Bingley Handbells News

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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.

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.

March News

2017 NewsPosted by Solna Burnham Wed, March 08, 2017 10:58:59

The Art of Handbell Ringing

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 his duties.

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 polo shirts!

February News

2017 NewsPosted by Solna Burnham Tue, February 07, 2017 15:26:15

Joint event January 28th 2017

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 group.

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 young children.

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 event again!

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