Sunday, 12 December 2010


No, not me!! I'm not musical (or mathematical either!).

Yesterday was Bucks Family History Society Christmas Meeting for the Central Group. I went expecting a quiz, as there has been other years when I've gone, but there was an entertainment instead.

The group of three handbell ringers from Wallington was called Pizzaz and were a married couple and a young girl who was a friend. During their show we were told about the bells, some of the history of handbell ringing and they answered questions which were put from the audience. Bell ringing is thousands of years old, though not with metal bells which the group brought with them!

The bells which were used today came from the US and there were more than fifty ranged flat on the black material-covered table - all sizes from very small with a high note and large, like a school handbell, with a mellow low note. The ladies wore black gloves( matching their dresses) to avoid smearing the bells and to limit contact with the metal.

This photo shows a fraction of those used as some had already been packed away in their foam lined travelling cases. All in disarray as the audience had replaced theirs standing upright.

The trio played carols, Christmas tunes and classical music as well., sometimes using bells held two in each hand and sometimes just one. Very clever especially as they change bells rapidly in some tunes. It was a case of ring, put down, pick up the next bell and ring, all in time with the others so there was no hanging about. And knowing where to find the next bell! It reminded me of fair isle knitting where you're searching for the next colour - but much, much quicker... Their music was ranged on a series of music stands at the front of their long table.

At the end they donned headgear for 'our' performance where each person was given a sheet of Jingle Bells words with bold lettering stressed for when to ring your particular toned bell - I won't go into that!

Speaking to one of the ladies afterwards she told me that there is an Advanced Recital Exam for players of any instrument and Pizzaz are the first group of handbell ringers to gain this award.

After the performance there were lots of 'munchies' to pile onto a plate plus tea or coffee before we went home.

PS Because I'm a quilter I was interested in the black material covering their table and in a decorative piece hanging down from the front - black with glittery red dots. However, both the black and this piece were polyester so no use at all...material came from a store named Fabricland which I've never heard of so will have to look it up and see where they are.


Kath said...

How interesting, I think Uncle B will like this post too.

Sylve said...

Hi Kath, Why do you think that??? Is he a bell ringer?

Bernard said...

No, no, Sylve, I'm not a bell ringer.
I did enjoy your write-up about it though. I collect almost anything musical and do have a collection of bells, but nothing posh like those beautiful hand-bells. I am hoping to build a clock that plays a bell tune on the hour, hence the collection.