbells, Emily also plays the cello, most recently with the vaudeville-inspired act, Dr. Kickbutt's Orchestra of Death. She is currently cultivating a pretty crippling addiction to fiber, and is an enthusiastic knitter and crafter.
During the day she masquerades as Virginia Rogers, a mild-mannered harpist with a Masters of Music degree in harp performance and the Assistant Director of Christian Education at the Federated Church of Green Lake. But come nightfall she transforms into her top-secret alter-ego ... so top secret, in fact, that all we can say about it here is that it includes a lot of sequins and an insatiable appetite for bell-ringing. She's rumored to have taken part in numerous nefarious bell-ringing escapades from St. Paul, MN to Boston, MA ... and she's excited to now be joining her mother, Ann, in their first year with Encore Handbell Ensemble!
To learn more about Virginia, visit her website: www.vrogersharp.com
Ann has been ringing bells at the Federated Church in Green Lake for nearly 2 decades. She was one of the regular organists at the Federated Church for about 16 years and has been an accomplished piano accompanist since junior high school. She started her working career as a legal assistant in corporate law and ended it as a medical transcriptionist, coder and biller. In between those jobs she took an extended sabbatical to raise her two children.
Barbara Clark Ziblut
Barbara has enjoyed playing bells for 18 years, not in small part because each ringer is a part of the whole, yet every ringer's bells are unique to that whole. Barbara is retired from 30 years of State service and ad hoc lecturing at UW-Oshkosh. Currently, her PhD in child development is being put to practical use in the caregiving of her two special grand-daughters. She also volunteers in the community and enjoys antiquing, gardening and . . . music!
Cara Davis - Director
Cara Davis, M.M., B.A.-Music, is the Artistic Director for Encore! Handbell Ensemble. Her love of handbell music inspired the formation of Encore! which she helped found in 2008. In addition to working with Encore!, Ms. Davis teaches Theory for the General Student, African American Music: A History of Rock and Roll and Music Appreciation at UW Oshkosh. She is the director of the UW Fox Chorale in Menasha. She also teaches Jazz History at UW Fox and has taught Beginning Piano, Music Fundamentals and Aural Skills for the UW Colleges. She has worked at several of the University of Wisconsin College Campuses as both a guest conductor, choral accompanist, and a primary choral instructor. In addition, Ms. Davis maintains an active voice studio at UW Fox Valley and Ripon College.
Ms. Davis has extensive experience in conducting handbell ensembles and choirs throughout Wisconsin for the last fifteen years at both the high school and collegiate level. She has also worked with church handbell ensembles and vocal choirs throughout the state of Wisconsin. In addition to directing Encore!, she conducts the handbell choir at First Presbyterian Church in Oshkosh.
Ms. Davis received her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2005, studying under Dr. Constance Haas and Dr. Valerie Errante. Since then, she has been a guest conductor around the state and has performed extensively as a soloist with several choral organizations. Most recently, she has been the guest conductor for the Moraine Chorus in West Bend and has been guest soloist with the Marian University Chorus, Ripon College Choral Union, UW Fond du Lac Chamber Singers, and UW Milwaukee Orchestra and Chorale. Ms. Davis also sings with the White Heron Chorale based at Lawrence University in Appleton. Cara is married to Tom. They have three beautiful children, Charlie, Joel and Larissa.