Having just returned from a fabulous rally at Alton (Staffs) Village Hall hosted by Alton Handbell Ringers, to which I belong, I realise that it’s my turn to write a piece for the website!
Weather wasn’t brilliant as most of the day it was drizzling, but who cares what’s going on outside when so much fun was to be had indoors in the warm!
Planning for such an event began months ago. Booking the hall, the layout of tables for the bells, not forgetting the most important ingredients for such a day - lots of tea and the homemade buffet of course. (WI notes became quite useful when catering for over 70 people!!)
It is also a special year for our Alton team as we are celebrating our Silver Jubilee!! Josie offered to make and ice a cake to share. When Alan and Wendy cut the first slice everyone sang Happy Birthday!! We also played a special piece near the end of the day called “Celebration.”
Ten teams enrolled for the day from the West Midlands Area, NE Region and 3 ringers from the Brailsford Team in the East Midlands Area. Therefore some had quite a journey, consequently all arriving at approximately the same time and in need of the facilities and a cuppa before unloading all their equipment to set up in their allocated places.
As you can imagine there were various levels of experience (a few months to many years!) and various sizes of teams from “Tintinabulus” (2 players ringing “Four in Hand” WOW!) to the BIG “Sunday 5 Octave Workshop”! I love the sound of those deep bass bells!)
Such a variety of styles and techniques were also on display when each team rang their “own choice” pieces in timed slots throughout the day.
Guest conductors Tim Willets (Chairman of HRGB) and Jason Walker (Secretary of the WM Region of HRGB) were also “on the baton” for two massed ringing items for which all participants had received copies a few months ago to prepare. (“Reverie” arranged by Michael Helman and Jason’s own arrangement of “To God be the Glory”).
Then there was “Ringing from Scratch” where Richard Hartnell (Vice Chairman of the WM Region of HRGB) picked up the baton and gave out a piece we’d never seen before!!
All three were very strict with us but what a fantastic sound we achieved (with fun) the more they nagged!!!
Oh, and I mustn’t forget the Chinese Raffle!! What a great way to do a raffle with no fuss, no bother and much quicker than usual!!
Thanks to everyone who came and a big thank you to our extra slaves in the kitchen. All contributing to making it a great day that we shall talk about for a long time!!
Sarah Williams 3.10.16
Photo by Alan Walters