Rehearsal – Feb 19, 2018

We had a visitor this week, someone who is experienced in both tower bells and handbells. Lian from Washington, DC joined us for an evening of ringing. With Lian, we had 5 ringers, and rang a bit of Bob Royal, which we don’t get to do very often.

I didn’t get a full bio from her, but from what I remember, Lian started ringing in London a few years back. Her first few experiences were watching and driving ringers on a tower tour before she was actually given a rope to pull. In Washington, DC, she rings at the National Cathedral, and is also in a handbell group. In handbells, she is quite a bit more experienced than we are, having rung methods that we have only heard of (or which Jane has only rung in a tower).

On Monday, we rang a plain course of Bob Royal with the smaller bells, finally succeeding after three attempts. We then reduced to ringing Bob Major, and worked on speed, finishing a couple of plain courses with different people. We then finished the evening ringing Plain Hunt with the bigger bells, “under the crystal” where the acoustics are especially fine. We again worked on speed, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We hope to see Lian again.

In fact, if you are ever visiting the San Diego area, we would love to ring with you. Just email us (at this blog). We normally rehearse on Monday evenings, but with as little a day or two notice, we can normally gather enough people to ring at any time.

Rehearsal – Feb 19, 2018

New call changes

Four of us gathered this evening to ring bells. Jane, Genine, Karen, and Randy. We rang a few plain courses of bob major, just to remind ourselves that we could do it. Karen on the trebles (1-2), Genine on 3-4, Randy and Jane switching between 5-6 and 7-8. It went well.

But then Jane decided we needed to do something completely different, and called us over to the crystal chandelier to ring some call changes. We rang rounds (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8). We rang Queens (1 3 5 7 2 4 6 8). We rang tit-tums (1 5 2 6 3 7 4 8). We rang Whittingtons (1 2 7 5 3 4 6 8). And then Jane decided we needed to ring some new call changes. (Randy made a joke about our quarter peal last week “unlocking” some new features of the game. But nobody laughed but him.)

So we rang Reverse Queens (7 5 3 1 2 4 6 8). We rang a change (1 2 5 6 3 4 7 8) that we decided to call Double Tit-tums. And we rang Reverse Rounds, or back rounds, but ending with the tenor: (7 6 5 4 3 2 1 8).

Fun and a little silly.

Then back to work. Genine was getting a little tired, and so we decided to remind Karen about bobs. And so we rang on 6, with Karen on the trebles, Randy on 3-4, and Jane calling the bobs from 5-6. Karen did quite well, considering she hadn’t rung in more than 3 months.

A very fun evening of bells.

New call changes

And Finally!

For the past few months, we have all been working to learn to ring touches. When there are more than three of us together, we will ring bob major or bob royal, but over the summer we have usually just been three ringers. Almost always Jane and Randy, with Genine or Maggie or Karen added. And mostly Genine as the third. So we have had a lot of time to practice touches of bob minor. And have been working towards a quarter peal.

We even got the three of us together off of our normal schedule in order to ring the quarter. Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, or a Saturday morning. Or whatever works for the three of us.

Most recently, we gathered on September 24, 2017, to try for the quarter. We met at Genine’s house and rang outdoors. It was a beautiful evening, and we had scheduled 2 hours to reach success. And so we started. Genine on 1-2, Randy on 3-4, Jane on 5-6 conducting. Randy had had a late night the previous evening, and then a busy Sunday, and so wasn’t feeling his best. But Jane and Genine were ready.

We first rang a 720 (as usual when ringing on 6). Genine had never rung a quarter on 6 bells, and so when we got to rounds, she got a little confused. But she kept going, and we continued. And then at the 38 minute mark, with about 180 changes to go, Randy missed a lead end and rang rounds. Failure. And Randy was not feeling well enough to make another attempt.

The next night was our normal ringing rehearsal, and Maggie is travelling, and Karen is dealing with start of school with her kids, so again it was Genine, Jane, and Randy (who was feeling much better – thanks for asking!). Let’s give it another go.

At the 4 minute mark, Jane realized that bells 2 and 3 were swapped (and being rung by different people, so almost impossible to correct). So we stopped. Started again, and this time we failed at the 18 minute mark. (Though that sounds like 22 minutes, we had really been gathered for closer to 45 minutes.) “Shall we ring something else?” asked Jane. After a short discussion, we decided to make one more attempt. We normally ring for 90 minutes, and if we were successful, we would go over that (soft) time limit. But what the hell, let’s give it a try.

And succeeded!

There were some scary moments when it looked like we might get into trouble. And Jane was sure to make sure Randy didn’t make the same mistake he had made the night before (and Randy was going to make sure of the same thing!). But we have now rung a quarter peal.

This quarter peal is a first for Genine. And a first for Randy on 3-4. And feels like a real accomplishment.

Entry on Bell Board is here.

And Finally!

We rang a 720

I really wanted to title this post “6!”, meaning of course, 6 factorial, which is the number of possible changes you can ring with 6 bells without repeating any. That value is 720, of course. And we were able to ring a 720 change method tonight.

