AHR Team with Stephen Threlfall, Director of Music, Chethams Music School, just before the performance began.
Heavenly Handbell Ringers - impressions of the experience...
1. Sue Robins 8.7.18
Excited - to be asked to ring
Terror - are we good enough !
Courage - of course we can.
Practice - quite a difficult piece.
Apprehension - what are we letting ourselves in for.
Comfort - Wendy not conducting .... no comfort blanket !!
Confidence - we’ve got it. We can do it.
Conductor - builder of confidence
Enjoyment - such an honour to be part of the performance with so many talented youngsters.
Elated- we gave it our best and were complimented on our ringing.
Lesson - have confidence. We can do it.
2. Jean Reilly 11.7.18
What an amazing day! One of the best adventures you can ever imagine. Team spirit was filtering through to all of us as though we were one.
Inside the cathedral it was fascinating to see the hard work and dedication of all the cast and helpers in the Noyes Fludde team behind the scenes. They were so calm, focused and committed to complete their preparations.
We were welcomed soon after we entered the cathedral with, “Hello you lovely ladies!” What a boost!
The conductor, Stephen Threlfall* was a very friendly and pleasant man who took us under his wing. He praised and advised us and gave us the push to jump in at the deep end, which we did feet first!
Cathy Lamb* was very welcoming and generously gave us the use of her house to rest, change and get ready for the evening performance.
We practised and practised right up to the very last minute. With Rowena’s* help and encouragement she gave us the confidence to feel prepared for the performance.
Being on stage, poised and ready, was nerve wracking but we were also excited, with adrenaline flowing like a fountain. It was mind-blowing, everyone together, music, percussion, singing, Noah speaking! We were in a parallel universe where exciting things were happening and we were part of it. At crucial times we lost sight of Stephen conducting but, unfazed, we carried on ringing our own version of the score in front of us.
At the finish, rapturous applause echoed through the Cathedral. What a high!
It was a truly fantastic day, which I would not have missed for the world, but most of all I felt very privileged to be part of the whole experience.
*Stephen Threlfall (Director of Music and Head of Vocal, Chetham’s School of Music).
*Cathy Lamb (Director of Lichfield Cathedral Young Voices).
*Rowena Dawson (Visiting Member of the Inn Ringers Handbell Team).
3. Lynne Croxall 13.7.18
It was such a privilege to be invited to play during the performance of Noye’s Fludde, and just a little nerve wracking!
To play in such a great cathedral, with a hugely talented young orchestra, and professional singers was indeed daunting. There was a pressure to perform well in front of so many in the audience, and the piece was difficult.
However, this was an amazing experience which I will never forget. Playing handbells has indeed opened new doors, and enabled shared me to share such occasions with new friends. We were treated with such kindness by everyone, and such patience by the conductor!
It was a truly great and memorable evening!
4. Sue Fraser 14.7.18
Taking part in Britten’s ‘Noye’s Fludde’ was the experience of a lifetime, never to be forgotten, and made more special by the kindness of everyone, both those working behind the scenes and the performers, who made us feel we were truly part of the whole team. We were also hugely encouraged by Rowena Dawson, who gave freely of her time to coach and ring with us.
We were warmly welcomed by Cathy Lamb, on Thursday into the Great Hall of Lichfield School of Music for our first rehearsal, and on Saturday into the Cathedral itself for the Dress Rehearsal and later the Performance. Cathy had already come to Alton for a special practice with us, so that we would know exactly how our bells fitted into the composition. Stephen Threlfall, who conducted the work, shared with us his skill and musical wisdom, supporting us all the way through. We greatly appreciated this as Britten’s music is difficult and extremely challenging for us.
The powerful music rolled through the cathedral and soared up to the ornately carved roof. As the storm built, so did the tension and excitement. The delicate dances of the Raven and Dove led into the rejoicing after the flood, when Alleluia, sung by the children, alerted us to be ready to ring out our bells in joy. The cathedral resounded to the magnificence of the orchestras, the choirs and the hundreds of voices of the audience. It was deeply moving, even overwhelming, and we were privileged to add the tones of our bells to the glorious sound.