Musicians of Bells of the Cascades

About

Matthew Compton

Vancouver, WA

Matthew Compton is Bells of the Cascades’ music director. A Colorado Springs native, he has been composing, arranging, and conducting music for handbells since 2007 when he was in the eighth grade. He had his first composition published at the age of fifteen, making him one of the youngest published handbell composers. Matthew has numerous compositions and arrangements in print or in the publishing process (Sonology, Hope, From the Top, Lorenz, Jeffers).

An avid performer, player and student of handbell music, Matthew is known for his high-energy original compositions and arrangements, and beautiful harmonies.

In addition to being a guest clinician at handbell festivals across the country, his music is used frequently at local and national handbell festivals, like the Bay View Week of Handbells, Distinctly Bronze East and West, and the International Handbell Symposium. He has been the recipient of the Donald E. Allured Composition Award.

His music has been performed across the world by many elite groups, including The Agape RingersPikes Peak Youth Ringers, Hong Kong Youth Handbell Ensemble, and the Alleluia Ringers of Concordia University Wisconsin.

Matthew graduated in 2016 from Concordia University Wisconsin with a degree in music and a focus on composition and conducting. In his spare time, Matthew can be found streaming a variety of games and music performances on Twitch, going hiking, or enjoying any number of movies, anime, or TV shows!

Josh Billings

Vancouver, WA

Josh Billings moved to Vancouver from the Twin Cities in January 2021. He has been involved in music since second grade when he started taking piano lessons. He played in the inaugural chime choir at his home church before playing in the handbell choir. He then continued to play in the handbell ensemble of Concordia University St. Paul for four years. He graduated with a degree in K-12 Vocal Music Education in the spring of 2016. After a year off from playing bells, he became a member of Bells of the Lakes based in Minneapolis before moving and then becoming a ringing member of Bells of the Cascades.

Josh is now a board member of BOC. Outside of ringing, Josh recently found a job working for Loomis in Portland. He always enjoys playing the piano, going for hikes, or just hanging out with friends. He is looking forward to everything that the Portland/Vancouver area has to offer.

Beth Davidson

Oregon City, OR

Beth Davidson started ringing handbells in Duluth, MN, in 1972 and has rung nearly every year since. She discovered the joy of solo ringing in 1993, after attending her first national festival. She rang with Bells of the Cascades for a few years in the late ’90s before leaving to concentrate on her work with David Jordan in the duet team of Handbells Unlimited! She was a cofounder of Solo/Ensemble Extravaganza, the first national workshop for small group and solo ringing. Beth is married and has three grown daughters, three step-children, and four beautiful grandchildren. By day you will find her doing allergy testing and asthma education. Besides ringing handbells, her favorite hobbies are reading, making decorated cookies, and wine tasting.

Ben Froeschle

Tualatin, OR

Ben Froeschle began playing handbells starting in middle school when they joined the Calvary Episcopal Church handbell choir in Columbia, Missouri. They continued ringing in college at St. Olaf College for all four years, and toured with both the St. Olaf Choir and the St. Olaf Handbell Choir. Ben then joined Bells of the Cascades right after college when they moved to the Portland metro area.

Ben is currently in a masters program for social work at Portland State University.

Cindy Gronbach

Portland, OR

Cindy Gronbach began her handbell career while searching for a new church choir with which to sing. She started ringing at Savage Memorial Presbyterian Church in 1985. In 1989, she took a conducting class at an AGEHR festival, has been directing Savage’s bell choir since 1993, and has been directing the bell choir at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church since 2014. She is an accomplished solo ringer and has taught several handbell technique classes. Cindy has been ringing with Bells of the Cascades since 1991—the longest-serving member, and the only member who has been on every BOC cruise—a record that cannot be broken!

In addition to serving on BOC’s membership committee, Cindy grooms and boards dogs, and volunteers for the Oregon Humane Society. She also hand-crafts greeting cards. She enjoys spending time with her long-haired Dachshund and long-haired Chihuahua, and being in the yard watching the antics of her chickens, but never both at the same time. She dreams of a beautiful garden full of flowers and vegetables, and perhaps some fruit trees, but alas, just dreams.

Alisa Hampton

Forest Grove, OR

Alisa Hampton picked up her first set of handbells in junior high at the Methodist Church in Brecksville, OH. She joined the Sunset Presbyterian Church bell choir of Beaverton, OR in 1992 with her best friend, and was hooked. She then played at Valley Presbyterian Church, also in Beaverton, where she ventured into solo and duet ensembles. When she moved to Forest Grove, OR, her love of handbells prompted her to help found a new bell choir at Forest Grove United Methodist Church, and she joined Bells of the Cascades in January of 2015. Currently she is serving as Treasurer on the BOC Board. Alisa also plays the piano and dabbles in writing compositions for bells and the church’s vocal choir. Her four children are also very musical and don’t mind her being an official ding-a-ling.

Barbara Hughes

Vancouver, WA

Barb Hughes started playing piano and flute as a child and continued both into early adulthood. She played handbells for two years as a teenager at Church of the Covenant in Cleveland, OH and performed with that group at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. in 1965. Then she went about the rest of her life. In May of 2017, handbells called to her again and she joined the Salmon Creek United Methodist Church Exultation Ringers in Vancouver, WA, directed by Matt Compton. With Matt’s encouragement, she auditioned and was accepted into Bells of the Cascades in August of that year.

Barb is currently working, along with Ivan Boothe, on a complete redesign of this website and on the emailing that we do. She is a retired book editor, can recognize two spaces after a period from a mile away, collects frog figurines, and lives with her partner Mark and two cats. She adores her two daughters, one son-in-law, and two grandchildren, all of whom live entirely too far away!

