Monday, 24 December 2012

Handbell Ringing in Potterne Church

We played at the carol service in Potterne Church last night, and very nice it sounded too!   We played a selection of well know carols, together with "The Skater's Waltz" which we played without a single mistake, and also "The Little Drummer Boy," which with  its  top notes  played alone, give the piece a very Chrismassy tinkle.  To the left is Mike holding bells F and G, while I hold A and B, the lower notes and big bells of course.  There is a knack to ringing, one of which is to get the bell the right way up in the correct hand.  The other is to make a quickish flick of the wrist when lifting the bell, so that the striker hits the side of the bell crisply. An ablility to count to 3 or 4 also helps,  as each of our notes is marked in a colour, and much concentration is needed to come in at the right place.  If you have nothing to play from the start until you reach  bar 49, you have to count every previous bar up to that point.   Being busy, with a note in every bar, does make life a lot easier!

My three bells are A, A# and B, and sound the bass line of any melody.  Below you can see a detail of the striker, a felt covered clanger, that strikes the side of the bell when correctly struck.  We all make mistakes, the funniest being having your bells in the wrong hands, when, of course, the music sounds really comical!

These bells were cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, and our four octave set were very expensive, and very heavy to carry!   Last night we had to carry our equipment from the village hall to the church, and we all trudged, heavily ladened across a main road,  to set our tables and bells in the church, ready for playing from 5pm until  6pm when the service started.   It is great fun playing handbells with such a lovely group of people.  I can recommend giving it a try to anyone reading this blog.

"Potterne Handbells Ringers" wait to start playing.   I stand between Celia, back right, and Mike standing second from right.  I made a couple of videoclips of our playing, which I hope to post later, that's if I can get the sound to work.

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