Hot on the heels of the launch of the new Learning the Ropes Advanced Call Change Scheme, show host Cathy Booth chats with four call change aficionados.
Clare, Dee, John and Ian are all delighted to see the new scheme in place and look forward to the huge benefits it will bring. With the focus on good listening and bell control, the scheme aims to recognise the skills of call change ringers across the country and result in accurate, musical and stylish ringing.
But should you call the changes up or call them down? Possibly the most controversial question tackled by this podcast since the ‘jam or cream first’ cream tea rumpus! Thankfully Cathy’s guests handle this and other sensitive subjects knowledgeably, diplomatically and amicably. That is, until someone brings up the handstroke gap …
About Clare McArdle
Clare learned to ring in the 1970s at Harborne in Birmingham. Although she rings methods, she has always enjoyed ringing and calling call changes throughout her ringing career.
Clare is one of the founders of the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing. The School was established in 2013 to professionalise ringing training and provide an environment where students can guarantee that they are taught well, at their own pace, and get to a position where they are a valued member of a local band of ringers.
The inspiration for the Learning the Ropes Advanced Call Changes scheme came from a survey of LtR ringers and teachers, which showed that a major barrier to progress was the lack of reliable helpers and conductors to support the progression of new ringers from call changes into method ringing, especially where new bands were being taught. Taking a critical look at the original Learning the Ropes scheme Clare could see that a parallel scheme focussing on call changes could address this and so, the Advanced Call Changes scheme was born. The scheme draws on the Devon Call Changes tradition for much of its higher levels, but there is a big emphasis on developing versatility and conducting skills at all levels.
About Dee Smith
Dee learnt to ring as a teenager in North Herts. In the 80s her parents retired to Cornwall and on her visits to them, she had the privilege of ringing Call Changes with the local ringers and going on tour with the Cornish Choughs.
For many years Dee has lived in Burwell, Cambs where she is the Tower Captain. After the ringing lockdown restrictions were lifted, she volunteered her tower to pilot the ART Advanced Call Change
Scheme. This proved to be a highly successful decision. Following the course not only helped her ringers to regain their bell-handling skills but gave them the confidence to call and ring a variety of
Call Changes. Her aspiration for the band members is to perfect cartwheel leading and to call the Sixty on Thirds.
About Ian Avery
Ian started learning to ring at the age of 9 in Kingsteignton, Devon – a glorious 1929 Gillett and Johnson peal of 8 in F, with a tenor of 16-3-11.
Devon has many call-change towers and although over 100 method peals have been rung here, Kingsteignton remains a call-change tower very much.
Kingsteighton are fortunate in having a healthy number of ringers spread across an age range of about 60 years. Ian’s father was tower captain here for 60 years, a role he is honoured and privileged to be continuing.
Ian has been so lucky in this respect as it has allowed him to win many competitions over the past 50 years and Kingsteignton are presently 8-bell Devon champions. They have also won this competition more than any other tower in the county.
The tower band has good relationships with all 4 Kingsteignton schools and are currently in the process of a recruitment campaign and after giving presentations in the schools, inviting years 4-9 to the tower to ‘have a go’.
Ian enjoys both method and call-change ringing and regularly does both along with other like-minded colleagues.
About Jon Bint
Jon is the current Tower Captain at Chagford & Drewsteignton, taking the reins after Julia Endacott. Taught by Percy Rice, Jon learnt to handle a rope at St Michael’s in Archangel in 1976. As a mature student studying Music at the University of Birmingham Jon was Master of BUSCR 1994-95, holds two NUA titles and also gained two special mentions tenoring to Grandsire Doubles.
Another ringing love story; Jon met his future wife Ruth when training her to ring in Drewsteignton as well as more recently training three of their four children to ring, the fourth is part way there.
Top 5 Takeaways
- Find out about the new Advanced Call Change scheme and get your ‘log book’ at the Learning the Ropes website
- Fancy calling some call changes but lacking on confidence – why not try calling them from outside the circle?
- If accurate striking is your goal, try practising with a simulator – your band of ‘robot’ ringers will keep you in place
- Want to help your band to get to grips with call changes? There are some great resources in the ART toolbox
- Interested in finding out more about Devon Call Change ringing? Check out Cathy’s earlier interview with Ryan Trout