StonyLive! week was in full swing and so were the flower arrangers in SMSG Church, preparing for a three day flower festival in ho our of the Queen's 90th birthday. Amid this almost 80 people gathered to play and listen to the handbells on 8 June. St Mary and St Giles Church Handbell Ringers rang a programme of hymn tunes, including How great thou Art, Onward Christian Soldiers and The day thou gravest, Lord, is ended.
For the first time they rang an organ and handbell arrangement of the hymn tune Aurelia (The Church's one Foundation). Jacob Collins kindly accompanied the ringers on the newly restored Willis organ and it was great to hear them play together.
St Mary and St Giles School Handbell Team came to join in the concert and treated us to their favourite tunes, including Oranges and Lemons, All that I am and Colours of Day. Then to complete their programme, the children arranged themselves in a circle and rang rounds and plain hunting as if they were ringing the big tower bells. They had learnt to do this, unconducted, in just five practises and impressed the audience (and their teacher!) immensely.
The concert ended with both teams ringing the National Anthem with organ accompaniment!
Thank you to all the ringers for entertaining us with the ancient art of ringing handbells.
Donations from this concert and the following Band Concert raised £92.05 for the Disabled Access Fund.
Words by Lesley Salter, photos by Kieran Salter