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News November 2017

2017 NewsPosted by Solna Burnham Fri, November 03, 2017 12:42:07

How time flies! I have realised that b the time articles are submitted for the next issue of the magazine Christmas and the new year celebrations will have come and gone! I will have plenty to report on then! The highlight will of course be our appearance at the All Saints Carol Service.

In the meantime we have continued to be busy,

Only a few short weeks ago a new ringer called Diane joined us. She had previously played handbells in the Philippines before she moved to Yorkshirre and had found our details on the internet. She has been regularly travelling all the way from Clayton to our practicesand has now joined us for two performances – talk about being thrown in at the deep end!

On 12th October we took 2 octaves of bells to Baildon where we played for the Parkinsons Group of which our Roger is a member. They made us very welcome and many of them enjoyed playing with us at the end of our performance.

Only two days later we were at Oxenhope as one of the many turns in a fund raising musical evening. Because of all our equipment we performed first but our space was needed straight afterwards so we had to pack up in record time of less than 5 minutes. The other acts were varied including young piano players, a choir and irish folk singers and we enjoyed sitting back to watch them afterwards.

At the end of October we were at the West Yorkshire mini rally to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the North East region of Handbell Ringers at Sowerby Bridge. Because this was only a small rally we had more opportunities than usual to ring both as part of the massed ringing and just as our group which made it a very enjoyable day. We returned with plenty of tips for improving our playing from experienced conductors and musical directors.

News October 2017

2017 NewsPosted by Solna Burnham Mon, October 09, 2017 10:21:05

It has been a quiet month - a good one to prepare for the Christmas rush!

Last week a group of us polished all the bells so they will look shine through all our performances over the festive season.

This year saw the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain AND the 40th anniversary of the first meeting of the North East Region of HRGB so it has been quite a celebration.

We celebrated our regional birthday back at Grassington in May with a packed rally attended by many groups including some that had never been to a rally before.

There national celebrations will include a large regional rally in Sheffield on the same day as those in other regions. Technology permitting the rallies will all link up together and free food and cake will be available.

Because not everyone can make it to this event there will also be mini rallies in each part of our large region. Our Western one will be at Sowerby Bridge which is conveniently not far from us.

The real stars of the birthday celebrations have been the Jubilee Bears. Every region (or in our case part of a region) was given a bear at the National Rally in April and the plan was for them to visit every band during the next six months.

Our bear started its journey at Leeds in April and travelled via all parts of our area to reach Ryburn, the hosts, at Sowerby Bridge in October with photo opportunities at each stop!

News September 2017

2017 NewsPosted by Solna Burnham Mon, September 11, 2017 14:11:14

Over the last month we seem to have travelled as far North and as far South as ever before for a performance.

In August we performed for a group of over 70s in Holmfirth. They provided us with a very welcome lunch and then 8 of us played a number of pieces for them.

In September we were able to take all three octaves to entertain the ladies of Hampsthwaite W I near Harrogate. We were concerned that due to summer holidays the whole band had not practised together for some time but it all was “alright on the night”.

Although both venues were geographically far apart the performances were very similar. Both were in spacious, well equipped halls with plenty of tables so we did not have to supply our own. Both groups provided us with tasty food and drink (the way to a handbell ringer’s heart is through her stomach!). More importantly when we had finished playing our pieces we offered the audience a chance to have a go and in both instances they were very enthusiastic and almost too many of them wanted to have a go resulting in some very creditable renditions of our pieces.

The journeys to both locations took us less time than we anticipated and we even managed to dodge the rain showers as we unloaded and reloaded the cars. However we have realised that Friday afternoons are particularly busy on the roads of West Yorkshire and whichever route we tried back from Holmfirth we met a queue of traffic – maybe we should stay at home on Fridays in the future!

Normally we would now be starting to practice our Christmas music, but this year we have bookings through October and November to prepare for first. Our diaries are certainly getting busier and we are always on the lookout for new recruits.

Don’t forget anyone who is interested is welcome to visit one of our Monday or Wednesday evening rehearsals in the vestry to see what handbell ringing is all about.



Farewell to tower and handbell ringer - John Nixon

2017 NewsPosted by Roger Pollard Thu, August 03, 2017 18:43:09

In late summer 2015 a new person appeared, without announcement, at a Tuesday night practice. Little did we know then how significant a part of the ringing teams John Nixon would become, nor did we foresee how fond we would all become of him or how soon we would be saying our sad farewells following his death in early July this year. John was a very experienced ringer and brought over 63 years of ringing experience with him. John came that evening to ring tower bells, but by the end of the evening, and after a visit to the pub, we also found out he rang hand bells. So the very next evening, there he was at his first hand bell practice! We were very grateful for his experience and commitment both as a tower bell ringer and as a hand bell ringer.

