During October, Music for all @ SMSG introduced the 1st Stony Stratford Beavers to the joys of bell ringing and the work in progress on the Willis Pipe organ during two of their regular evening meetings.  For the first evening, Lesley and Kieran took their set of bell plates to the Scout hut and taught the Beavers how to ring tunes together on the bell plates.  The bell plates are a way of introducing handbell ringing to people - they are more portable than handbells and have the same type of ringing action.

Afterwards their leaders wrote "A huge thank you to Mr & Mrs Salter from Music For All at Saint Mary and St Giles for this evening's session, where Beavers were able to experience and create the power of music for themselves! It was a pleasure to watch and the Beavers loved it!"

The following week instead of going to the Scout hut all the Beavers came to St Mary & St Giles Church for their meeting.  They started their meeting standing around the font in their circle, then were put in 3 groups.  One group went to the belltower, one group went to Lesley to play the bell plates again and one group went to Anna to find out a little bit about the pipe organ and to blow a couple of wooden fair ground organ pipes she had brought from home (no one was allowed to touch the Willis organ pipes).  The group came up to the gallery to see the organ console, look inside the organ chambers and at the pipes stored along the galleries (these were roped off so they could look but not touch).  They were full of questions and were thrilled to be allowed to take it in turns to sit at the console even though the organ cannot play at the moment. In the bell tower Kieran and Chris demonstrated church bell ringing to them and the children each had an opportunity to try bell ringing themselves which they thoroughly enjoyed.

We rotated the 3 groups so each group had 20 minutes of each activity.  They finished their meeting around the font when they sang the Beaver song.

Afterwards their leaders wrote "Last evening, 21 Beaver Scouts and 10 adults met at St Mary & St Giles Church and took turns around 3 musical activities; climbing the twisty staircase up to the bell tower to discover how the bells ring (largest bell is as big as a Beaver Scout!); climbing up to the gallery to find out about the Willis Pipe Organ (which has 1,731 pipes!) and the restoration project; and playing a tune on the bell plates at the front of the church. Again, a big thank you to Anna, Kieran and Lesley for letting the Beavers explore the church and experience Music For All!"

We were delighted to give the Beavers this opportunity to learn a little bit about music making in the church.  The photos of their visit were taken by Becky, the Beaver leader.

Beavers looking inside the organ chamber

Beavers looking inside the organ chamber

Beavers ring the bell plates

Beavers ring the bell plates

Beavers in the belltower

Beavers in the belltower

Beavers learning about organ pipes

Beavers learning about organ pipes

Beavers at the Willis organ console

Beavers at the Willis organ console

View of Beavers handbell ringing from the belltower

View of Beavers handbell ringing from the belltower

Learning about handbell ringing

Learning about handbell ringing

A Beaver tries church bellringing

A Beaver tries church bellringing

A Beaver tries church bellringing

A Beaver tries church bellringing

A Beaver tries church bellringing

A Beaver tries church bellringing