First Encounters of a handbell kind

Linda McCord of Bellfolk Handbell Ringers describes their first rehearsal with composer Peter Yarde Martin

What a great evening we had when Peter Yarde Martin (composer) and Jenni Pinnock (mentor) ventured to Honingham for a Thursday evening practice session!

Everybody arrived on time and, after a few introductions, we began by ringing some pieces to demonstrate what we can achieve with our 3 and a half octave set of English handbells. Pieces were chosen to show different techniques, producing various sounds from the bells, and Peter was very interested to see how these were marked on the music. We also played our set of chimes – both independently and within a handbell arrangement. These give a different texture and can create an unusual sound.

Peter playing handbells

At coffee time, the team members were fascinated to hear some of Peter’s previous compositions and eager to discuss their reactions. We could have chatted for longer but the fun was just beginning! Both Peter and Jenni joined the team to play a few pieces from our usual repertoire. They rang bells from the treble to the bass and encountered some of the challenges which ringers face.

For example

“Oh, I have to play the sharp as well…”

 The Lion King Medley gave everyone a laugh and the evening finished on a high.

Peter and Jenni

Our next meeting is set for January.  We can’t wait to see what Peter has in store for us!