Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Southern Ringers Form a Confederacy

On October 23rd, St. James hosted a practice swap with ringers from Birmingham and a grand time was had by all. A whole range of methods was attempted and, for the most part, rung successfully - from rounds and call changes to Cambridge, with Kent and Grandsire and Plain Bob scattered in between. Two of Birmingham's newest ringers, Emily and Irene, did very well handling our much smaller bells, and made some good progress.
Lunch was served half-way through the day and thanks go to Cathy Brown and Alice Heilker, who organized a barbecue feast, with contributions of food and drink from other St. James ringers.
Thanks to everyone who participated, and especially to Ted Clark - the Birmingham ringer 'wrangler' who managed to get a nice group of Brummies from Alabama to Georgia and back again!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Field Trip for Marietta's Young Ringers

On Saturday, July 31, our Young Ringers went to St. Luke's on their first field trip for ringing. Everyone had such a great time, I am sure that it won't be their last. The size of the bells didn't faze them or if it did, the fun of ringing larger bells won out over any reservations they might of had. At first Emma didn't want to ring the tenor, but after watching the guys all have a turn, she reconsidered. She needed some help pulling off, but once she started ringing, it was just another adventure. By the end of practice, our group was ringing together on the back four. With everyone's crazy schedules, it is challenging to find time for one weekly practice and two would be impossible, but I noted a hint of appreciation when Emma said, "So you GET to practice here each week - cool!" Emma, a gymnast, is clear on the value of practice.

After practice we all went to lunch at the Varsity, an Atlanta tradition , for burgers, slaw dogs, fries and the best onion rings in the world.
So a big thank you to the St. Luke's Band and special thanks to Sawyer Gosnell for helping us set it up. Now we have to start thinking about the next field trip. If only school and sports didn't get in the way.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I made a video (my first!) of my recent visit to Taylor's Bellfoundry in Loughborough, England; it was part of the many activities planned during the Central Council's annual meeting, which was in Derby this year. If you're interested in seeing a bell being cast, watch the following (copy and paste URL):



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, USA

Left to right: Kathryn Tucker, Mary Platt, Emily Heilker, Alice Heilker, Derek Wilsden, Jay Williams, Cathy Brown (c), Charley Heilker

On July 4th, we gathered for a quarter peal in honor of America's 234th birthday. The tenor was solemnly tolled 13 times, the group gathered after last-minute water breaks and then set off to ring Grandsire Triples. After three false starts, the decision was made to snuggle under the comfortable blanket of Plain Bob Triples, hoping to score a quarter celebrating the many, many July birthdays that we have here in Marietta. Below is the note that goes along with the successful quarter peal:

Birthday Compliments to the United States Of America (July 4),Charley Heilker (July 4), Rett Walker (July 5), Alyssa Motylinski (July 6), Kathryn Tucker, Bill Rush, & Rahne Tallent (July 13), Shelley Tallent (July 14), Alice Heilker (July 20), Mary Platt (July 27).

We were all feeling well-nourished on this day - the night before, Chris and Cathy Brown had hosted the traditional Fourth of July barbecue and the food was both copious and delicious. Many of the guests meandered over to the "Root House" for first-row seats to the City of Marietta fireworks display, thanks to the Browns, who paid for two large tables; the money went to help fund the Root House projects.
It was a wonderful holiday, and we are very thankful for the freedom to ring as a united group, in various states of joy here in America.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

St Luke's AGM

The St Luke's AGM meeting was held this evening. If you wish, please contact Sawyer for a copy of the minutes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

St. James End of Season Social

The ringing season seems to parallel the school season - ringers are abundant in the fall, disperse a bit during the Christmas season, re-assemble in the spring and then a major diaspora occurs at the beginning of summer. So a social event was planned for May, before people took off for the four corners of the earth, enjoying summer breaks.
On May 1st, St. James ringers gathered at the log cabin clubhouse of my neighborhood - it is roomy, comfortable and has a handy kitchen for last-minute food preparation. We enjoyed mac-n-cheese, meatball sandwiches, green salad, fruit salad, chips and all sorts of other yummy dishes. Music played in the background as we talked, laughed and enjoyed our two resident babies: Rahne and Ridley Tallent, Mary Platt's beautiful grandchildren, ages "almost two" and 5 months, respectively.
Thank you to everyone who made this party possible, and happy travels to all, wherever you may go this summer.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thundering Bells in Birmingham

