Parish of Leatherhead - Swan Handbell Group

We are still the same group of people who started in 2000!  How have we lasted that long?

We are like a family who have progressed from learning to read music set up in numbers. We then learnt to read letters and finally we have actual staff music to play.

We normally highlight each person's notes to play with two colours to help those members of the team who do not find music easy to read. Our latest project is to do away with this help!  Only time will tell as to whether we progress to everyone being able to read music. There is a waiting list for membership.

Beverley Mehta, Conductor: 1 Dec 13

from the August 2012 magazine

Handbells for the 2012 Olympic Games

The Swan Handbell Group ringing out in front of the Parish Hall
on the morning of the opening of the Olympic Games. Sheila Cole

from the July 2008 magazine

We are having a great time during our practice sessions on Thursday evenings. New music brings out all the angst in ringers. How do I play the note with the dot? What do we do when there is a squiggle over the top of the notes? Where's my Bb? Are we going to use mallets in the staccato section? With all the questions answered we go for it and surprise ourselves with a decent rendering ... sometimes!

At the moment we are rehearsing Around the World in Eighty Bars and a G&S tune (which can be sung when the music gets difficult) as well as the old faithfuls. There is much laughter and we always come away feeling better for having made music together.

We are very smart when we have a "gig". With music stands, made by John Sutherland, and beautiful swans complete with bells hanging from their beaks, appliquéd on our "falls" made by Alison Draper, we are a professional-looking group.

I have found the Bell Ringer's Confession which you may enjoy. Team, learn this off by heart!:

Almighty and most merciful Conductor.
We have erred and strayed from thy beat like lost sheep;
We have followed too much the accidentals and tempi of our own hearts.
We have offended against Thy dynamic markings.
We have rung those notes which we ought not to have rung
And there is no damping in us.
But thou, O Conductor, have mercy upon us, miserable ringers;
Succour the key-signature challenged, Restore Thou them that need help in turning their page;
Spare Thou them that have not pencils. Pardon our mistakes, and have faith that hereafter
We will follow Thy directions
And ring together in perfect harmony

Look out for our open evening in the autumn when you, too, will be able to join in the fun and ring a bell!
Beverley Mehta, Conductor

from a 2005 magazine?

Thursday evenings find the Swan Handbell group practising in the Parish Church Hall. We use a two octave chromatic set of handbells, which means that we can play a wide selection of music from hymns and carols to classical excerpts and pop. We have played in Church services and in venues away from home. We hope to join with other Handbell groups in the area now that we are becoming more proficient and capable of reading a wider range of music.

We are members of the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain (HRGB) and are soon going to start on a graded course, which is being produced by the HRGB, just to check on our progress.

The main aim of the group is to make music and enjoy ourselves. We welcome anyone who would like to come along and "have a go". Don't worry if you cannot read music or have never played an instrument before - now is the time to start!
Information from B Mehta L374304.

last updated 1 Dec 13