More About CCR

"Ring Tones" Newsletter

The official newsletter of CCR.

Current issue:

Fall 2018

Did You Know?

A long-standing tradition in CCR, each member has a "Bell Nickname" that represents some characteristic of themselves. CCR ringers come from a wide variety of occupations and backgrounds. Be sure to check out all the interesting and creative nicknames.

CCR Group Photo

What is an "English" Handbell?

The term 'English' refers to the type of clapper mechanism rather than the country of origin. English handbell clappers move on a single plane (back and forth) rather than any direction or plane, like a school bell or cow bell.

Audition for CCR! Come Join Us!

For Whom the Bell Tolls...

Would like to audition for the Capital City Ringers? Or perhaps be a sub for rehearsals? If this sounds like your calling, contact us or call director Nicole Leppala for more information.

The Capital City Ringers Handbell Ensemble - About Us

Click here for a group photo to meet the ringers and directors.

The Capital City Ringers would love to play for your event: wedding, concert, civic event, corporate function, workshops, special celebrations, etc. We generally book performances 1 year in advance, so contact us now!

The Capital City Ringers, Inc., an auditioned community handbell ensemble from Lansing, Michigan, was formed in 1984 to give an opportunity for advanced handbell ringers to grow, learn, and promote the art of handbell ringing by providing a high quality musical experience for diverse audiences. These advanced ringers come from the extended Lansing area. They volunteer their time and talents and are committed to community service projects and concert performances in the Lansing area and beyond. Their fifteen to twenty concerts a year take them to many areas of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and even as far as Disney World, Florida, in the summer of 1991. They also have been the featured group for the opening concert of Handbell Musicians of America Area V Festival Conferences. The Capital City Ringers are known for their musical expression and dynamic interpretation of the music they play. Their goals are achieved through participating in festival conferences, workshops, tours, recordings, and other performance opportunities.

The Capital City Ringers have performed for a variety of local and civic events in the Greater Lansing Area and beyond, such as, Silver Bells in the City, East Lansing Winterbowl and Chili Cook-off, East Lansing Arts Festival, Festival of the Trees, Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival, and have performed with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, and the Mason Symphony Orchestra. CCR has also been featured on several concert series and programs, including Handbell Podcast and the Dr. Christmas radio show.

Arts Council LogoCommunity service performances at retirement centers in the Greater Lansing area have been made possible by grants from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. CCR acknowledges these organizations for their support. The Capital City Ringers maintain membership in both of these organizations.

The group owns and performs on a full 7 octave set of Malmark English handbells, from C2 to C9, several duplicate bells, a 6-plus octave set of Malmark Choirchimes©, and a variety of auxiliary percussion instruments. CCR will often be accompanied by other instruments, such as drums, bass guitar, keyboard, clarinet, flute, tuba, euphonium, cello, or even a synthesizer.

Dr. William PaynThe Capital City Ringers Handbell Ensemble has a composition that was written especially for them, Réunir, by Dr. William A. Payn, which was commissioned by Lorraine Finison in 1991. This hauntingly beautiful piece displays a multitude of colorful emotions exemplifying the group's musical interpretation and expression. We are proud to mention that Réunir has been selected as a bronze piece for both Eastern and Western AGEHR National Festival Conferences, several area festival conferences, local festivals and conferences, and most recently, the 9th International Handbell Symposium held in Birmingham, England in August of 2000. This is truly a dynamic composition that has international appeal and is known the world over. We are very proud of the success of this piece! Thank you Dr. Payn!




CCR would also like to acknowledge and thank Capital Data in Lansing for graciously providing rehearsal space for the group. Additionally, we thank all of you who support CCR and make it possible for us to bring the unique sound of handbells to the local Lansing area community and beyond.

The Capital City Ringers would love to play for your event: weddings, concerts, civic events, corporate functions, special celebrations, etc.

Come join us!
We currently rehearse on Monday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. at Capital Data in Lansing, MI. Our rehearsals are open, so come visit, watch, and listen, or pick up a bell and ring with us!

