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

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!

A special guest

We had a special guest in our rehearsal tonight! Karen’s 4yo daughter Nola joined us for a short while. She had trouble ringing the bells without help, but she rang some rounds with us, with help from Mom. Very fun!

Our band currently consists of Jane, Randy, Maggie, Karen, Genine, and Jess. We often have 5 ringers, and occasionally have 6 ringers, and sometimes have only 4. With these ringers, we are starting to make progress with bobs and singles. I am hopeful that we will do some long methods in the next few weeks, which we can post to Bell Board.

Currently, we can ring bob minor with any combination of 3 people, and almost anyone in any position. There may be some who aren’t quite as comfortable on a particular pair. But the goal is for anyone to ring any position.

We can consistently ring bob major with particular combinations. We are working to extend our capabilities in this area, trying to get everyone comfortable with all positions.

We have not rehearsed bob royal with this band at all.

Keep on!

A special guest

Milestone for new group

Since August, we have been working sporadically on ringing a full course of plain bob major. Sporadically, because we have four ringers sporadically. Genine, Karen, Maggie, and Randy are together only about once per month. We often have three ringers, and have bob minor down fairly well. But have struggled to ring bob major without interruption.

That finally changed on our first gathering of the new year (2017). After a few attempts, we were able to ring bob major with Genine on the trebles, Randy on 3,4, Karen on 5,6, and Maggie on 7,8. We rang it all the way through without interruption, and so now we know we can do it! It was a very satisfying feeling.

Of course, we tried again immediately, but were not able to repeat the accomplishment that evening. We will keep trying. As we have been telling ourselves lately, “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong!”

We have also been working on practicing bobs when we have three ringers. We are getting comfortable with them, but still need more work. Especially Randy, who needs to learn how to call bobs consistently and well, and continue ringing correctly!

In other news, we have a new ringer in our group! Jessica contacted us and wants to learn how to ring. She is a new hand bell ringer, having rung in a tower (Trinity in NYC) a few times. She has attended one practice so far, and, with some help, actually rang the trebles in a plain course of bob minor on her first night! We are hoping to see her more often.

And finally, we are looking forward to the return of the woman who started us all down this path. Jane is returning to San Diego this month, and will start ringing with us again in February. As a very experienced ringer and conductor, we are anxiously anticipating her return.

Milestone for new group

Working on basics, again

We are essentially down to 4 ringers now, with an occasional additional 1 or 2. And one of those 4 can only commit to ringing every other week. The 3 of us are getting really good at Bob minor! With that group, it is time to stretch, and start working on Bobs and Singles. Though I will also need to stretch, to work on creating a true method. More news on that as it develops.

But with the group of 4, we are working hard to ring a plain course of Plain Bob Major. We have been unsuccessful, so far. But I have high hopes that we will get there in the next week.

As we focus on that one method, we are staying at the same positions. So Genine is ringing 12, I am ringing 34, Karen is ringing 56, and Maggie is ringing 78. We are getting through the entire method, but in pieces. For example, we can get through 4 of the 7 leads, and then fall apart. We can start at the halfway point (23456781) and make it to the end. But so far, we have not gotten through the entire method in a single go.

We were close this past rehearsal. On our last attempt before quitting, we made it through 5 leads, and partway through the 6th, before falling apart. I considered that a success (of sorts), since we had rung so many changes consecutively. And we didn’t have time to try again.

We were fortunate to have Karen for 2 weeks in a row, and expect her to join us again this week. It is summertime, after all! Some scheduling can be changed. I’m hoping that this week, we will actually make it through the entire method, and even do it multiple times.

Working on basics, again

Rehearsal, May 25 2016

Many changes since I last posted.

The biggest news is that Jane has moved away. She was kind enough to leave the Schulmerich bells with me, so that the group can continue to ring. She took her new Whitechapel bells with her, of course. Jane can be found ringing in the San Francisco Bay Area with a group there.

Ange and Lee Ann are still in the group, but are much busier than they were a year ago, and so come much less often. We miss them when they are gone, and are always happy to see them when they are able to join us.

Genine has returned to the group full time.

Maggie and Karen are now consistent members of the group, learning and learning.

That means that Randy is working hard to be the conductor, and learning to keep everyone straight. But, as Jane says, the most important thing is to keep yourself right! And thankfully I have learned enough from Jane that I can mostly do that.

Tonight was Genine, Maggie, and Randy. We rang Plain Bob for an hour and a half. We started outside (and some of the neighbors enjoyed listening to us) with Maggie on the tenors, Genine on the trebles, and Randy on 34 (and conducting). We have fairly nailed that method with those positions, going so far as to “go again”, ringing the method twice through in one go. So we decided to switch it up a bit.

We came indoors (it was starting to get dark), and put Maggie on the trebles, Genine on the tenors, with Randy staying on 34. It took a few attempts, but we were finally able to ring Bob Minor with those positions. The milestone tonight was that, after a few more attempts, we were able to ring the full method with few, if any, hints from Randy.

All in all, it was a good night of ringing.

Rehearsal, May 25 2016