Amidst lightning, thunder, rain and wind, intrepid ringers from St. Luke's, St. James' and St. Paul's in Birmingham gathered for a day of ringing on Saturday, April 24th. Six North Georgia ringers (along with Louise Booth, our volcano refugee from England) drove to Birmingham to support a day-long practice and quarter peal attempts: Lyn Barnett, Bill Buckner, Charley Heilker, Mary Platt, Kathryn Tucker and Derek Wilsden. All of us ringers from the Atlanta area were impressed with the wonderful progress that so many of the ringers in Birmingham have made - may it continue to be so!
We were treated to a lovely lunch, which included barbecue chicken, salads, fruit, delicious side dishes and desserts - we ate while watching the lightning flash, trees sway and rain pour down. Some folks even felt a bit of rain sneaking in to the ringing room through the rope holes!
Below is a photo of the quarter peal band for Plain Bob Doubles - a first for Jeanne Averhart, after a few practice attempts in the past!Derek Wilsden (c), Bill Buckner, Jeanne Averhart, Ted Clark, Kathryn Tucker and Mary Platt

Monday, April 5, 2010

Special Practice this Tuesday.

At St Luke's, with the visiting peal band, starting at 7(ish). Please let me know if you have special requests, or things you wish to continue to work on that you may have started with this Monday's practice. If nothing else, I hope to focus on ten bell methods while we've got the opportunity, but I also think that we're going to dedicate some time to Cambridge Major and London Major, or even Royal if we're feeling adventurous. Just let me know.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ringers Pull Weeds, Not Ropes

Left to right: Jan Wilsden, Alice Heilker, Kathryn Tucker,
Diana Witt and Derek Wilsden

"Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere
Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share"

All moms and dads of a certain age know that song - it's the Barney "clean-up" song and we gritted our teeth every time our tots listened to it on the TV. However, it is appropriate to quote it in this case - on Saturday, March 27th, five St. James ringers took to the soil instead of the bells, complying with a request made by the parish secretary, Paige Bushart, for all hands to help clean up around the church in anticipation of Easter crowds.
It was a cool, breezy Saturday; however, we stayed warm by digging up weeds, pruning trees, laying pine bark and generally making ourselves useful. We missed our ringing, but knew we were doing something very worthwhile - contributing to the welfare of St. James, the church that makes our ringing possible.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Youngest St. James Quarter Peal Ringer

Quarter peal band (l to r): Charley Heilker, Kathryn Tucker, Alice Heilker, Mary Platt, Cathy Brown (conductor), Derek Wilsden, Will Eubanks and Matt Brown.

Will Eubanks stands at the tenor bell, 5 cwt.

On March 6, the day of the St. James' Guild of Change Ringers AGM, one of our young ringers participated in a quarter peal of Plain Bob Triples. Will Eubanks became the youngest guild member to ring a quarter peal on the bells, at the ripe old age of 13! He rang tenor behind, and did it very capably and rhythmically - a "must" when ringing a method on 7 bells.
Will has been participating in the Wednesday night youth ringing class for a number of years, and has been progressing steadily under the tutelage of Derek Wilsden, assisted by Charley and Alice Heilker, Cathy Brown and Mary Platt. He has become a reliable member of our Sunday service band, as well as participating in various special ringing events. He is involved in quite a few other activities, so we are grateful that his enthusiasm for ringing brings him to us as often as it does.
Congratulations to Will, and may this be the beginning of a long and enjoyable ringing career.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. James Annual General Meeting

The St James Guild of Change Ringers met last Saturday, March 6, at the home of Derek and Jan Wilsden for the Guild's Annual General Meeting. At the proceedings, guild officers Mary Platt (Tower Captain), Kathryn Tucker (Ringing Master), Alice Gough Heilker (Secretary), and Chris Brown (Treasurer) were reelected for their respective positions. Charley Heilker will continue as Steeple Keeper, Diane Campion as Shirt Maven, and Jan Wilsden will oversee our social calendar, with help we hope. And Sally Karkula will take over responsibilities of Librarian. Thank you ALL for your willingness to serve. After the intensity of another election season, we dismissed the lobbyists and got to the real business of the evening -- a wonderful meal, catching up on friendships and news, and celebrating Cathy Brown's birthday (28th, I think). Thank you to the Wilsden's for sharing their home with us for the evening.

The AGM was preceded by a very special accomplishment. Will Eubanks, age 13, completed his first quarter peal. He is the first St. James' young ringers to reach this level. He rang the 595-lb #8 bell as tenor to 1260 changes of Plain Bob Triples. Congratulations to Will and to the St James instructors who have been working so faithfully with our young ringers. We look forward to many more quarter peals with Will.

Friday, February 26, 2010

NoGa Ringers Invade Charleston

On the weekend of February 19 through 21, most of the North Georgia ringers were happily ringing away in Charleston, South Carolina - I'm sure their home towers of St. James and St. Luke's felt bereft! Attending the biennial "Ring Around Charleston" were Lyn Barnett and Bill Buckner from Atlanta, as well as Cathy & Chris Brown, Derek & Jan Wilsden, Charley & Alice Heilker, Mary Platt, Jay Williams and Kathryn Tucker of Marietta. In the first photo, you can see Ray Gotko (an honorary member of the St. James' Guild) and Charley Heilker at the Friday night reception at the Cathedral. At the same venue were Jay Williams and Bill Buckner, also pictured below.