Audition for CCR! Maybe you would like to audition to be a Capital City Ringer, or perhaps a sub? We are seeking experienced, committed ringers who are looking for a challenging outlet for advanced handbell opportunities while having fun. We currently have two terms per calendar year; Fall and Winter/Spring. Auditions are generally held in August each year, however, from time to time, we have openings in January. If this sounds like your calling, E-mail us or call director Nicole Leppala at (517) 974-6635 for audition information.

E-mail us at for booking information, inquiries about the group, audition information, comments, or just to say "Hi!" Or see our 'Contact Us' page for more ways to reach CCR.


Meet The Capital City Ringers Handbell Ensemble

CCR Group

"I don't know him but his face sure rings a bell..." - Click on a ringer's face to jump to their bio.

Not pictured: Kristin Stroble

Meet the Music Director

NicoleNicole Leppala - In addition to becoming the Capital City Ringers' Music Director in 2015, Nicole is the Music Director at Hope Lutheran Church in DeWitt, Michigan, where she has been privileged to serve since 2000. Nicole’s experience in conducting and teaching the technique and art of handbell ringing started in 1998 when she was recruited as a last-minute ringer for a church service. Nicole received certification in Lutheran Musician Enrichment through the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in 2004. Many of Nicole’s accomplishments as a musician, clinician and conductor are directly related to advanced music study through the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Nicole has served twice as President of the Lansing Area Ministry of Bells, and strives to encourage and teach congregations how to promote music in the church through handbell ringing. Teaching ringing techniques and musicianship in ringing as a clinician and guest conductor has introduced Nicole to many great people.

An avid musician since childhood, Nicole plays French horn, trumpet, piano and organ. She has been the Assistant Director for the DeWitt Community Concert Band since 2014 and a player in the French horn section since 1994.

"Handbell ringing is a social act of communication from the musicians to the people. The visual and technical aspects of handbell ringing add splendor to what the music intends to convey. This unique form of musical presentation transforms the written music from something dead into something alive! It is through this act of communication that handbell musicians do not just do music for the people; instead, they work to share themselves through the music they present."


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Meet the Ringers. . .



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Natalie Blunt - a.k.a Harmonius Bell - Natalie joined CCR in the fall of 2016.  She was introduced to handbells when hired to direct handbells and children’s music at a church in New Jersey, while living there for three years with her husband.  Since returning to Michigan in 1986, she has rung or directed handbells in five churches.  She rang for three years with Compana, a community handbell choir that is part of the Embellish Handbell Ensemble "family" in Grand Rapids.  Since 2014, Natalie has been directing handbells at Okemos Community Church, where she also enjoys singing in the Chancel Choir.  Natalie is a Western Michigan University graduate with a music degree, studying piano as her major instrument.  In 2008 she received a degree from Baker College to become a Physical Therapist Assistant, and currently works in this field.  Natalie enjoys spending time with her husband, Rick, and staying tuned in with the activities of her grown children.  She also enjoys playing the piano, reading, and watching the TV show “Chopped” on the Food Network.

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Shari Dann - a.k.a. No-bell Prize,  joined CCR at the middle of the Spring 2018 season to replace a ringer who had to leave the group suddenly.  That was a big challenge, but she was equal to the task!  Sharistarted ringing in the Pilgrim Ringers of the United Church of Christ in Sherburne, a rural community in central New York.  This group released an album and toured in a wide area around Sherburne.  As an adult,Shari rang in and directed the handbell choir at First Congregational in Laingsburg.  She also plays clarinet and piano.  Shari loves her work with MSU students in the Dept. of Community Sustainability and is continually inspired by each incoming group of students.  In her personal life, she is the proud parent of two daughters and a niece, who are actively working to make the world a better place.  Her dog, Scooby Doo, keeps her balanced with his humor and playfulness.  In her spare time, Shari enjoys quilting, crafting, making jams, and growing lavender.

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Kyle Dymond - a.k.a. Fresh Prince of Bell-air, joined CCR in the fall of 2019 and says he is having a blast!  Kyle and his wife Sarah started ringing in 2002 at Delta Presbyterian Church, where his mother-in-law was the director of the Bellievers.  Sarah is now the director and one of their daughters has joined the group, too.  In addition to handbell ringing, Kyle is an accomplished cello player.  Professionally, he is a University of Michigan graduate with a Psychology and Spanish double major, and also has a Masters of Science in Administration with a concentration in Leadership from Central Michigan University.  He works for the Michigan Civil Service Commission.  Personally, he married his high school sweetheart and they will celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2020.  Kyle and Sarah have three children:  Colleen, 15; Jill, 13; and Ben, 10; and a dachshund named Link.  His spare time is often spent shuttling the kids to play practice and other activities. 


