Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Bells!

 Photo: from the Clifton Handbell Ringers Site

Had a really good evening. Our barbershop chorus were singing at a convert at Thornhill Parish Church near Wakefield. On the bill with us were the Clifton Village Handbell Ringers. The were superb! There were eight bell ringers with 140 bells laid out on a large table. This approach to playing is unique to Yorkshire, we were told. The bells cost £30,000. What a lovely sound they make. I'd love to have a go. The music is very intricate and the coordination required to play it is amazing, but as long as you can read music a bit, you can learn to play quite quickly. The largest bells, played by the men, are surprisingly heavy. Pieces they played included Zadok the Priest, The Snowman (Walking in the Air) and Troika.

Anyway, they have a sample of their playing on their web site. Here's a bit about their history from the site:

"The team of 8 play off a square table using the traditional Yorkshire “off the table” style of ringing. They have been successful at a number of music festivals in the North of England and they entertain a wide variety of audiences as well as ringing at Christmas raising money for charity. In 1996 the Clifton Village Handbell Ringers represented their country at an International Symposium of Handbell ringing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The team was invited to demonstrate Yorkshire handbell ringing at its best by the national body of Handbell Ringers (HRGB). This type of conference is organised every 2 years and in past years has been hosted by Korea, Australia and Canada."


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