There was an enormous amount of ringing scheduled - at my last count, I had heard of 23 quarter peals slated, along with lots of general ringing. Rosalie Crouch, the organizer extraordinaire of the event, will soon have a final tally of quarters achieved. One of the quarters that I am certain was scored happened to be a significant one in which I participated. It was the first inside quarter for Alice Heilker - Plain Bob Doubles, conducted by the eminent Alan Regin. It was rung on a beautiful afternoon on Sullivan's Island, and very well-struck it was, too! Alice should be extremely proud of her performance.

From left to right: Paul Stannard, David Cornwall, Joyce Cornwall, Alice Heilker, Alan Regin and Kathryn Tucker.

On Saturday night, the Charleston ringers hosted a "Low Country" meal at Grace's parish hall. Before everyone dove into their food, the rector, Michael Wright, gave the blessing. And because it was one of the sweetest blessings I've ever heard, I will repeat it here for you:

Bless, O Lord, the food upon our dishes
As Thou, Lord, didst bless the loaves and fishes.
And like the sugar in our tea
May we all be stirred by Thee.

Sunday brought service ringing at all the towers except Stella Maris - there is no ringing on Lenten Sundays at the Roman Catholic church. After ringing at Grace Episcopal, there was a bell-themed service, as it was near the 10th anniversary of the installation of their bells. There was a handbell introit of Grandsire Triples and a beautiful "Canticle of Praise", written by The Reverend Canon Michael Wright of Grace, and whose subject was bell-ringing. The homily was also concerned with bells, nicely given by The Reverend Donald McPhail.
The last photograph was a charming one I managed to capture after the service ended. A quarter peal of Cambridge Royal had just begun, and these children were enthralled with the ringing. How well we all know that feeling of fascination, do we not?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Left to right: Lyn Barnett, Mary Platt, Phil Teague, Alice Heilker, Charley Heilker, Derek Wilsden, Jay Williams, Bill Buckner, Jeremy Johnson, Ted Clark, Jenne Johnson, Sawyer Gosnell, Judith Smith, Amy Bischoff, Jeanne Averhart and Joe Roberts. (Missing: Kathryn Tucker, photographer)

On Saturday, January 30th, 7 ringers from Birmingham drove eastward in search of other friendly ringers with whom to share a morning and afternoon. Thankfully, the doors of St. Luke's, Atlanta were opened and ringing began on time and in earnest.

One of the newest ringers from B'ham, Amy Bischoff, was able to participate in call changes, as well as some excellent tenor behind practice. And she's only been ringing since August 2009! Jeanne Averhart is conquering Plain Hunt on 5, as well as covering. Jenne and Jeremy Johnson rang Plain Bob Triples, and Jeremy worked on Grandsire Doubles, as well as call changes and excellent tenor behind. Phil Teague will be traveling to Charleston for the "Ring Around Ch'ston" weekend and wanted to hone his PB Doubles skills - he's hoping to ring a quarter inside while in South Carolina. Joe Roberts was a very easy-going man - filling in at tenor behind, trebling and working on PB Doubles. And their inimitable leader, Ted Clark, rang a sweet plain course of Cambridge Minor, as well as leading much of the ringing. And now it's time for lunch! Below you will see Derek and Charley enjoying the gifts of nosh provided by our B'ham friends.

While a variety of folks wandered in and out of the bell chamber, helping themselves to sandwiches, chips, fruit, cake and streusel bars, ringing continued in earnest. Jay Williams got a couple of chances to ring one of the St. Luke's bells; the long draft, however, proved to be a bit of a challenge for someone who is fairly new to ringing and blind, to boot. He took it all in stride and looks forward to his next visit to St. Luke's.

A quarter peal was attempted toward the end of the ringing session; Jeanne Averhart has not yet rung a quarter peal and was hoping that this might be the day. Sadly, it was not. Maybe it was the dreary, drippy weather; maybe it was the fatigue; or maybe it just wasn't the day. However, we will all do our best to see that Jeanne scores a quarter in the not too distant future.

Many thanks to the St. Luke's folks (Lyn, Bill, Judith and Sawyer) and especially to Sawyer who very capably led much of the ringing. Thanks to the Marietta people (Mary, Derek, Charley, Alice, Kathryn and Jay) who drove down to support the ringing. And kudos to the Steel City travelers for getting up at "chicken-thirty" (thanks for that wonderful phrase, Ted!) to drive to the ATL, providing food and giving us an excuse to ring for four and a half hours on a Saturday!

On the right, you will find Sawyer Gosnell, Ted Clark, Jeremy Johnson and Amy Bischoff practicing the Exercise.