Ruth McDonnell, Interim Director
Ruth McDonnell joined us in the fall of 2007. Ruth is a deaconess in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and is currently writing her PhD dissertation on images for the resurrection in hymns. She has a master’s degree in theology from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree in music education from James Madison University in Virginia. As member of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, she has served on national and area boards. Ruth was a founding member of the Magic of Bronze, a community handbell choir in Orlando, which she directed until moving to St. Louis in 2003. Ruth has taught handbell techniques and conducting at numerous workshops and has conducted massed ringing at festivals. She is also an avid solo ringer and flutist.
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Current Members(♩ indicates charter members)
- ♩ Kim Amos is a charter member of the Gateway Ringers. She has been ringing bells since 1981 and has rung in groups in Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, and Germany. Kim is a doula (professional labor and birth support) and childbirth educator. She is married to Chris, has two children, Sarah and Bryan, a son-in-law, Bryan, a daughter-in-law, Tess, and grandsons Thomas, Liam, Declan, and Thad. Kim is currently serving as Secretary on Gateway’s Executive Committee.
- Peter Dahlstrom started playing bells at age ten in the church bellchoir that his mother directed. He was lucky enough to have a bell choir at his high school and performed with them at the International Handbell Symposium in 1992. Peter started playing with the Gateway ringers in 2002, but had a 6 year hiatus while he was living in Germany. Peter returned to the group in the fall of 2015. He is a horn player in the USAF Band of Mid-America, stationed at Scott AFB. Peter and his wife, Stacie, love spending time with their daughter Josephine.
- ♩ Andy Eversole has been ringing handbells since 1990 and is a charter member of the group. His musical family includes his wife, Patty, a Suzuki piano & trumpet teacher, and three musical children: Matthew (clarinet & saxophone), Kristen (flute & saxophone) and Ryan (vocal & violin). Andy daylights as an electrical engineer at Boeing. Andy is currently serving as President on Gateway’s Executive Committee.
- Mopsi Hanley joined us in January, 2008. Mopsi is a retired CPA. She started ringing bells as a charter member of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church handbell choir in 2002. She is married to Jack. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. And no, “Mopsi” isn’t her given name. It’s Martha Anne.
- Don Hayman wears the most bizarre shirts of anyone on the face of this planet, and as such is forbidden to take a role on the concert dress committee. Don enjoys torturing bells of all sizes, specializing in March Malleting Madness, and is the proud keeper of Gurney, the official Gateway Dancing Rubber Chicken. Don is married to Wanda, our #1 roadie.
- Carla Hoppe joined Gateway in January 2010. Carla is currently searching the wilds of St. Louis for her biography. If you’ve seen it, contact us at Carla’s Lost and Found.
- Trish Jackson has been ringing with the Gateway Ringers for about 10 years and in church handbell groups for about 20 years. Trish holds a BA degree in education with a minor in Music–she currently works at Claymont Elementary school. In addition to playing handbells, Trish loves reading, puzzles, and spending as much time as she can with her children and especially her grandchildren.
- June Jones officially joined in January 2006. She is music director at St. Thomas UCC in Chesterfield. June works at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center; is married to Craig and has a daughter Molly and a son Tim.
- ♩ Peggy “Carillon” Lohnes is a Charter Member of Gateway Ringers. She retired from ringing in 2011, and currently serves as the group’s Financial Manager. She has been ringing bells since the early 1980s. Peggy is a Tax Advisor at Block Advisors, is married to Bill, has three sons, three wonderful daughters-in-law, and four beautiful granddaughters.
- Julia Matthews joined the Gateway Ringers in the fall of 2017. She is a retired music teacher, and is currently the organist at Kirkwood Baptist Church. Julia and her husband, Steve, live in Sainte Genevieve, and have three children and four grandchildren.
- Ruth McDonnell joined us in the fall of 2007. Ruth is a deaconess in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and is currently writing her PhD dissertation on images for the resurrection in hymns. She has a master’s degree in theology from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree in music education from James Madison University in Virginia. As member of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, she has served on national and area boards. Ruth was a founding member of the Magic of Bronze, a community handbell choir in Orlando, which she directed until moving to St. Louis in 2003. Ruth has taught handbell techniques and conducting at numerous workshops and has conducted massed ringing at festivals. She is also an avid solo ringer and flutist.
