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

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

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

Rehearsal, Jan 14 2016

We had a great rehearsal tonight. There were only 4 of us, allowing us to all ring all the time. We had Karen, Maggie, Lee Ann, and Randy (conductor). Karen and Maggie still consider themselves new (having each been ringing for about 5 weeks over 3 months).

Karen and Maggie had mostly just done the coursing bells on plain hunt (the trebles or tenors). Karen rang the middle set on plain hunt on 10, once before. But since we could ring a lot tonight, Randy made them both learn all pairs of plain hunt on 6 (before Lee Ann arrived), and then ring the 34 pair on plain hunt on 8. They both did fabulously!

Randy was learning and stretching a bit tonight as well. He watched everyone, and was able to help correct people when they got lost. While he has done that some in the past, tonight was much better in being able to see full patterns.

At the end of the evening, Randy explained plain bob minor to Karen and Maggie, without actually ringing any bells. So far, it all looks very confusing to them. Remember your first time?

No real milestones tonight, but some good repetitive ringing for all.

Rehearsal, Jan 14 2016


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.