Bells Will Ring!

Harris United Methodist Church held their Spring Concert this afternoon and I was one of the ringers in the Heavenly Handbells Choir.  We played two tunes, “Awesome God” and “All Glory, Laud & Honor.”  During the preconcert rehearsal we couldn’t get it together for some reason and sounded horrible.  Luckily during the concert itself both songs went off without a hitch.  I guess, if you’re only going to play the song correctly once, it is best to save it for the big show.

Amoeba couldn’t be at my concert.  While I was playing handbells he was sitting in an Indian Restaurant eating Tandoori Chicken with a bunch of his colleagues, and since the restaurant in question just happens to be in Houston, there was no popping over to have a listen.  I figured that the only friends I’d have at the concert would be the ones playing the other handbells, but it turns out I was wrong.

Thom popped in — despite the fact that he told me he was afraid the church would crumble when he stepped inside.  Many other people were participating in the hour long concert as well, but Thom said he was only staying long enough to listen to me play.   Here is a picture of Thom sitting on a church pew.  He is waving his hand and shaking his head because he didn’t want me recording evidence of this visit.

He was intrigued by the handbells and had lots of questions.  He was very surprised that as well as picking them up and ringing them, we left them on the table and struck them with mallets, which gave an entirely different sound.  In fact, he was very surprised, period, that a bunch of people could ring bells willy-nilly and have a recognizable song emerge.

I was quite surprised when Thom stayed for the entire concert.  He enjoyed the organ pieces and the piano piece, but I think his favorite parts were played by the two handbell choirs.  Just before he bugged-out I commented on how surprised – -and pleased  — I was that he stayed. I also pointed out that the building hadn’t collapsed — it didn’t even give a little shudder.  He said, “Yeah, well, don’t get any ideas.  I’m still a heathen and I’m staying that way!”

But you know, for a heathen, he does a great job of living by the golden rule.  Mahalo, Thom, for stopping by.  It meant a lot to me to have somebody in the audience listening.

(See Thom’s version of this story here.)

(No bus drivers were harmed in the making of this post.)

I Are a Ding-A-Ling

Our church has a handbell choir.  I have joined.  Last night was my first practice. I learned quite a bit:

I learned that I have forgotten quite a bit about reading music, and I cannot tell my left hand from my right hand — I kept ringing the B bell when I should have rang the C bell and vise versa — and I learned that I need new glasses!

I could not see the staff lines clearly, so I would play every note on my area of the staff, whether it was mine or not.  Teacher pointed out that I had no notes in the second measure.  I peered at the music and agreed with her.  We started over.  I played my 8 notes in the first measure — and the whole note in the second measure – the note only Bobby should have played.

Teacher said, “You have no notes in the second measure.”  I nodded my head.  We started over.  And I again played the whole note in the second measure.

Teacher said, “That is not your note.”  I told her, “Yes.  I know.  I am sorry.”  And we started over.

And we started over ….

And we started over.

Apparently, I cannot count, either.

Teacher took my music.  She marked the notes for my B bell in green. She marked the notes for my C bell in red.  She pointed to my music, “You play the green and red notes only, Okay?”  I agreed.  She said, “Look you have no notes in the second measure.”  I agreed.  We started over.

And I played the whole note in the second measure.  Argh!

Fortunately, I had signed up for the beginner’s class, and other people were making similar mistakes.  Teacher had us all stop, then she went around one-by-one and had us each play our own first 8 measures.  With no one to distract me, I did beautifully.  And, I’m proud to say, when we returned to playing as a group, I no longer played the whole note in the second measure.

Maybe next Monday we’ll work on telling my left hand from my right hand.