- Kaitlyn Meier began ringing in a children’s tone chime choir over 15 years ago at St. Paul’s UCC and joined Gateway in 2012. She has since graduated from Maryville University and has become a board-certified Music Therapist. Kaitlyn spends her days using music as a therapeutic agent with geriatric and hospice patients.
- Amanda Morgan joined us in January, 2008. She is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, and currently works as a Service Rep for AT&T. Amanda has been ringing handbells since the early 1990s for several different groups, and is currently ringing with St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.
- Lisa Mueller learned to play bells at church and has been playing them since about 2003. She joined the Gateway Ringers in August, 2019. Presently, she handles an entire octave of bells (and, sometimes, more) at Zion Lutheran Church in Valley Park! She also plays in two other bell choirs in the area, sharing her talents with them. Lisa and her husband, Steve, have been married for 20 years. They have two boys, Steven, Jr., and Nicholas. They live in the Manchester area.
- Sue Nielsen joined us in August, 2019. She is a charter member of the handbell choir at Timothy Lutheran Church in St. Louis. Sue is also the "Top Dog" for Noah Comfort Dog at Timothy Lutheran. She takes Noah, and also her dog Merida, a CHAMP Therapy Dog, to hospitals, schools, adult day centers, and events, and has deployed with Noah to tragedies outside of the St. Louis area. Sue and her husband Glenn have 4 children and three grandchildren.
- Angela Ohmie joined us in January, 2016. She graduated from Concordia River Forest, and has taught in the 2nd–4th grades and elementary music. She previously rang in the Kansas City handbell ensemble Rezound! Angela now enjoys teaching her four daughters, spending time with her husband, and helping out with the music at her church, Village Lutheran in Ladue.
- Diane Stout joined the group in January, 2004. She rings bells and sings in the choir at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, St. Louis, and works for the Lutheran Association for Special Education. Diane and her husband, Dennis, enjoy spending time with their three children and five grandchildren.
- Andrea Stramler joined the Gateway Ringers for the first time in 2014. She played with the group until Fall 2015 when her job with Anheuser-Busch moved her to Georgia. After a break and a job move back to St. Louis, Andrea re-joined the group in the winter of 2018. She has been playing handbells since age 10 in various choirs including the Oregon State University Handbell choir. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her fiance John, cuddling with her dog, Primrose, and baking all the sweet treats!
- Tim Way first learned about handbells as a freshman at Westminster College. He really began playing when he joined First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, Ct in 2001. Tim played for fifteen season at First Church. He has also played under the direction of Dave Harris of the Raleigh Ringers, and the late composer/arranger Mary McCleary. Tim joined the Gateway Ringers in the fall of 2015. He is married with a blended family of three children. He lives in Granite City and is employed as a registered nurse at a Metro-East Hospital.
Would you or someone you know like to be a Gateway Ringer? Find out the membership requirements here.
|Wim Blees (1995–1997)||Mark W. Lawson (1997–2003)||Nancy Helmich (2004–2007)|
|Chuck Peery (2008–2018)|
|Curtis Armstrong||Laurel Bales||Marcia Barber|
|Dolan Bayless||Beth Beattie||♩ Jan Blees|
|♩ Wim Blees (Founder)||Jill Dean||Jan Ebeler|
|Tim Forbis||Kevin Gale||Hellen Gillespie|
|Kevon Hall||Marcia Hansen||Cynthia Harris|
|♩ Janice Hitchcock||♩ Sally Johnson||♩ Karl Kay|
|♩ Dub Koon||Ginny Lawson||Kit Lamar|
|Jason McGinnis||Karen Mild||Anne Miller|
|♩ Allison Nalesnik||♩ Georgia O’Brien||♩ Candy Parson|
|Janet Petersen||Michelle Robbins||Karen Rolland|
|Wendy Shaw||Donna Skeen||Kelly Stohl|
|✝ Joyce Suttle ✝||Laurie Underwood||Steve Upton|
|Crystal Wagner||Bruce Walker||Jeff White|
|♩ Marcia Worcester||♩ Carl Zimmerman||Gurney the Gateway Chicken|