Cheadle Animal Welfare concert

Cheadle Guild Hall

On Friday 19th April 2024 in Cheadle Guild Hall,  our full team of ringers along with the U3A Ukelele Band performed a varied collection of music and song in aid of Cheadle Animal Welfare. Although the two groups of performers out numbered the audience we were very well received.

We opened the evening performing pieces including a Gavot, My Favourite Things from the Sound of Music and Resound and Rejoice which was written specially for handbells.

The Ukelele group played next with a variety of tunes many of which we could sing along to as they had supplied the audience with the words.

After the interval and raffle each group played again, in this half we played pieces including God's Train, My Heart Will Go On from the film Titanic and Shepherd's Hey which is a piece played entirely using mallets to hit the bells which creates a different sound. 

The Ukelele group ended the evening with more tunes  to sing along to and we joined them for a final piece where we played hand chimes to accompany them and the audience singing Side By Side.

A lovely evening of musical entertainment and hopefully made a good sum of money for Cheadle Animal Welfare.


The Hermitage Residential Home

On Tuesday 9th April we visited The Hermitage Residential Home to play a variety of tunes for the residents.  These included some old time  favourites, some hymns and we finished with  what we refer to as ‘The Proms Selection’ which included Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music and Rule Britannia. This section always seems to be very popular and it was lovely to hear them singing along.

It was a pleasure to ring our handbells to such a lovely and appreciative audience and we thoroughly enjoyed their company.

Beryl Forrester

HRGB National Rally

AHR at Swanwick

5th, 6th & 7th April

This year’s National Rally was held at the Hayes Conference Centre at Swanwick in Derbyshire, so pretty close to home.  Seven of us planned to go, including Peter and Hilary – National Rally first timers. We were therefore delighted when we were asked by the West Midlands Region if we would represent the region in the Saturday evening concert.  We accepted, though with some trepidation – playing in front of more than 100 of our peers… Initially there were some problems with the attendance at the concert for those team members who weren’t going to the whole rally, but once that was ironed out, we could start planning our repertoire.

Wendy decided on two pieces that we were very familiar and confident with – Resound and Rejoice by American handbell composer Jason Krug, and Highland Cathedral by Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb, arranged by Julie Turner and Kevin McChesney, the latter being one of our favourites.  The third (middle) piece was I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say, a beautiful interpretation of the English folk tune Kingsfold by Cathy Moklebust from the arrangement by Ralph Vaughan Williams, which we had been working and improving on, and which would form a quieter interlude.

The rally itself had a different format from usual, starting with informal rally ringing by a few teams on Friday evening. On Saturday, everyone was assigned two ringing workshops according to their (self-declared) ability and two others, with the national AGM in the early afternoon.

After dinner, we took our places in the ‘concert hall’ to await the time of our performance, which was in the middle of the evening, though we were initially daunted by the thought of ringing after the Dronfield team!  But we took a collective deep breath and rang very well, to everyone’s great relief. We were complimented on the variety and range of our music and the contrast of our pieces, which was lovely.  Thank you, Wendy!

On Sunday there was massed ringing for everyone with three different conductors.  The first was Reflection on Finlandia, arranged and conducted by Malcolm Wilson, the second was Blues for Bells, composed by Robin Benton, and conducted by Linda McCord (this proved quite challenging!), and finally Psalm, a lovely arrangement of Crimond by Sandra Winter, who also conducted it. 

Our thanks to the HRGB North West Region for organising a great weekend (though they could have arranged some slightly better weather), and we look forward to traveling south to Milton Keynes next year, when the East Anglian Region takes up the annual challenge.

Lindsay Trevarthen

HRGB Rally at Areley Kings

Sporting new polo shirts at Areley Kings

Saturday 23rd March 2024

It was an early start for 8 members of the Alton Handbell ringers team as we headed down to Worcestershire to attend the Areley Kings rally, armed with the Haythorne bells, chimes and our packed lunches.
There was an excellent turnout of just over 50 ringers, but we all managed to squeeze into a modern, warm and well lit hall (an important feature after our candle lit performance at Christmas!)
All the ringing sessions were ably led by Jason, who was encouraging throughout and proved to be an excellent conductor, equal to the usual high standard provided by our own conductor, Wendy, who was able to join in the ringing for once.
We started by working on “Bring him home”, a piece adapted for hand bells from Les Mis, which was quite a challenging piece, or so we thought until we had a go at English Country Garden and then the high speed rate of Variations on Strawberry Fair, with numerous key, timing and speed changes. 
However, throughout the day, we did improve, although at 1pm when we were asked if we were happy to continue practising until 1.15 as per the schedule, there was a resounding call for an early lunch!
Interspersed throughout the day were team pieces from Areley Kings, Wellington, Oranges and Lemons, Harvington, Knighton, Burghill & Tillington, Tintinnabulis and ourselves. We performed My Heart Will Go On from Titanic and Chime Lullaby, both of which went quite well, if not perfectly.
We finished by performing all three mass pieces, which definitely sounded much improved from attempt number one in the morning. 
We were provided with more tea and huge quantities of cake by the ever hospitable Areley Kings hosts and left in lovely afternoon sunshine to head home.
This was only my second rally, but it was hugely enjoyable and so encouraging to see the wide range of ages (from 11 to 80s) sharing time and music together on equal terms, the future of hand bell ringing looks bright.

Hilary Dowson


St Peter's, Ellastone Christmas Concert

Ellastone Church

Friday 15th December

We were made very welcome at St Peter's Church, Ellastone for a Christmas concert. Thankfully the power stayed on and we had light for the whole concert, unlike in Alton Village Hall. We played a selection of non-Christmas and Christmas music finishing with We Wish You A Merry Christmas with the audience singing along.