In just short of two years John supported the teams ringing for Sunday Services, weddings and other community events. One of his greatest pleasures was conducting the “Firing of the Bells” in October 2016 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the opening of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. This enabled John to combine two of his greatest interests; bell ringing and Canal and River Trust involvement. John’s retirement meant he was no longer involved in active church ministry and so he was also able to be a great support to the Hand Bell Team as they often rang during weekday afternoons to entertain people at various local retirement and care homes.

John had a confident and very pleasant character and was never backward in encouraging ringers to push the boundaries of what they were capable of in bell ringing terms. He also very quickly became involved in the social side of bell ringing life, be that tower or hand bells. John’s interests often matched that of other retired male ringers in the tower and their anecdotes of older men misbehaving on various “Industrial Archaeology” jaunts, often entertained us in the pub after ringing practice.

We felt it very fitting that not only did John’s funeral include a fulfilment of his wish for the tenor bell to be rung 79 times as his coffin was brought into All Saints; that is once for each year of his life, but it also included the theme tune from “Last of the Summer Wine”, enabling us to smile and remember the lighter side of our too brief relationship with him. He will be missed and remembered by both the tower and hand bell teams at All Saints.



Clair conducts at the Grassington Rally

2017 NewsPosted by Roger Pollard Tue, June 27, 2017 13:26:48
Our musical director Clair took centre stage at the Grassington Rally when she conducted the massed ringing. Click on the link to see and hear more.




June 2017

2017 NewsPosted by Solna Burnham Wed, June 07, 2017 09:41:07

At the end of May we attended the regional Spring Rally in Grassington. This was a particularly well attended event as it involved the celebration of 40 years of modern handbell ringing in the North East. The region was formed following a rally in Selby in 1977 and many of the original participants were at the celebration.

There were so many people there that we had to share our bells with some ladies from Market Weighton for the massed ringing when everyone rings together. One of these pieces was conducted by our musical director Clair who is fast becoming a regional superstar.

Our performances of our own pieces also went well and congratulations to Renee on her first public outing. She did so well having only been with us for just over a month.

It clearly did not put her off and she performed again with us at the beginning of June when we played for the Silsden friendship group. This is a new club which meets monthly in the building next to the Catholic Church in Silsden. Although many of their members come from the church it is not exclusivly Catholicand there were other people from the locality some of whom were attending their first meeting of the group. I have noticed over the years how many groups there are that meet on an afternoon for a cuppa, chat and some entertainment. There is no excuse for any retired person to say there is nothing for them to do!

Our performance went well with Roger’s compering that he has got down to a fine art. If we need extra time for bell or music changes he has no problem talking on longer! Afterwards a number of the audience joined us to have a go and a very creditable performance of Grandfather’s Clock followed.

Don’t forget anyone who is interested is welcome to visit one of our Monday or Wednesday evening rehearsals in the vestry to see what handbell ringing is all about.



May 2017

2017 NewsPosted by Solna Burnham Wed, May 10, 2017 08:37:45

We have spent April and May preparing for one of the main events of the year – the regional Spring Rally in Grassington.

This event has been hald in the same venue for many years and gives us an opportunity to ring bells together with other groups in what is called massed ringing.

We also prepare and ring two or three pieces on our own which we have practiced over the preceeding weeks. This would all be relatively simple if the whole band intending to attend Grassington were available every week!

However due to holidays, illnesses, work and other unavoidable events this has not been possible and other people have had to stand in at each rehearsal. However slowly it is all coming together and as I write this we are preparing for a final practice.

We have acquired another new member since my last notes, Renee, and she has (as often seems to be the way in our group) been thrown in the deep end. She will be taking part in the rally only a month or so after joining the group! We are still looking for new members – anyone is welcome to visit one of our Monday or Wednesday evening rehearsals in the vestry to see what it is all about.

Solna Burnham
07884 233382



Spring 2017

2017 NewsPosted by Solna Burnham Fri, April 07, 2017 04:09:57

The hand bell ringers have had a busy spring season, with three small concerts using the 2 octave set of bells. As these events often take place during the working day we are very lucky to find at least eight members able to give their time to perform.

Firstly, made a return visit to Crossflatts Over 50’s Club at St Aiden’s Court at the beginning of March. It is always nice to be asked back to a venue, and Crossflatts is a regular engagement for us now.Then a visit to Aire Valley Court on St Patrick’s Day, this was a new venue for us and we were very well received by a large group of residents who were in good voice, and joined the sing along to some of our tunes, appropriately including Oh Danny Boy…..! This was followed by refreshments and a chance for the audience to have a go on the bells.

Finally, another new venue on 4th April when we visited Riddlesden Rest Home and entertained the residents and staff. This was the first performance for Hilary, our most recent recruit. No doubt she was nervous, but it didn’t show and she rang very well after just a handful of practice sessions with us.

Looking ahead we are now preparing for two Handbell Ringers of Great Britain events, at Grassington in May, and Headingley in June. HRGB is 50 years old in 2017 so some special pieces of music have been written for the occasion, we will now concentrate on these pieces at our practice sessions and hopefully perform them later in the year.

As always if anyone is interested in joining the team please contact me for further information.

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