Mr. Shane Kennedy is the Director for the Heritage Ringers. A native of Folly Beach, South Carolina, Shane’s first experience with handbells was in 1985 at his home church, Ft. Johnson Baptist, in nearby Charleston, in a combined youth and adult choir that rang for just a couple of years on a 3-octave set of Schulmerich bells.
He didn’t see bells again until 1993 as a new member of Atlanta’s Peachtree Presbyterian Church. Having rung for a couple of years using only the standard bell-ringing technique, Shane was fascinated by all the slamming, slapping, slinging and malleting of the bells by Peachtree’s choirs, along the mesmerizing white and black handles indicative of a 5-octave set of Malmark handbells. He joined the evening adult handbell choir in 1994 and soon became a student under Marlene Anderson, then-director of Peachtree’s bell program. Within a year, Shane became Ms. Anderson’s assistant director with the youth handbell choir at Peachtree, preparing them for their annual summer music tour, and got his first experience ringing in a quartet. Three years later, after Ms. Anderson’s departure, Shane became the director of the youth handbells at Peachtree and started his own youth bell quartet, directing these groups on the annual summer tours and culminating in 2002 with the release of the Peachtree Handbell Quartet’s one and only CD.
In 2002, he arrived in Huntsville, AL as the new Worship & Fine Arts Associate at Trinity United Methodist Church, a career change to full-time music ministry following a decade of mundane employment as an accountant for the State of Georgia. At Trinity, Shane oversaw the handbell program which included two adult choirs, one youth choir, and the locally famous Trinity Handbell Quartet, whose members include fellow heritage ringers Chad Rutherford and Caroline Higgins.
Shane joined the Heritage Ringers in the fall of 2002 after then-director Jim Rogers surreptitiously auditioned him while claiming he just wanted an extra hand to “re-voice the bell set.” He became President of the Heritage Ringers in 2010, and also Assistant Director for the 2011-2012 season.
Shane earned a Master’s Degree of music in vocal performance and church music from Belmont University in Nashville in 2008. He is a member of the Handbell Musicians of America, and has served as a festival coordinator and clinician for local handbells festivals sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Handbell Association. Shane enjoys singing classical tenor repertoire, especially baroque, playing keys and singing with Trinity’s contemporary praise bands, participating in local theater, doing accurate impersonations of professors, supervisors and other authority figures, listening to the Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist angels in his head constantly debating theology, cycling when the weather is warm, and following NASCAR’S cup series. Musically, he is most proud of his membership in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus from 1998-2002, and the 4 Grammy awards the chorus won during that period.