Martha Lynn Thompson


Martha Lynn Thompson was the Organist and Associate Director of Music at St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, from 1969 until her retirement in July 2002 when she was made Organist Emeritus. Her husband, Felix, was the Director of Music and jointly they directed the handbell program. Under their leadership, the St. James Music Ministry grew from 2 to 20 choirs, including 13 bell choirs. Prior to coming to St. James, Martha Lynn taught junior high school choral music and, with her husband, developed a graded choral and handbell program at the Methodist Children's Home in Little Rock.

Martha Lynn is a 1962 graduate of Henderson State University and, in recognition of her outstanding career achievements, in 2011 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the University bestows.

In 1989 she was elected American Guild of English Handbell Ringers National Secretary and for two years served on its Board of Directors. In 1995 she was given the status of Master Instructor of Handbell Notation, and in 2001 she was made an Honorary Life Member – the highest honor bestowed by the Guild.

Martha Lynn has many published arrangements and transcriptions that range from music for the beginning bell choir to music for the most advanced choirs. More than 20 of these arrangements may be found in the Choristers Guild catalog. Martha Lynn was a member of the Choristers Guild National Board from 1989-1995 and served as Secretary of the Board for several of those years.

In her retirement, as a volunteer, Martha Lynn continues to direct two handbell choirs at St. James UMC and to be active as an arranger of handbell music. In her “spare time” she also does free-lance music engraving.