Mitchell Eithun - a.k.a. - Bio coming soon...






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Bell Amie *Corlie Eldred - a.k.a. Bell Amie. Corlie comes to us from Williamston, MI, where she has been involved in music ministry at Williamston United Methodist Church for nearly 40 years, and currently serves as organist, and director of the handbell choir, "Joyful Noise". Other musical activities include teaching piano and accompanying students at area festivals and recitals, and learning to play the hammered dulcimer. Having raised three sons, Corlie and her husband Keith now enjoy any chance they get to spend time with their grandchidlren. They also enjoy traveling to places near and far, and weekends often find them competing in dog shows and agility trials with their three setters. On nice days, Corlie's favorite things to do are walking with her human or canine buddies, or working in her flower gardens. Corlie has particpated four times in the Bay View Week of Hanbdells, and recently participated for the second time in Distinctly Bronze East.  She joined CCR in 2008.

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Dr. Bell* Kim Finison - a.k.a. Dr. Bell, primarily rings bass bells and bass chimes, but often plays a variety of percussion instruments, trumpet, trap set, bass guitar, ukulele, or keyboard. Kim joined CCR in 1989, and with his wife, Lorraine, commissioned a piece ('Blue Tango' by Cathy Moklebust) in 2013 to celebrate their 25th season together in CCR. He currently serves as the equipment manager and web master for CCR, and in his spare time (what ever that is!) enjoys computers, photography, playing trumpet, and working on sick handbells and bringing them back to health (hence the nickname). Kim  has been a clinician (bell maintenance and bass bell techniques) at various handbell events in Area 5 of the Handbell Musicians of America. He also is a retired 13 year verteran of the Deep Pit Bass Bells at the Bay View Week of Handbells, and made his WoH debut on trap set in 2015. Kim has served as CCR's Bass Section leader for several years before turning the reins over to Rick Hobrla. He is married to Lorraine Finison, whom he met in CCR, and father to CCR ringer Lindsay Finison and (former CCR ringer) Andrea Finison Palomba, and enjoys being "Pop-pops" to his 4 grandchildren.  Kim plays trumpet in the Mason Symphony Orchestra, the DeWitt Community Concert Band, and the Jazz Band at the MSU CMS .  He also likes to play the ukulele and bass guitar in his spare time. In 2001 Kim and Lorraine visited the Malmark factory in Plumsteadville, PA and were given a comprehensive personal tour by former Malmark vice-president, Willard Markey. Before leaving, Kim got to ring the G-0 and A-0 bells - (yes, that's G-ZERO and A-ZERO) - the largest playable handbells in the world.

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Bell DivaLindsay Finison - a.k.a. Bell Diva.  Lindsay, joining CCR fall of 2004, says, "I grew up watching my dad (Kim Finison) ring with the Capital City Ringers. It is a great honor to now be ringing with the group that I grew up with and admired." Lindsay has been ringing bells since she was in the 3rd grade and now rings with the adult handbell choir at Mayflower Congregational Church, where she earned her bell nickname. Along with bells, Lindsay started piano lessons in the 3rd grade. Later, in band, she played baritone, clarinet, French horn, and trombone (jazz band). As you can tell, music is a huge part of her life.  Lindsay re-joins CCR after taking a couple of years off after the birth of her daughter, Stella.

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Bell Goddess* Lorraine Finison - a.k.a. the Bell Goddess. Lorraine is the
Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer for CCR and is the senior ringer,
having just started her 26th year with the ensemble. An accomplished 4IH
(and 6IH) ringer, she has been with CCR since 1988. Lorraine serves as
the Michigan District 1 Leader for Area 5 of the Handbell Musicians of
America and is on the board of the Lansing Area Ministry of Bells, where
she has been Secretary since 1992. She has also been a clinician at
various handbell events. Lorraine worked at the Michigan Department of
State's Bureau of Regulatory Services as a Department Specialist for 32
years, retiring on Jan. 1, 2011. She has a BS degree in Criminal Justice
from Grand Valley State University and a Masters degree in Corrections
Administration from Michigan State University. Lorraine is married to
Kim Finison, and is stepmother to Kris Finison, Lindsay Finison and Andrea Finison Palomba (all current or former CCR members) and grandmother of three.


