Summer seems to finally have arrived, even though the last week was still a little cold. However, as I write this the sun is beaming down and the weather is definitely more seasonable than it has been of late.
As we move into the Summer months, the demand on our time as ringers may increase with ringing for weddings, both at our own towers as well as helping out other towers where there may be fewer ringers or no band at all.
For many towers, all ringing is a public performance. The lack of sound control means that every ringing session can be heard around the locality and, indeed, sometimes much further afield. However, it is perhaps when we ring for a wedding that we get our biggest audiences as the congregation gather outside the church both before and after the service. It is these occasions where we need to be most mindful of the sound that we are producing.
Summer is also the traditional time for tower outings, giving ringers the opportunity to visit other towers. This can be another situation where bands have been seen to be over-ambitious on bells which they do not know. In most situations, even a very experienced band will often work up towards their true ability once they have got a feel for the bells, but this has not always been the case. Recently, I was on a recent outing and it was rather pleasing to hear a recording that was made of the bells while we were ringing. According to the person who made the recording, it had been appreciated by other people too. We had only been ringing call-changes.
I have heard may times the comment that the public do not know when ringing is good or bad but I really do disagree with this overarching statement; although they will not recognise what we are ringing, they will recognise if the striking is poor. We also need to be aware that, with the ease of uploading video clips to social media platforms, these pieces of ringing are very quickly available in the public domain.
There is hopefully an opportunity on Saturday to hear good ringing in action here in Kent. The Association 8-bell competition is taking place at Lympne with the contest in the morning and a few towers open in the afternoon. Even if you are not involved in the contest, why not come down to listen to some of the ringing or to ring at some of the towers that afternoon? Refreshments are available in the Church between 10:30 and 12:30 and it is possible to book a lunch at the Village Hall from 12:30. See the Association’s website for more details: https://kcacr.org.uk/reminder-festival-of-ringing-8-bell-competition/
Our Young Ringers are also practicing hard at their own towers for the Ringing World National Youth Contest on July 8th. This year it will be based at York Minster and there will be several other towers available to ring at. If previous years are anything to go by then this will be another amazing weekend full of energy and excitement.
I was recently sent a copy of “The Voice of the Church”, a new book published by the Ringing World which has been written by four members of the Clerical Guild including David Grimwood, who is also a member of the KCACR.
This book, aimed at church leaders, is intended to try to explain ringing in a straightforward manner and I think that its publication is rather timely. The 76 pages are packed with information about bells and the development of change ringing; how bells are used to mark or signify different events; how ringers organize themselves and how different towers may interact and, finally, how churches can really maximise the potential of bellringing as a resource in promoting the church in the community and beyond. The book does not go into great detail about the different elements that it covers – rather the authors try to summarise these but provide many references through the notated endnotes as well as a list of possible sources for further reading about some of the subjects covered.
It is certainly worth considering getting hold of a copy, especially if you are in a church which has an incumbent who has never worked with ringers before. Copies can be ordered from the Ringing World website https://www.ringingworld.co.uk/purchase/shop/the-voice-of-the-church.html