Ringers from all over the South West come together to show what handbell music is all about… The Sou’westers present music from the shows, Gilbert and Sullivan and the classics – as well as music written specially for handbells.
If you’ve never heard music played on handbells – now is your chance. It’s a surprisingly mellow and pure sound and whatever your taste in music, lively or easy listening, there will be something for you.
The beginnings of handbell ringing can be traced to the 16th century in England. Tower bell ringers could practise in the comfort of village inns, away from the drafty belfry, and it was not long before they realised that the bells could be used to play simple tunes. The tuned musical handbell was introduced during the 17th century and ringing skills developed as competitions were held between rival bands playing complicated scores and using large numbers of bells.
Sad to say, following the First World War, handbell ringing virtually ceased until interest was rekindled in 1967 with formation of Handbell Ringers of Great Britain. Some of these dedicated handbell musicians, who think it is worthwhile keeping the tradition alive, come together on a regular basis in Taunton to enjoy playing a wide variety of music on three sets of bells, augmented by bass chimes.
During the interval they’ll be glad to talk to anyone interested about the bells and the techniques used.
Tickets: £9, £6Conc.
A feast for the eye and the ear, you’ll be surprised by the mellow tones of 200 plus handbells rung in harmony.