Debbie Ivanov

Hillsboro, OR

Debbie Ivanov is the only current member of Bells of the Cascades who is also a founding member. In fact, she is one of two co-founders! (However, she is not the longest lasting member; Cindy Gronbach gets that honor!) Between working and raising a family, Debbie took several breaks from ringing. But now she is actively ringing and serving on the Board of BOC and is the current Secretary. Currently working in administration at Kaiser Permanente, Debbie also directs the handbell choir at Tualatin Presbyterian Church. Besides handbells, her hobbies include her grandchildren, crocheting, and gardening.

Joey Ostrand

Ridgefield, WA
Joey has been playing hand chimes and bells for about fifteen years. He appreciates the support and influence that his home church has given him to really start and build his musical career. Joey serves a couple churches (including his home congregation) in a musical vocation, serving as handbell and/or choir director. Joey also serves as a full-time music teacher at a local Christian Jr/Sr. Highschool.

Arthur Pascual

Vancouver, WA

Arthur Pascual is a recent transplant from Reno, Nevada, where he first started ringing. Fairly new to handbells, it took nearly ten years for a friend to convince him to try it out. Originally playing percussion in local orchestras and bands in Reno, he eventually gave in to the temptation and started ringing with a local community group, Tintabulations. There, his fascination led to becoming a handbell lifer. Since moving to Vancouver, Arthur has continued his love and passion for music by joining Bells of the Cascades.

Outside of handbells, Arthur is an online math teacher and a baker at a cookie store. Furthermore, he has traveled and worked around the world, visiting more than 40 countries, and residing in five of them to pursue his passion for teaching. His biggest goal in life is to hit all the continents (still has Antarctica), to run a marathon, and eventually earn his Doctorate. But for now, he is just enjoying the greenery here in the Pacific Northwest.

Nancy Patton

Tigard, OR

Nancy Patton started ringing handbells in the ’90s, when her mother encouraged her to give it a try. She had no idea what a handbell was, had never touched or seen one, but in her usual way, was determined to please her mom. And her mom was right—handbells are really fun to play, which is still true after all these years. Nancy never mastered a musical instrument in her youth so ringing handbells as a “group instrument” is a great joy for her! Now she considers herself a musician and honors her mother through her love of handbells.

Since 2002, Nancy has been a member of Bells of the Cascades. During that time, she’s been President, VP, and Secretary on the board. These days, Nancy oversees equipment, which is a perfect fit for her love of details and organization. And there’s a lot of equipment. When not ringing bells, Nancy works as a sales engineer for a legal software company in Portland, which mixes her high-tech background with her law degree. Nancy loves living in the Pacific Northwest, relocating to Portland from the Bay Area almost twenty years ago.

Jim Troisi

Lake Oswego, OR

Jim Troisi has rung bells since 1996 when he joined a bell choir to understand how the heck a bell choir can make such beautiful music when everyone only plays a few notes. He’s still trying to figure it out. Jim joined Bells of the Cascades in 2009 and serves as the Bookkeeper and Cruise Committee chair. He has written a program to assist Bells of the Cascades in managing bell assignments.

Jim also plays in the Covenant Bell Choir at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church in Lake Oswego, OR. Jim’s days are spent working at IBM as a third line software development manager, and his time at home is spent reading, exercising, and working in his garden.

Jennifer Vangolen

Seattle, WA

Jennifer Vangolen was born and raised in New Jersey, where she started ringing handbells at Trinity United Methodist Church in Hackettstown, NJ, after convincing the director to let her join the youth choir even though she was several months shy of being the requisite ten years old. She’s been ringing ever since and most recently was a member of Bells of the Sound in Seattle, and served as a Member at Large on the National Board for Handbell Musicians of America. She joined Bells of the Cascades for the first time in the Fall 2021 season.

Jennifer holds a BA in Chemistry from Brandeis University and is currently the principal business analyst in software development for Ellucian Degree Works. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys traveling, playing with her kitty, Maaike, and hiking and skiing any chance she gets, especially in Whistler, BC.

Martha Wilson

Oak Grove, OR

Martha Wilson has been with Bells of the Cascades since around the year 2000. She was not an original member, but did go on the first BOC cruise to Alaska in 1992. She has served on the board for about ten years. A retired mental health therapist, Martha has recently started a second career as a real estate agent. She serves as an elder and sings in the church choir of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portland. She is married to Kris Sparks, a former BOC member. In her free time Martha enjoys traveling and both baking and cooking, as well as making beer and snuggling with her dog, Gracie.

Board of Directors

Bells of the Cascades is a 501(c)3 nonprofit registered in the state of Oregon. Our board members for 2022–23 are:

  • Josh Billings*
  • Garrett Bond, president
  • Barb Hughes*
  • Ben Froeschle*
  • Alisa Hampton*, treasurer
  • Debbie Ivanov*, secretary
  • Arthur Pascual*

* current ringer

We are always looking for new members of the board, including members of the community and non-ringers! If you’re interested in serving on our board, please contact us and let us know!

Associate Members

Bells of the Cascades extends special thanks to our Associate Members!

Associates are people who have an interest in the affairs of Bells of the Cascades, but are not members of the organization. These may include spouses or other family of members, substitute ringers, members of the community, and more. Our associates do much of our behind-the-scenes work — including serving on committees, ushering at concerts, building music stands, preparing publicity materials, remodeling the trailer for more efficient use, and many other things we ask. They are our unseen “worker bees.”

Thank you to our current Associate Members:

  • Tom Foley
  • Karen Jolly
  • Paul Jolly
  • Candy Schade
  • David Schade
  • Sue Smith
  • Kris Sparks
  • Brenda Troisi

If you are interested in being an Associate Member of Bells of the Cascades, please contact us.