Planning a handbell day

It's nearly time for the next Scottish handbell day, which will be the first one this year. Normally we have two per year, in May and October, but this year we couldn't fit handbells into May as well as all the coronation ringing. We've got 20 people coming, which is fairly typical.

The day has five sessions of an hour each, so there's time for a quarter peal, but usually some of the sessions are practices rather than quarters. Most of the participants request methods to practice or ring quarters of, so it's a question of satisfying as many requests as possible while also trying to make the bands realistic. Some requests are easy to fit in, e.g. "practice Kent Major", but others absorb a lot of the experienced ringers, e.g. "practise Cambridge Royal".

The approach I've taken recently is to first identify one difficult request for each session, arrange a good band for it, and then work out bands for everyone else in that session. This time the key requests are two quarters of Kent Maximus, a quarter of Grandsire Caters, a practice of Cambridge Royal, and a quarter for a band who have been continuing to ring online and want to ring something together in person. Apart from that the day will have a lot more Kent, some Yorkshire Major, and a lot of surprise minor practice.

For the first time at a Scottish handbell day, there's no Plain Bob on the schedule. This could be seen as a good thing, because everyone is getting better, but on the other hand perhaps it's a sign that we don't have any new learners coming up. Now that everyone's happy with Kent, I decided it would be worth spending a couple of sessions working on breaking into surprise minor. I've told the newcomers to learn either Cambridge or Norwich, so we'll see who chooses what and how it all works out.