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Lord of the Ring* Rick Hobrla - a.k.a. Lord of the Ring.  Rick joined CCR in the fall of 2001. He began ringing handbells with the St. Gerard Church handbell choir in 1996 in order to atone for at least some of the sins he committed during his younger years. Rick's day job is working as an Environmental Engineer for the Office of the Great Lakes. He claims to get his musical talent from his two kids; son, Travis, and daughter, Meredith. He is lucky to be married to wife, Debby (as she sometimes reminds him), but she wishes he would give up bells and do something "useful" with his time... like cleaning the basement or knitting booties for their Yorkie, Callie.



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Marcia Hollopeter - a.k.a. Bellwinkle.   Marcia began ringing in 1985 when she subbed for an absent ringer one night in her then 12 year daughters' handbell choir and has been ringing ever since. She rang with the adult bell choir, Wesley Ringers, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Rochester, MI from 1986 to 2010 when she joined CCR. Having moved to Mason, MI in 2006, she still rings occasionally at St. Paul’s when the opportunities arise but it’s a long commute! Marcia also played with the Rochester Ringers community bell choir from 2004-2006 and with the Cranbrook Ringers, Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield, MI from 2003-2006. She currently rings with First UMC in Mason. Marcia is married to husband, Mark, and they have 3 children. When not ringing, Marcia enjoys spending time with her grandkids and her other passion, quilting. She also enjoys reading, gardening, camping, and walking through the woods, along with the never-ending challenge of remodeling their house near Mason. near Mason.


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The Swingin' RingerShannon Spasova - a.k.a. The Swingin' Ringer.  Shannon started playing bells at age 8 as a preacher's kid in Ohio. She learned 4-in-hand and the weave first in high school at Monroe Street UMC in Toledo. At Oberlin College she participated in a winter term project that allowed her to practice 5 hours a day 5 days a week for a whole month and resulted in the creation of the bell quartet "Krazy Dave and the Swingin' Ringers." During graduate school she played in Madison Area Concert Handbells in Madison, WI, and then played with St. John's United Church of Canada while living in Nova
Scotia for several years. In 2013 she was honored to join CCR! Shannon is an Assistant Professor of Russian at Michigan State University and works for the Center for Language Teaching Advancement. She also enjoys folk music, especially Russian folk music, and has a collection of Russian folk instruments that includes a Russian-style accordion and 3 balalaikas!



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Kristin Stroble - a.k.a. Stro-bell, joined CCR in the fall of 2018 after moving to East Lansing.  She was an emergency replacement for another one of our new ringers from the spring of 2018, Cory Payne-Drueke, who had a medical emergency just before the fall season started.  CCR was glad Kristin was able to step in at the last minute.  Kristin has been ringing bells since she was 12 years old and directed a church handbell choir while she was in college.  She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the College of Wooster in WoosterOH, with a focus in choral music.  She then received her Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in DecaturGA.  Kristin is the pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Lansing.  In addition to musical interests, Kristin loves to read, travel, hike, bike, and visit the National Parks.


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Toll RoadStu Talsma - a.k.a Toll Road. Stu joined CCR in January 2012,
ringing in the bass section. He started ringing in junior high in the
youth bell choir at South (Baptist) Church and has rung in the adult
bell choir directed by CCR member Eileen Ellis for many years. He also works in the multi-media room during Sunday services. Stu currently works as an analyst for the Michigan Dept. of State’s Bureau of Elections, and previously worked for 12 years in the Michigan Dept. of Technology and five years in the Michigan Dept. of Transportation. When he isn’t ringing bells, Stu is an avid reader of history and is a collector of books. He also enjoys travel and music.


