Handbell days

A handbell day or handbell gathering is an event where people get together to ring handbells intensively.  They often last over the course of a weekend.  We think these kind of events are great for promoting handbell ringing and for supporting handbell ringers.  It brings together expertise within an area so that people can learn new methods or try new things, hopefully with a stronger band than they normally have.  Also, it is good for us handbell ringers to ring with different people from time to time, so that we don't fall into bad habits or develop strange quirks.

The biggest handbell event is the Oxford handbell weekend, held every year around Easter, which attracts 30 or more ringers who are scheduled into an intensive day of quarter peals at all levels of expertise.  When we started running Scottish handbell days, we used this model to get ourselves started.  But many other ringing associations and groups also have events, and the number is increasing all the time.

We decided to host a Scottish handbell day because we kept hearing about this person or that person who rang handbells but weren't active due to a lack of available ringers.  So we decided it would be a good idea to get all these people together in one place and see if we could get some more ringing going in other parts of Scotland.  Plus, it is a good excuse for a party. 

Since our first handbell day, we have held them regularly twice a year, and each time the people and format change just a little, just so it doesn't get stale, and still offers a good opportunity for the ringers who attend.  What started as a private initiative on our part is now included in the Scottish Association calendar. And yes, there is more handbell ringing in Scotland than previously, but we are not sure we can take credit for that.....

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For the first time ever, we failed to complete a single quarter peal at a Scottish Handbell Day.  And yet, it was a very successful event.  How are both of those statements true? 

We have been spreading the conducting load around a little lately, in an effort to develop our...Read more

We had a handbell day on Saturday - a medium-sized one this time, with 15 people. We had advertised beginners' sessions in the morning, but in the end we didn't get any beginners, so the programme was the usual combination of practice sessions and quarters.

We rang four quarters: one of...Read more

We had a handbell day on Saturday 7th May, and it was one of the most satisfying so far. Following the pattern of recent handbell days, we scheduled practice sessions before quarter peal attempts, but in several cases the people in a practice session rang a quarter anyway. The quarter...Read more

Handbell ringers in the Huntingdon District of the Ely DA met on Saturday 13th February to attempt eight quarter peals. Most of the ringers are at the Plain Bob Minor stage practising in various groups on a weekly basis and everyone has previously rung at least one quarter peal on...Read more

We are just back from a handbell weekend in Tulloch, hosted by Helen McGregor and Peter Bevis. Saturday was the general handbell day, with practice sessions and quarters including Plain Bob Minor (Thomas Gay's first quarter), Stedman Triples, Yorkshire Major and Kent Royal....Read more

There were points during the previous weekend, especially on Sunday, when I thought we had bitten off rather too much - again. 

Our programme to ring a peal Norman Smith's 23-spliced coincided with our usual semi-annual handbell day.  Simon has already written about our first attempt on Friday evening,...Read more

Saturday 4th October saw one of our biggest handbell days, with a total of 19 ringers attending.  Handbell ringers came from Aberdeen, Dundee, Dunblane, Haddington, and Edinburgh.  There was even a representative from our unoffical Southern Branch in Penrith.  This may be our broadest geographical spread, and in itself shows...Read more

This handbell day was a little smaller than some of the previous ones, but we made the most of the people we had, and rang four quarters as well as doing a great deal of useful practice.
We've developed a tradition of ringing Kent Maximus after dinner,...Read more

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath precerd to the roote …..
Thane longen folk to goon on pilgrimages ….
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Reddynge they wende
The joyous handbelle ringinge for so seke
That them wyth joye hath fill’d...Read more

We had a little extra handbell focus over the Christmas holidays, due to an invitation to a handbell weekend on Tulloch Farm.

Tulloch is possibly more well-known as the location of a quite new ring of 12 bells, but owners Peter Bevis and Helen McGregor are widely known as very...Read more


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