Ringers

Meet our talented team of handbell ringers!

Matt Arnold
Matt began ringing handbells in 2006, and it has been an important part of his life ever since. He attended Baylor University, where he studied computer science and was a member of the Baylor Bronze as well as the Baylor University Men’s Choir and the Golden Wave Band. Matt currently works as a software engineer for The Home Depot. In his free time, Matt enjoys cycling, spending time with friends, and playing or watching soccer.
Amy Berg
Amy teaches music at Grace Academy in Georgetown. On Sunday mornings she plays piano at Hope Lutheran Church in Cedar Park. Amy joined AHE in 2003, but she has rung bells since 1986. She grew up in Michigan, attended college in Minnesota, and has lived in Wisconsin, Austin, and Pflugerville. Amy's favorite hobby is making music with her husband Stephen.
Susan Geist
Treasurer
Susan joined AHE in Fall 2016 after returning to Austin from North Carolina. She began ringing in 2006, and was most recently a member of the HUMRingers handbell choir in Raleigh, NC, where she also taught preschool handbell classes at an early learning center. She’s a planner by trade, having worked in both highway and airport planning, and currently works for the federal government creating economic development plans for disadvantaged areas. When not ringing or working, Susan enjoys traveling, hiking, playing guitar, and spending time with her husband and two young sons.
Colin Gilligan
Marketing Team
Colin is Vice President of Media & Planning at Archer Malmo, one of the largest independent advertising agencies in the country, where he has worked since 2009. Colin studied marketing at The University of Texas at Austin's Red McCombs School of Business. Serving as AHE's Treasurer in 2011, he joined the ensemble as a ringer in 2012. An active member at First Baptist Church, Colin serves on the Communications Committee, rings handbells, and sings with the choir. In June 2012, he joined the Avant family band and married the love of his life, Elizabeth. In May 2016, he and Elizabeth welcomed their first child, a beautiful baby girl, future ringer, and granddaughter of the Director.
Elizabeth Avant Gilligan
Assistant Director, Concert Coordinator, and Marketing Team
Elizabeth is Austin-born and a graduate of The University of Texas with a Bachelor of Music in Choral Studies. She taught elementary music for six years. Elizabeth is very involved in First Baptist Church – ringing handbells, singing in three choirs and teaching a children's choir. Elizabeth joined AHE in 2010 and yes, she is related to the director and the other Marketing Team member! She and Colin welcomed their beautiful first child, daughter Carys, in May 2016.
Alyson Gindler
Alyson comes from a musical family and background, having played multiple instruments throughout the years, including piano, violin and cello. However, flute and piccolo is where she finally found a home, and she played happily there all through college as a member of The Longhorn Band at The University of Texas. After moving to Georgetown, she discovered handbells at FUMC and has been ringing off and on there for over fifteen years. Alyson currently works as an RN for a consulting firm on a large project for the state of Texas. In between work and ringing, she is completing her Master’s degree in Healthcare Informatics, reading for pleasure, and hanging out at the ranch with her family.
Chuck Hesse
Chuck has been a member of AHE since 1997. He began ringing in junior high school in Corpus and has been a member of numerous choirs over the years. He is the Business Manager at New Hope Health Care during the day, but he spends nights and weekends working as a House Manager at both the UT Performing Arts Center and the Long Center for the Performing Arts. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, hanging out with friends, and taking classes in a wide range of subjects. He also has five very spoiled, wonderful rescue dogs that he loves unashamedly.
Patty Highland
Patty was an original member of AHE, and, after an extended break, she is happy to be back ringing with AHE. Patty has been ringing or directing bells since middle school. Patty is the Director of Music Ministries at Lake Travis United Methodist Church, directing both handbell and vocal ensembles. She serves as Chair Elect on the Area 9 board of Handbell Musicians of America. She is also busy as a piano accompanist, accompanying ballet classes at a local dance studio, or accompanying local school choirs and young musicians. Patty is married to David, and they have two wonderful children.

David Martin
David is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and Northern Illinois University, where he studied Composition and Conducting. He has served in Church Music Ministry for over 20 years. Enjoying handbells since his college days, David has directed a number of church bell choirs over the years. As a composer and an arranger, David has published two handbell pieces. David and his wife Sonya have four children, all of whom have developed into fine young musicians.
Lauren McBane
Lauren wanted to play handbells ever since she discovered there was such an instrument; however, she was not able to fulfill her dream until 2011, when she joined the handbell beginner choir at Lilburn First Baptist Church. That one choir multiplied and Lauren found herself recruited to ring with the Atlanta Concert Ringers in 2015. She moved to Austin in 2016 for her new husband, Sean, to begin PhD studies at UT. Although she graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2015 with a degree in Classical Civilizations, she currently works at DSW Shoes, as Classicists aren't in particularly high demand. When not ringing or working, she enjoys cooking, cross stitching, reading, and spending time with her husband.
Sean McBane
Sean grew up in a family with a musical tradition – his grandfather was a church music director, his grandmother was the organist, and his father is a violist in the Atlanta Symphony. He started taking piano lessons at seven years old and continued his piano studies through high school; he currently is the pianist at South Austin Presbyterian Church. Sean earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 2016 and moved to Austin to work towards a PhD in Computational Science, Engineering, and Math at UT. He played handbells for several years in middle and high school with future wife Lauren and is excited to get to play again after several years' hiatus.

Jaynette Odegaard
Jaynette has rung with AHE since 2012 when she moved from Minnesota to Texas. Jaynette grew up in Utah, went to school in California, and moved to Minnesota, where her two boys were born. Jaynette works as the Accounting/Payroll Technician with the City of Pflugerville, where she lives with her husband Michael, her two boys David and TJ, and her black lab Angel. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, reading, playing the piano, and going for walks.

Alice Sears
Secretary
Alice joined AHE in 2013, although she has been playing handbells since she was 8. She has found a choir to play in or sub with in every place she has lived—Hong Kong, Utah, Ohio, and now Texas. She has performed handbells in 10 different countries through attending international handbell symposiums and other overseas travels. She also enjoys playing the piano and sings alto in her church choir. She received her degree from Brigham Young University in Special Education and taught a kindergarten class for kids with Autism before having her first child. She now has 4 children (and two cats) with whom she stays at home while her husband works hard attending UT to get a PhD in the Old Testament.

Laura Teinert
Laura joined AHE in Fall 2011 after ten years of playing in church handbells. Her musical background also includes flute, bassoon, and drumline. Laura has bachelor of accounting and master of business administration degrees from Western Governors University Texas and works in commercial real estate accounting. She enjoys Longhorns Baseball, knitting, sci-fi, and her Mustang GT. She lives in Round Rock with her three cats: Kara, Kaylee, and Karl.
Amy Whiteaker
President
After learning to play handbells with the Baron Ringers at Brewton-Parker College in Georgia, Amy fell in love with handbells and was thrilled to join AHE in 2013. She moved to Austin to attend graduate school at UT in 2006 and has lived here for ever since. She currently stays at home with her young children, but will return to teaching science when they are older. Amy loves to travel. She has backpacked around Europe and she lived in Prague for seven months while teaching English as a Second Language.