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Alyia Thomas - a.k.a. Nurse Bell, joined CCR in the spring of 2019 and is currently the youngest member of CCR.  She started ringing in 2013 at Eaton Rapids First UMC in one of the three bell choirs there.  She was soon ringing in all three choirs.  We think she is as addicted as the rest of us!  When her bestie from Eaton Rapids H.S, Ashley Dickins (who joined CCR in the fall of 2017), asked her to join CCR, Alyia jumped at the chance to audition.  They had met in high school band, where they both played flute, and rang bells together at church.  Alyia graduated in 2018 and is attending Lansing Community College, pursuing an RN degree.  She has five siblings ranging in age from 20 years to 5 months, and has a corgi, two cats, and an axolotl.  She enjoys watching bad movies, eating, and taking care of her animals.  She recently started working at the Dimondale Nursing and Rehab Center in the dietary area, though patient care is her true passion.




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David Wright - a.k.a. ? Bio coming soon...





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* Denotes section leaders: Kim - low bass & percussion, Rick - bass, Lorraine - treble, Corlie - Battery


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CCR Alumni...


Jessi Wortley Adler
Kendra Anspaugh
Mark Babb
Lisa Biasi Beals
Scott Beck
Wanda Beers
Nancy Bieber
Katie Wharton Boes
Deidra Brown
Norma Byers
Sue Casler
Karla Chamberlain
Peg Cheney
Elizabeth Clark
Nancy Dawson Clark
Sue Clemence
Gertrude Curtis
Charles Daley
Kate Wright Davinroy
Ashley Dickins
Sheryl Ebaugh
Eileen Ellis
Connie Engle
Tabitha Esbrook
Kris Finison
Judy Forester
Halen Foster
Chuck Gendrich
Kelly Gordon

Gary Gregory
Sherry Gregory
Betsy Greenwood
Dave Hafey
Christi Harris
Tricia Hartman
Jan Heath
Marty Herman
Cheryl Hill
Joe Hill
Jan Keen
Nancy Kindraka
Melissa Klamer
Benjamin Knapp
Laura Knudson
Lois Krieger
Rev. Kathy Kursch
Diane Lanning
Chrisann Lowe
Susan Mahoney
Barbara Marley
Gary Masters
Rob Meyer-Kukan
Deb Nickels
Cheryl Niznak
Rebecca Nordhoff
Andrea Finison Palomba
Gina Patton
Bradley Poreda
Adam Reemts
Charlotte Reemts
Christine Reist

Michelle Ridley
Tammi Rockey
JoAnn Russell
Dianne Smith
Laura Sparks
Jean Ann Stacey
Kathryn Stehle
Aggie Steiner
Becky Stoner
Jodi Johns Sullivant
Kay Tanner
Wendy Tate
Nadette Waligora
Paulanne Webb
Adrene Wilford
Carrie Woods
Sharon Yohn
Cricket Young






















Meet CCR Founder and Music Director for the First 31 Years - Jane C. Wright

Ma BellJane C. Wright - a.k.a. Ma Bell, founded the Capital City Community Ringers in 1984 when she discovered a need for advanced ringers and directors to ring more frequently and to ring more challenging and varied music than what their church handbell choirs could offer. Jane is the Director of Worship and Fine Arts at Westwood United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University and a Master of Choral Conducting degree from Michigan State University. Jane has been in the stream of music education and conducting since 1973 and has taught public and private music education, band, choir, and handbells. She served as Director of Music Ministries at Mt. Hope UMC for 19 years. Jane founded the Lansing Area Ministry of Bells (LAMB), which promotes the art of handbell ringing through local festivals and workshops. She is a clinician for early conductors and handbell ringers. Jane has had the privilege of serving 4 years as Secretary on the Area V Board of the Handbell Musicians of America (formerly AGEHR), and has been a clinician for various handbell events, all of which have given her the opportunity to get to know a lot of "great people." Jane says, "Handbell ringing in America today is a very exciting medium in which to perform, and has gone beyond justifying or comparing itself with choral and instrumental ensembles. Handbells can be as musical and as expressive as we make them and the process can be delightful, especially if one enjoys the hard work it takes to strive for musical perfection. The sound is both beautiful and unique and there is great joy in the journey!"


Audition for CCR! Maybe you would like to audition to be a Capital City Ringer, or perhaps a sub? If this sounds like your calling, E-mail us or call Music Director, Nicole Leppala for audition information.

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