Concert Bells of Fort Worth is an auditioned community handbell ensemble of advanced ringers from North Texas dedicated to musical excellence through artistic handbell performance. Founded in 1998, the group performs a diverse repertoire, from classical transcriptions to innovative original works, with precision and musical sensitivity. In addition to performing holiday and spring concerts locally, Concert Bells has performed for several national and regional events, including a featured concert at the National Handbell Musicians of America Seminar in Irving (2023), a featured concert at Pinnacle in Dallas (2015) – a national event sponsored by Handbell Musicians of America, the Showcase Concert at the Area 9 Festival in Arlington (2010), and Southwest Region AGO convention in Fort Worth (2015) where the group also premiered a work commissioned for organ and handbells by Sondra K. Tucker.
Previously, they performed at the 2005 and 2013 Fall Seminars presented by the Greater Dallas Handbell Association. The group has served as the local liaison for the 2005 and 2007 Handbell Musicians of America National Seminars held in Dallas, and was also selected to serve as the choir for the master class in conducting (2005) and for the hymn festival (2007). Outside of Concert Bells, the ringers also serve as handbell clinicians and conductors for local and national workshops, seminars, and camps and several are published composers of handbell music.
Concert Bells recorded demonstration CDs of new releases for Choristers Guild for several years. Their artistry is also on display in their Christmas CD, “Let All the Earth Rejoice and Ring,” and “Radiance,” a collection of hymn tunes and original works, released in 2012.
Concert Bells of Fort Worth is organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and receives most of its funding through performance fees, donations made through the Friends of Concert Bells program, and demo recordings
Conductor and Artistic Director
Stephanie is Worship & Music Coordinator at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, where she is also responsible for children's music and handbells. Over the past twenty five years she has directed vocal and handbell choirs of all ages in churches across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
With a reputation as an effective and engaging teacher, she has been a clinician and guest director for numerous workshops and festivals across the US. In the past few years she conducted two events for Handbell Musicians of America: the All-Star choir at National Seminar in 2018 and Distinctly Bronze East in 2020. She represented the US at the 20th International Handbell Symposium in Nashville, TN, in August 2022.
Ms. Rhoades holds a BA degree in music from Yale University and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology. Her non-musical interests include teaching fitness classes, cycling, training for triathlons, and scuba diving.
Grace Alotto lives with her husband and daughter in Fort Worth. She teaches sixth grade Science and Social Studies in HEBISD (Hurst-Euless-Bedford). She has been playing handbells for over 20 years. She first got involved in handbells as a child in her mother’s children's choir at church and continued through high school. She rang in the college handbell choir at the University of Southern Mississippi and has been a member of East Texas Handbell Ensemble and Cast of Bronze. When she has any free time, she enjoys spending it with her toddler, visiting aquariums, and shopping.
Ashley Blaha lives in Addison and is a professional piano technician. She started ringing bells in middle school at her church in Houston under Stevie Berryman and has been ringing ever since! Concert Bells has been her main choir since 2014 but she has also filled in for other groups locally. She grew up playing flute and piano and still plays piano regularly for both work purposes and her own enjoyment! Ashley has been the treasurer of Concert Bells since 2021. When she’s not working on pianos she enjoys running, yoga, and reading of all kinds.
Nicole Culp and her husband Mark are empty nesters and recently built a house in Weatherford where they now live with their 3 dogs, Muffy, Tootsie, and Libby. They have two grown children. Their son Ryan will graduate from nursing school in May and hopes to become a family and mental nurse practitioner. Daughter Abbie is an avid mountain climber and a graduate student at Texas Tech studying clinical psychology. They are both musical like their mother, playing handbells, piano, guitar and ukulele. Nicole is a family nurse practitioner and works in a family practice in Granbury. Her mother, grandma, and great-grandmother all taught piano, so it is no surprise that Nicole plays the piano. She picked up the flute along the way and finally ended up with handbells in her hand by accident. She has loved it ever since. Nicole loves to cook, read, swim, and spend time with her family. She also has an amazing ability to memorize numbers.
Josh Fitzgerald currently lives in Irving, but is originally from Colorado. Being a Flight Attendant for a major airline has also allowed him to live in many places in the US. He's also the owner of a small ecommerce business. In a previous life, he was a full- time church musician. In addition to handbells, he plays several different instruments which you may have heard during previous concerts. Formerly, Josh served on the boards of Area 5 and Area 9 of Handbell Musicians of America. Highlights of his handbell career include separate tours to Germany and Japan, and playing in the BYU-Idaho PBS televised special with the critically acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble. Also making the list is starting a handbell ministry in Nicaragua. Fun fact: Josh is a licensed auctioneer and a ham radio operator.
