Monday, 5 January 2009

The Handbell Fraternity

When I was doing some research for an article about handbell ringing, I came across this gem of a verse with its nuggets of golden wisdom.

A bell is no bell till you ring it,
a song is no song till you sing it,
and love in your heart wasn't put there to stay;
love isn't love till you give it away.

This pic is by Miya at Wikimedia Commons

From my research and the experience of some good friends, it seems there’s a lot of love going around the handbell fraternity. From joining their national handbell organisations – The Handbell Ringers of Great Britain (HRGB) or the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, (AGEHR) for example – ringers get to know and support each other.

When my own friends found out about some bells that were for sale several hundreds of miles away, they mentioned their interest at a HRGB meeting. Within a week, the bells had been passed from hand to hand between members until they reached them. They were asked to send the money back the same way. My friends were amazed and delighted at the amount of trust within this new community they had discovered.

They had started their handbell team for their local church, thinking at first that it might be something for the youngsters to do. But they soon found that the idea attracted the adults too. And many of the large bells were too heavy for the children to manage. They ended up with a set of light hand chimes for a children’s team, as well as a full handbell team. They soon learnt how to accompany hymns in services, and held many fundraising concerts in the church as well.

My first handbell article was published in the Church Times about twenty years ago, and since I renewed my research, I’ve been fascinated by how much the international handbell community has developed since then. In 2008, the AGEHR hosted the 13th International Handbell Symposium in Orlando, Florida. In previous years these have also taken place in Australia, Japan and Korea, as well as in Canada and the UK.


Anonymous said...

that was a wonderful verse..:)

Tomas said...

Wow, what a gem! The timeless wisdom radiates here. I will spout this poetry to my health visitor (I'm to take my daily medicine procedures) and your post will be like my thank you - like OUR thank you to the people who make our hardships the wonderful opportunities to stay grateful.

While reading your post, I felt myself as the real member of your handbell fraternity - wow, Thanks once again for the wonderful awakening - I visualize myself in a hug with you all and that heals me better than all my medicine procedures.

I will greatly appreciate your visit to my blogs. I hope you will have a good time with my pictures and will gift me your feedback for I could see better what's lacking in my posts. Thank you once again in advance. Just click on the links of my blogs (my online art galleries)

Liara Covert said...

The pitch of handbells is so soft and angelic. I just love the evolution of sounds. When a person desires to learn to play them, then they discover what they need and find themselves speaking to people "in the know."

jakill said...

to confused - thank you. I wish I could claim it as my own.

Tomas - I am really glad if this struck a chord and made you feel any better

Liara - you are so right.

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