We gathered as usual at Jane’s house to ring. Tonight we had Jane, Randy, and Genine. After some discussion about some bell-related artwork that Genine is creating (more on that later!), we started ringing. Jane started a timer. Genine on the trebles, Randy on 3-4, Jane on the tenors.

Discussions about the actual bobs and singles that were called is probably not interesting unless you are a bell conductor. And I’m not! So I won’t (can’t) bore you with the details. Suffice to say that after 17 minutes of solid ringing at a decent pace, we fell apart. I’m not sure how many changes we rang on that attempt.

We then had a discussion about how we failed (Randy mentioned a particular bob he was having trouble with, ringing 3,4, and coursing before a bob is called, being in position 3,5 at the bob, and coming down 2,6. “How can I start so close together, and end up so far apart?” Of course, that’s just how it is at that place. He was also having trouble with a particular single call, but couldn’t remember the details.

This followed with a discussion about a local church wanting us to ring our bells at church. Not as a change-ringing band, but rather as accompaniment to a song the choir is singing this Fall. We don’t really have the equipment to do this, but no decision was made, one way or the other.

We then got back to ringing, in the same configuration. This time, the attempt was successful. After 23 minutes, we got to rounds, having rung a 720 change touch of bob minor. This was a first for Randy in 3-4, and a first for Genine in any position.

Who brought the champagne?!?!?

We rang a 720

Rehearsal, 22 June 2017

Maggie rang a 540 change method!

Well, we all did. Maggie (1-2), Randy (3-4), and Jane (5-6) gathered on 22 June to rehearse as we normally do on a Thursday evening. It was a small group, as we were missing Genine, Karen, and Jess. That gave us a chance to focus our ringing. Since we have been practicing bobs and singles, we decided to work on some random bobs and singles for a while. At one point, Jane decided to start timing us, which added enough pressure that we collapsed fairly quickly. But we persevered.

Fairly quickly, we rang a 300 change method. It took us just over 10 minutes, since we don’t ring quite as fast as some of our more experienced colleagues. After discussing what we had done, and how you can put together a quarter peal on 6 bells, and what types of things you need to do, we started again. And this time, we rang a true method with 540 changes. It took us just over 17 minutes.

Jane would need to say what the actual composition was. She is our conductor. But at the end, we were all quite thrilled. This is the longest method Maggie has ever rung. It is also the longest method Randy has ever rung at the 3-4 position, so a double accomplishment.

This event is recorded on Ringing World BellBoard.

Rehearsal, 22 June 2017

BBC World Music Day

Overlook
Moonlight Beach Overlook

June 15 was BBC World Music Day, and they called for change ringers to submit content. We attempted to do so, but were too late. However, in honor of the day, we celebrated by ringing in the park above Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.

We were all able to attend, which hasn’t happened in quite a while. So 6 of us gathered at Moonlight Beach at 6:00 PM. We used our outdoor, Schulmerich bells, which sound very good outdoors. Sadly, this is a set of 10 bells, so we weren’t able to all ring at the same time.

In attendance: Jane Booth, Karen Fitzsimmons, Maggie Fowlie, Genine Rainbeau-Heart, Jess Sorrell, and Randy Zack.

The group
The Encinitas Handbell Change Ringers. L-R: Genine Rainbeau-Heart, Jane Booth, Karen Fitzsimmons, Jess Sorrell, Randy Zack, Maggie Fowlie.

We only rang methods we knew fairly well – Bob minor, Bob major, Plain hunt on 10. But we had great fun.

Major ringing
Jess on the trebles, Randy on 3,4, Jane on 5,6, Genine on the tenors. Maggie watching the waves.
Group ringing
Jess on the trebles, Karen on 3,4, Randy on 5,6, Jane on 7,8, Genine on the tenors.

We captured some video as well.

And we rang until the sun set.

Major ringing 3 sunset (KF)
Sunset. Jess on trebles, Randy on 3,4, Jane on 5,6, Maggie on tenors

Afterwards, we retired to Genine’s house to have some dinner and conversation. Sadly, we have no photo evidence of the delicious food we had. But all in all, it was quite a nice way to celebrate.

BBC World Music Day

Some long lengths!

As we learn bobs for plain bob, we decided last night to try some longer length rings. And were successful!

The first step was to remember all the different permutations for bobs in the trebles. To that end, Jane called a touch with bobs at the first three leads (for a very short, 36 change touch of bob minor). The trebles do nothing except course for all three leads. Jane was ringing 56, Randy was ringing 34, and both Genine and Maggie were (separately) ringing 12. They both got through it wonderfully.

Next was to ring a longer length, with bobs called at the end of every 5th lead. There were a couple of bobbles, but again with Jane on 56 and Randy on 34, both Genine and Maggie were able to ring the trebles for the full touch! So both Genine and Maggie have now rung a 180 change touch of bob minor. We all had a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

After that, we decided to just do random bobs (with Jane calling) so that we would need to think about what we were doing at all times. We all got a workout with that. Randy can ring bobs on the trebles easily, but ringing bobs while ringing 34 is a fairly new experience, and he still needs some practice. And Genine and Maggie are learning how to ring bobs on the trebles, and doing very well.

Next up – learning singles!

Some long lengths!