Elizabeth Garvin is a Computer Engineering graduate of Texas A&M who spent many years working as a QA analyst in healthcare IT. She started ringing in 6th grade and participated in competitive school handbell choirs through high school, where she lettered in handbells! She immediately started ringing in church bell choirs. She joined Concert Bells of Fort Worth in 2004 and has been ringing for at least 30 consecutive years. In addition to ringing with Concert Bells, Elizabeth has enjoyed coordinating and directing youth handbell choirs. Her passion for music is shared with her husband, Dan. They reside in Lewisville and enjoy cooking, listening to music, and attending live concerts and performances of all sorts. She is very proud of her stepdaughter, Danielle, who graduated in May 2023 from Texas Woman’s University with a BBA in Human Resource Management.
Cindy Karm learned about handbell ringing in her church’s youth choir almost three decades ago. Cindy’s first instrument was piano, and she took formal lessons for about 10 years. She has enjoyed making music with Concert Bells of Fort Worth since 2013. Her musical highlights include performing at Pinnacle with CBFW in 2015 and performing in the world premiere of Michael Glasgow’s choral work Requiem at Carnegie Hall in 2017, and in Vienna, Austria, in 2019. To fund her music habits, Cindy practices construction and general business law at a boutique firm in north Dallas. She also supports Dallas’ musical community by serving as the President of the Board of Directors of the Fine Arts Chamber Players.
Valerie Martin lives in Grapevine and teaches in the radiology program for Dallas College. She grew up with music in the house as her mom and grandmother both taught piano lessons as well as played organ and piano at their church. Valeriestarted ringing handbells with a church group right after high school, and never looked back. Massed ringing with other bell choirs in a grand setting is one of her favorite things to do; the sound is just overwhelming! When not working or ringing, her favorite place to be is snorkeling or watching a gorgeous sunset over the Caribbean water.
Carol Lynn Mizell holds B.M.E. and M.M.E. degrees from the University of North Texas. She A resident of Denton, she has been the Conductor of the Denton Community Band since 1978. She is also the Handbell Director at First United Methodist Church in Denton. She retired from Strickland Middle School in 2017 where she taught band and handbells. Carol Lynn is an active conductor and clinician for area and national handbell events. Carol Lynn has been a part of All- Star Handbell Choirs at several Handbell Musicians of America National Seminars, and she attended her first International Handbell Symposium in Nashville in 2022. She is a published composer and an oboist and maintains memberships in Sigma Alpha Iota and the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts. She served as President of the Greater Dallas Handbell Association (2018-2021). Carol Lynn and her husband, Bob, have two daughters, Michelle Mizell Corazao and Jennifer Mizell Mount, sons-in-law Marc Corazao and Terry Mount, and grandsons Ian, Kyle, and Benjamin. Her hobbies include playing Bridge and 42.
Martha Smith lives in Plano and teaches 9th grade English and Yearbook at Williams High School. She got involved in handbells around age 12 and has been playing, directing and serving on boards ever since. When she has free time, she enjoys reading and trying to keep up with her 3 sons, 2 dogs, and 2 cats.
Brenda Swindle began ringing over 25 years ago at First Presbyterian Church in Richardson (they just needed a sub). She currently rings and sings in the choirs at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas. She has rung with several auditioned handbell ensembles over the years. Always open to new ventures and challenges in handbell ringing, she enjoys attending handbell events and festivals whenever time and finances permit. She also enjoys traveling, especially to the beach, with travel on the Trans Canadian Railway being on her bucket list. She attended the University of Texas at Arlington and is currently Business Manager for Faith United Presbyterian Church in Farmers Branch. She resides in the Dallas area, and enjoys spending as much time as possible with her three adult children, twins John and Sarah, and James.
Karen Thompson lives in North Richland Hills with her husband, Rick, and greyhound Miranda. Karen enjoys her retirement as a former church musician and composer. Karen began playing piano and organ for church at age fourteen and later majored in music at Austin College. Her first foray into handbells began after college when she was hired by a church in Dallas that had an active handbell choir. The first time she heard handbells was as a handbell conductor. In 1998, Karen envisioned forming a top-notch community bell choir for other conductors and advanced ringers and Concert Bells of Fort Worth was born! Now that Karen is retired, she enjoys gardening, sewing, and playing with her greyhound.
Kathy Stephenson was born and raised in Dallas and has lived in Connecticut, Washington and Italy. She currently lives in Coppell with her husband Greg, son Travis, and recalcitrant cat Chester. Her love of music began as a child with piano lessons and singing in school choirs. She began ringing handbells at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church almost 30 years ago where she continues to ring and sing in the Sanctuary Choir. She also has played in the Brookhaven College Handbell Ensemble and Cast of Bronze. She joined Concert Bells of Fort Worth in 2022. She currently serves as Secretary of the Greater Dallas Handbell Association. Kathy earned a B.A. in Psychology from Baylor University and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Trinity University. In addition to ringing and singing, she enjoys traveling, hiking and entertaining family and friends. In her free time, she can usually be found with a cat on her lap and her nose buried in a book.
If you would like to book us for a special event (wedding, memorial service, party) or for a full concert, please contact us for a quote.
Karen Thompson by e-mail or call (817) 239-6974