About Us

National Board of Directors

The Handbell Musicians of America Board of Directors operates under John Carver’s Policy Governance© model and consists of a president, president-elect, and five at-large members.  Each member serves the board for a total of six years.  Elections occur every three years so that member terms are rotated.

Lee Afdahl, President - Contact Lee

(Rochester, MN) Lee J. Afdahl is the Director of Music and Organist of First Presbyterian Church of Rochester, Minnesota, a position he has held since 1991. A graduate of Luther College, Decorah, IA, Lee is a church musician with forty years of experience in leading active programs of choral and handbell ensembles in Michigan and Minnesota. Currently he and his music associate, Jennifer Taylor, are responsible for leading four vocal and four handbell choirs, an elementary instrumental program, a church orchestra, and he advises the church’s annual concert series.

Lee Afdahl is frequently a conductor and clinician for handbell conferences, choral workshops, and church music conferences internationally. He has conducted festival conferences for the Handbell Musicians of America at the local, area, and national levels, for handbell classes of American Guild of Organists events, and international handbell events in England and Australia. Mr. Afdahl has served the Handbell Musicians of America as Michigan Chair for Area 5, Chair of Area 7, and currently holds the office of President on the national board of the organization.

He again represented the organization as a conductor at the International Handbell Symposium in Liverpool, UK in 2012. Lee is an active organ recitalist and published composer and arranger of handbell and choral music with over sixty compositions and arrangements in print.

Ed Rollins, President-Elect - Contact Ed

(Columbia, MO) Ed Rollins is associate pastor for music and administration at First Baptist Church of Columbia, Missouri, where  he has served for 22 years. He oversees seven choirs/ensembles and is executive director of the church’s Odyssey Chamber Music Series. Administratively, Ed has oversight of the church operating budget, facility needs, personnel, and a seven-million-dollar endowment.

Ed is co-founder, bass bell ringer and current conductor of the highly acclaimed Columbia Handbell Ensemble.

As a long time active member of AGEHR, Ed has served the Guild on many levels, including Missouri State Chair, Area VIII Chair (1996-86 and presently), area representative to the national executive committee and area representative to the national board. In addition, he has been a clinician/coordinator/conductor for guild events in 20 states.

Philip Roberts - Contact Phil

(Chicago, IL) Philip L. Roberts is a 27-year member of The Guild and lives near Chicago. He has 30 years of experience conducting handbell choirs of all ages in several Protestant traditions and also directs two community handbell ensembles. After a 20-year engineering career, Phil decided to fully pursue his passion—music—and returned to school fulltime earning a music degree. In December 1995 he was invited to direct handbell concerts for Hanukkah and Christmas festivities in Israel.

As the first handbell editor for GIA Publications, Inc., Phil has been the driving force in that company’s success publishing handbell music. He leads choral and handbell reading sessions nationally and is GIA’s handbell clinician giving him access to many handbell enthusiasts who are not Handbell Musicians of America members. He has over 20 published handbell works with six different publishers. Phil is married with one grandchild, two grown stepchildren, and a son in college.

Stephanie Rhoades -  Contact Stephanie

Stephanie Rhoades is the Conductor and Artistic Director of Concert Bells of Fort Worth, an auditioned community handbell ensemble of advanced ringers from the North Texas area. With a reputation as an effective and engaging teacher, she has been a clinician and guest conductor for numerous workshops and festivals, including the Presbyterian Worship and Music conferences at Mo-Ranch and Montreat, Baylor University’s Alleluia! Conference, and the Las Vegas Twelfth Night Handbell Festival.

Stephanie is Minister of Music and the Arts at Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, where she directs the adult and children’s vocal and handbell choirs.  Prior to working at Northaven, she taught lower elementary music at Parish Episcopal School in Dallas and served as Associate Director of Music at Grace Presbyterian Church in Plano.  She has a long history of serving on local and area boards.  She also teaches the course, “Handbells/Handchimes in the Community,” for the Handbell Musicians of America Certification Program.

An accomplished ringer, she was a member of the acclaimed Dallas Handbell Ensemble, directed by David R. Davidson, and has participated in Distinctly Bronze East and several Advanced Seminar Choirs.


Stephen Shorney - Contact Steve

(River Forest, IL) Stephen Shorney is an owner and vice president of sales and marketing for the Hope Publishing Company, where he has worked for 12 years. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business as well as strategic planning. He is involved at all levels of the Agape handbell catalog from production through distribution.

Steve is currently serving his third and final year as chair of the Handbell Industry Council (HIC). He has served on the board of the Music Publishers Association, where he chaired the Trade Relations Committee. He has served for 10 years on the executive committee of the Church Music Publishers Association and currently holds the office of president. He also serves on the finance committee of the Christian Century magazine. Steve lives in River Forest, Illinois, with his wife, Lisa, and two children, James (8) and Phoebe (3).



Jessica Westgard - Contact Jessica

(Fargo, ND) Jessica Westgard conducts handbell choirs at St. John Lutheran Church, Nativity Catholic Parish (both Fargo, North Dakota) and Concordia College (Moorhead, Minnesota). Jessica earned her BA in economics and German at Concordia College, where she also performed in the college’s handbell program during its founding years. She earned her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Mary, Bismarck, North Dakota, in 2004.

Jessica’s passion for serving AGEHR began in 2003, when she was appointed North Dakota sub-area chair for the Area VII board. She was elected to a leadership role in 2006 and recently completed her term as chair of the Area VII board.
In addition to her work in the handbell world, Jessica assumed ownership of her father’s financial services business upon his retirement in 2007. She is a financial advisor representing the Principal Financial Group®. She helps individuals and businesses manage risk while planning for growth in their financial lives.

Stephanie Wiltse - Contact Stephanie

(Grand Rapids, MI) Stephanie Wiltse has been ringing since 1983 and directing handbells since 1992. In 1995, Stephanie was one of the founders of the community group Embellish, and became Music Director of the group in 1999. In addition to Embellish, she currently directs adult handbell groups at LaGrave CRC and Trinity UMC, and student handbell ensembles at Aquinas College and Calvin College in Grand Rapids.

Stephanie’s introduction to The Guild was through participation as a ringer in festivals in Plymouth, Kalamazoo, Kent State, and Greencastle. She has chaired the Grand Rapids District of the Guild, organizing local handbell events and providing networking, leadership, and advice for local handbell directors over the years. She served on the committee for Pinnacle 2002 (Orlando) and 2004 (Dallas), chairing Dream Team auditions for both events.

Stephanie has served on several strategic planning, worship, and search committees at her church and has been a lay member of the United Methodist Annual Conference for the past 10 years. She has served as secretary of the Grand Rapids Bach Festival Board since its inception in 1996. Since 2002, she has been secretary of the St. Cecilia Music Center Artistic Advisory Committee, which chooses the performing artists for the yearly jazz, classical, and Great Artist series at St. Cecilia.

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