What's the score?

Audrey Stewart and the Bellfolk Handbell Ringers get to grips with a brand new composition for the Adopt a Composer project

Thursday 4 January 2018 at 7:45pm, Bellfolk Handbell Ringers met at Honingham Village Hall in Norfolk. Peter Yarde Martin (composer) and Jenni Pinnock (mentor) joined us to introduce the first draft of the music composed by Peter.

Although we had been looking forward to seeing what he had written, we were anxious that we might find it too difficult or not to our liking. The first scrutiny of the score revealed some unfamiliar instructions but all was quickly revealed in the clear explanations from Peter. He led us through the music before handing over to Linda, our musical director, to conduct a section which was successfully executed.

Initially, we encountered some difficulties with the ad lib notes but soon embraced the idea of not having to ring bells in the right place at the right time!

We needed to be aware of changing time signatures and rhythms but felt that the degree of difficulty was within our capabilities. Dynamics were discussed and various techniques were tried out in some bars to create the required sound.

We practised ringing our bells while walking in procession. This was a bit tricky but we managed quite well and were pleased with the effect. We noted that our venue for the forthcoming concert would need to be free from steps and other obstacles so that the procession can proceed without mishap!

It was a happy evening and we appreciated the help and good humour of Peter and Jenni. We are looking forward to building on this first attempt and hope to successfully portray the picture and feelings of this interesting composition.