Monday, November 21, 2011

The Bells of St. Laurence Church Alvechurch

By Belinda

Susan emailed me yesterday afternoon with a photograph and mysterious message:
If you know what this attached picture is, you'll know what I've spent a very happy hour or so researching and reading about this afternoon.  Not sure why I happened upon this course of study but I did...  and I've enjoyed every minute of it.

I emailed her back, Wheels falling off wagons??? :) 

It turned out to be:
The bells of Alvechurch

 Susan whiled away a few hours on Sunday afternoon doing research on bell ringing!

She wrote again later:
 I kept reading about "change ringing in the English pattern" and decided I needed to know more about what that is like. I found this video from the Washington Cathedral. I love the description: "Change Ringing is a team sport, a highly coordinated musical performance, an antique art, and a demanding exercise that involves a group of people ringing rhythmically a set of tuned bells through a series of changing sequences that are determined by mathematical principles and executed according to learned patterns."
And then, later, came this video clip, which she found on You Tube of the bells of St. Laurence. This is the sound that peals over the village of Alvechurch every Tuesday evening for several hours of bell ringing practice. And apparently they welcome visitors! :) It was fascinating to get a glimpse of what lies behind a sound that is integral to growing up in the village.Thanks to Susan's sleuthing skills and the internet, I was able to enjoy the bells of Alvechurch while at home in Bond Head.

I thought of Mum and Rob who would have heard these very peals one Tuesday evening in January of this year--and how cool to see young people carrying on this art. It looks like a great workout for the arms!


Dave Hingsburger said...

In downtown Toronto, where I live and am missing presently, the bells of Saint Basil's ring at 12 and 6 daily. I love those bells and can't wait to hear them again. I played the clip several times to try and assuage my homesickness. To no avail alas!

swissdebbie said...

Hi, I liked it very much, in geneva I have always lived in the neighbourhood of churches and loved to hear the bells, friday night, saturday and sunday....but here in Playa san Juan, in the catholic spain, is only 1 church on the other end of the playa and I can't hear it.
so I will keep the video and put it on when ) I'm nostalgic......

Susan said...

The poor bells of St. Laurence, I found in my research, are 200 years late in their maintenance program. They haven't been out of the tower for a "tune up" for 200 years! (It's supposed to be every 100 years.) So where the clappers hit the bells, there are some very worn spots, especially on the tenor bell, hence they are a little off key. The parish and community are attempting to raise the funds to get the needed work done. I can't WAIT to hear them restored to their original glory... and so I'll be sending a wee donation with you on your next trip - if you don't mind taking it along with you. Do you?

I love the idea of being part of keeping those bells ringing until Jesus comes!

Belinda said...

Susan thank you so much for all that you put into this research. As you see from the comments, you made someone in England (from Canada) and someone in Spain (originally from Holland and then Switzerland) very happy too! :)