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
As always if anyone is interested
in joining the team please contact me for further information.
Yesterday we were given a copy of the book of this name
written by an American lady called Nancy Poore Tufts. I have only started
dipping into it but already have found a number of words of wisdom which I can
see myself quoting in a number of articles over the next few months.
Although the book was published in 1962 (before the birth of
our chairperson) many of the words still ring true.
In Chapter VI (Management and Policies of Handbell-Ringing Groups)
it suggests that the average handbell leader is a busy person. We are fortunate
to have found Clair who joined us only early last year and has taken on this
role under the new title of musical director.
The book suggests that she should be ably assisted and
relieved of the mechanics of operating the group by a dependable slate of officers.
These include a president or manager (in our case Jane, our
chair) who should check on the proper functioning of the other officers (I can
vouch for that!) and the care and maintenance of the bells.
There should also be a treasurer who collects our dues and makes collections
for special needs of the group. He should keep accounts of all the funds and
make regular reports to the membership. This is Roger who until 18 months ago
was the only gentlemen in our group. He is very efficient in carrying out all
Beyond this it is suggested we should have a publicity
manager to send notices to the press, broadcasters (are we getting ideas above
our station?), fans and sponsors and to maintain a scrap book. I suppose this
is much what I as secretary do.
The librarian should be responsible for having proper music
at rehearsals and readying it for concerts. This is a duty which has been
carried out by various members at different times by different members but now
is really the duty of Anne who also acts as our bookings secretary.
This all goes to prove however that even a small group such
as us does not run itself. However the final suggestion of a costume manager is
a step too far and we do appear to be capable of washing and ironing our own
Last year I organised a joint event for Hand and Tower Bell
ringers in the region. The event was a success and I was asked to arrange
another. I had thought it was going to be a one off!
This time we held the event in the hall adjacent Christ
Church,Ossett which although it does to have ringable bells is conveniently
situated close to a number of towers and the region's motorway network.
The advantage of doing an event for the second time is that
you can learn from your mistakes and successes. The morning gave people the
opportunity to learn new skills either tunes or changes (such as we normally
ring on tower bells) on handbells. In the afternoon the tower bell ringers
visted other towers and handbell ringers tried sight reading together under our
own musical director Clair. This was her first experience of conducting a wider
However the whole idea of the event was to give everyone to get together, swap
experiences and pick each others' brains for advice. It was pleasing to meet so
many tower bell ringers who are preparing to set up handbell gropus often with
The whole day was a great success and, although I did most of
the organisation, it would not have worked without the assistance of the
Biingley Hand and Tower Bell Ringers including those who helped with preparing
food, serving and clearing up, advertising, transporting the model bell and
generally setting up, particularly over the last couple of days. They will be
relieved to know however that it will be a few years before we organise such an
read the topical joke in one of our crackers as we celebrated our post
Christmas meal last night.
Christmas is our busiest time for performances we just do not have time to get
together and socialise and we have therefore traditionally had a post –
Christmas meal. Last year it was delayed until June by the floods but at least
this year we managed to meet up in January.
went to the Fisherman’s at Dowley gap where one of our band, Ashleigh, works.
This time she was on the customers’ side with us and not slaving away in the
kitchen. We had a lovely meal, a good catch up and a sneaky picture quiz
prepared by Pam. The hard work starts again next week with a practice on Monday
was busy and as well as local events we travelled as far as Clitheroe one
December afternoon to perform to an audience of nearly 100 at the U3A Christmas
meeting. We must have made a good impression because a relative of one of the
audience has contacted us already with another potential booking.
We hope you all enjoyed our playing at the
All Saints Carol Service – we felt it was one of our best performances.
If your New Year’s resolution is to try a
new hobby what about joining us in the vestry for handbells on Mondays or
Wednesdays even if it is just to see what goes on. There is no commitment to come back, but we
hope you will!
Solna Burnham (07884233382)
Bingley Handbell Ringers
– the answer is“Jingle Smells” – reminds
me of one of our favourite pieces