It is a sad fact that many groups of handbell ringers are becoming short of members either on odd occasions or even every day for practices. In our own case we have lost of number of members over the last year or so due to death, illness, moving home or family problems.
We now have enough ringers for the full 3 Octave set if ALL our ringers turn up. So with this in mind we are practicing more 2 octave music and have been trying 12 bell music. In addition a group of our ringers attended a workshop in March to learn how to ring 4 in hand (4 bells at one time). All these give us more options but sometimes even these are not enough.
We rang for a partially sighted group in Ilkley in April and as this was in the middle of the working day we could not raise enough of our own ringers. However we were kindly joined by two experienced ringers from North Leeds who attended our practice one day and performed with us the next day. Clair and Diane from our band were then able to return the favour by practising and performing with the same band, Treble 8, at the regional rally in Grassington in May. Not only does it help on the day but it also gives us more ideas to share and pass on. With this in mind we hope to arrange more small rallies within the region to encourage future co-operation.
On 3nd June 6 of us (using the new 12 bell music) rang at the first of the town council markets in Bingley. We have always from past experience said that we would not ring outside but we were promised a gazebo and an amplifier so we decided to give it another chance. The day actually went well and the gazebo kept the bells dry even if our feet were literally standing in a stream running across the market place following over 12 hours of heavy rain! We are now looking at purchasing our own amplifiers and have offered to perform at another of these markets.
It just goes to prove that we should not stand still, but should be open to new ideas!
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.