Our first rehearsal of the new year saw us ringing with two visitors, two (fairly) new ringers, and one returning ringer.

Genine has returned to us. Since we moved our rehearsals to Thursday evening, she has not been able to join us, due to classes she is taking. But a new semester has started, and she has arranged her schedule to keep Thursday evenings free, allowing her to return to us.

In my last post, I mentioned Maggie, who continues to ring with us, and is learning quickly. We also had another new joiner at about the same time. Karen started ringing with us in the late fall. Interestingly, Maggie and Karen have been traveling, or ill, or home with sick children, and so until this week had not met each other, even though they had each attended a few rehearsals at the end of the year. Karen is also learning quickly. It is fun to teach new ringers about how to change ring.

This week also found us with two visitors. Andrew lives nearby, and goes to school at Purdue. He was home for the holidays, and asked to join us in our rehearsal. He learned change ringing while studying abroad last year, where he joined a group of handbell change ringers and a group of tower ringers, both at St. Vedast, learning under Thomas Lawrance. He has rung a quarter peal on handbells with that group. It was fun to have a visitor at all, and to have one who knows how to ring Bob Major was a real treat. We hope he will visit us again, whenever he is in town.

Andrew’s friend Elizabeth also joined us this week. She is also local, and is going to school at Syracuse. She joined Andrew’s handbell group while visiting him in London, and picked up ringing quite quickly. This was only her second time change ringing, and we hope she returns to us whenever she is in town.

With all the new people, and visitors, and returning ringers, we had eight people ringing, which I think is the most we have ever had at a single rehearsal. Quite fun! With so many new ringers, we decided to split into two groups of four, and ring a lot of Plain Hunt Major. Each group had new ringers, and each group was able to ring a full course. Granted, that’s just 16 changes, but with so many new people, we considered it an accomplishment. We even rang for each other, with each group of 4 ringing Plain Hunt Major for the other group to hear. Good fun.

We then decided to let the new people sit out for a while, and attempted Bob Royal. This was a first attempt for Andrew. Genine hadn’t rung in months. In fact, this was the first rehearsal for anyone since December 17. So while we didn’t ring the full course, we did get halfway through, which we counted as a minor success. (See what I did there? Haha!!)

After some more Plain Hunt Major, we decided to try Bob Major. Ange took the new ringers to ring Plain Hunt Major, while Andrew, Jane, Genine, and Randy rang a plain course of Bob Major. There were some small mistakes, but we actually rang the whole thing. I believe that was a first for Andrew. And gave us all a feeling of accomplishment for the evening.

We finished the evening ringing Plain Hunt on 12. It took a few tries, but we finally got it. The new ringers were ringing the trebles and tenors, so all they had to do was course. The rest of us had to do some serious counting.

A wonderful rehearsal, all in all.

Here is a photo of the full group. L-R: Karen, Elizabeth, Randy, Genine, Jane, Ange, Andrew, Maggie.



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