[UNDER CONSTRUCTION; GROUP PHOTO COMING SOON!!]
Dr. Lynn Atkins joins JRR as it's second Artistic Director in its almost 20 year history. A native of the Jersey Shore, Lynn got his start with Handbells in during his time at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. After spending time in both the training choir and the touring ensemble, Lynn became a member of Reverberation, a community bellchoir in Bucks Co. PA. On the dark, director's side of the table, Lynn has served the Handbell Community as Director of the Ewing High School Handbell Ensemble of Ewing High School; Ewing, NJ; Sanctuary Bells of Covenant Presbyterian Church; Trenton, NJ; and The Joyful Noise Ringers of Elkton United Methodist Church; Elkton, VA.
Dottie Tweedie is the founding director of The James River Ringers, and now holds the title Director Emerita. She continues to support JRR with her experience and expertise of the art in various roles as needed. She has taught a variety of classes at Handbell Musicians of America’s Area III Adult Festivals, Directors Seminars and Bravissimo!. She also served as the guest conductor for the Genesis track at HMA’s Ocean City Festival in March of 2011. In addition, she supports individual directors and choirs by providing customized workshops. She was instrumental in establishing Bravissimo!, Area III’s event dedicated to community and performing groups, and has twice served as program chair for that event.
Sue Atkins started ringing handbells in the late 1980s and joined the James River Ringers in 1999. She is also active as an on-call substitute for churches throughout the metro area. Through her affiliation with JRR, Sue participated in two AGEHR Area III Bronze Conference Choirs, attended the national Pinnacle event in 2002, and has rung at Distinctly Bronze since 2003. In her other life, Sue has been a Human Resources professional for more than twenty years. She met her husband, David, an elementary music teacher, on the college marching band practice field. Their son, Brian, is following in his parents' footsteps – he plays tuba in his college's marching band.
Ann Clarke is an original member of the James River Ringers. She came to the first rehearsal that Dottie Tweedie called - before the group was “official” and had a name. At the time, she could only ring two bells and got right testy when another ringer suggested she ring a third. But she stuck with it because she wanted to learn to ring as many bells as possible. When she is working, she is a technical and an educational writer. When she is not working, she is constructing a web site built of words of comfort from other writers.
Cara Griggs joined the James River Ringers in August 2002 and has served as the choir's Secretary since January 2003. She began ringing with a church youth choir at age 13 and participated in her first quintet one year later. In addition to ringing with the James River Ringers, she also rings with a church choir. Cara enjoys her always-interesting career as an archivist.
Juanita Lee joined the James River Ringers January 2012. She was introduced to handbells over 25 years ago. Juanita's love for music continues to grow through her active participation in the handbell choir, being a member of the Inspirational and Praise choirs as well as pianist for the Sunbeam choir at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Chesterfield, VA. Juanita is enjoying a new stage in her life, retiring in 2012. She is spending quality time with her two sons, Robert and Anthony, her dogs, Bentley and Ester, and gardening.
Pam O'Brien has been ringing bells for 12 years, primarily in church choirs and small ensembles. She also currently serves as the Handbell Choir Director for her church. Encouraged by a friend, she joined the James River Ringers in September 2015. When not ringing bells or working, Pam enjoys reading a good book or discovering a new hiking trail. She has been happily married for 29 years to Thom O’Brien and they have two children, Emily and Connor.
Dotty Parker remains the rebel of the group, refusing to wear shoes or handbell gloves during rehersals. Her hardcore, backwoods, nun-with-a-ruler ringing style intimidates even the most polished handbell musicians. Most JRR members will admit, "she scares me". When not playing handbells, Dotty enjoys long smoke breaks, brandy from the bottle, and street racing in her new BMW, usually all at the same time. Her street pals call her "La Chica Peligrosa." Dotty also enjoys writing poetry, planting daisies, and yodeling. This is all complete fiction of course as Dotty is a very strong ringer and alot of fun to have in the group. We think she's great even though we are all anxiously awaiting a real bio from her.
LeRoy "Thomas" Warren has been a member of the James River Ringers since 2009. Introduced to handbells at age 10, his passion for the instrument was rekindled when he joined a 5 octave ensemble at a local church, which he did for several years before joining JRR. Thomas served 2 terms as President of JRR's Board of Directors and currently maintains the website. He has participated in HMA's Distinctly Bronze East five times since 2010. He is an avid mountain biker, car mechanic, and also plays acoustic guitar and piano.
Vickie Weber has been ringing bells for 20 years with church choirs and previously with the Virginia Handbell Consort, until most recently joining JRR after moving to the Richmond area. In addition to ringing handbells, she also sings and plays piano, and is the Director of Children/Youth music at Mt. Pisgah UMC in Midlothian. Vickie is currently serving as JRR's interim Director.
Jo Ann Youhas has been ringing with the James River Ringers since 2006. She has served the organization as President and has served multiple terms as Treasurer. During her 30+ years of ringing handbells, she has attended AGEHR Area II, Area III, National, and local festivals, and has rung in Donald Allured’s Annual Week of Handbells in Bay View, Michigan since 2006. Jo Ann is retired and lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. Besides ringing bells, she enjoys golfing, gardening, and being with her six grandchildren.