KR Auditions For Music and Artistic Director

After more than 37 years, we are sad to announce the retirement of Janet Van Valey, Founder and Director of The Kalamazoo Ringers.  Janet is also well known for her many years of service to Handbell Musicians of America as an educator, as a clinician, and for her leadership at multiple organizational levels.

~ As one door closes another opens ~


                The Kalamazoo Ringers

Music and Artistic Director Search


Do you shine in front of a crowd? Do you exhibit the decorum befitting the public face of an accomplished music group? Do you love making music with dedicated volunteer musicians? The Kalamazoo Ringers’ beloved founder and Music Director, Janet VanValey, is retiring after 37 years of dedication to The Kalamazoo Ringers (KR). You may think that KR has some pretty big shoes to fill and you may be right. But KR’s members unanimously voted to continue as stewards to the handbell community and with that decision, a new director will be selected to start September 4th for the 2018-19 season. The Kalamazoo Ringers are not just a community-based, independent musical ensemble. They are an advanced (bronze level) choir and part of a national musical organization – The Handbell Musicians of America who have the motto of “Uniting people through a musical art”.


Job Description:

  • Primary conductor and artistic leader for live and recorded performances (approximately 8 per year)
  • Responsible for selection of repertoire, and overall musical judgments (including edits, additions, deletions, interpretations, rearranging of and scripting for that music)
  • Responsible for rehearsals including finalizing ringing positions and assignments
  • Works in conjunction with the elected officers in regards to matters such as personnel, and annual budget
  • Presents all invitations to the full choir for acceptance and negotiates concert fees, with a fee scale being approved by the full choir
  • Selects section leaders, substitute ringers, guest musicians, and guest conductors
  • Sets musical goals; members are expected to use all the tools provided to them to reach those goals
  • Attends handbell festivals, conferences, and other workshops to further enhance their leadership and handbell ringing skills
  • The Music Director will be paid an annual stipend, the amount to be approved by a majority vote of the membership, and will be as specified in an Employment Agreement



A successful bronze level handbell Music Director possesses a special set of skills/qualifications.

  • Experience programming and hosting music programs
  • Dynamic public speaking
  • In-depth knowledge of music
  • Ability to effectively recruit, train, and lead musicians
  • Proficient in at least one performance area, such as keyboard, organ, choral or voice
  • Strive to continually learn the growing art of handbell playing and music
  • Music degree and prior handbell ringing and/or directing experience
  • Minimum five years musical directing experience


Preferred skills:

  • Knowledge and skill in directing and teaching handbell choirs
  • Good communication, organizational, and follow-through skills
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Self-motivated, efficient, and creative
  • Ability in wide range of style including Christian classics (hymns) but with a focus on contemporary music.
  • Dependable, decisive, open-minded, and self-motivated.



Individuals, meeting the necessary qualifications and who share KR’s vision, are encouraged to apply.


Send cover letter and résumé to:

Kalamazoo Ringers Advisory Committee

5393 Woodrush Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Or via email:

Please Submit your Application by March 5th 2018