Chatting with the authors of ‘Change ringing on handbells’

Interview with Tina Stoecklin and Simon Gay

Just as change ringing on handbells requires each ringer to have two bells, this perfectly formed podcast on the subject has two guests. Host Cathy Booth chats with Tina and Simon, authors of the latest must-have handbell manual.

As always, this podcast asks all the right questions. What is best, tower or hand bells? Will online ringing last post lock-down? Is bell ringing music? And should you start with hand bells and then move onto tower bells, or vice versa?

As well as addressing the big issues Cathy also finds out the fascinating process behind writing and publishing their book, discovers the joy of e-bells and gets insider information on the progress of Volume 2 and likely publication date.

Think handbells aren’t for you? Then listen to this podcast and think again.

About Tina and Simon

Simon Gay and Tina Stoecklin are the team behind the Learn to Ring Handbells blog (www.handbellringing.co.uk), and are authors of Change Ringing on Handbells Vol1.  While they met in a bell tower (St Mary Abbot Kensington), they have a shared love of handbell ringing.  They have been ringing handbells with their current band for over 12 years, and have progressed together from single Surprise methods to ringing Smith’s 23-spliced and Horton’s 4.  They host regular handbell gatherings with the aim of spreading ringing activity in Scotland (and having fun with handbells). They are now working to develop a Surprise Royal handbell band in Glasgow and teaching handbell ringing to new ringers.  Simon is also one of the developers of e-Bells.

Simon, who comes from a ringing family, was taught to ring by his father at the age of 9, picking up handbell ringing along the way.  He became a more serious handbell ringer after starting a degree at Imperial College, and rang many peals with Roger Bailey and the other members of the Imperial College lunchtime band.

Tina’s ringing journey started in Kalamazoo College, where she attended a lecture on change ringing by Jeff Smith.  She rang her first peal in hand before ever touching a rope.  Despite gaps of no handbell ringing at all, and a particularly long ‘Kent apprenticeship’ she has always considered herself a handbell ringer first.

Tina and Simon moved from London to Glasgow in 2000 and have been regular members of the band at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, and between them have held several roles within the Scottish Association. 

Top 5 takeaways

  • Tina and Simon’s book ‘Change-Ringing on Handbells Volume 1:Basic Techniques’ is available from their website www.handbellringing.co.uk That’s also where you can read their blog
  • Give handbell ringing a go at ringingroom.co.uk Alternatively, grab yourself some e-bells at https://ebells.co.uk and give handbell stadium a go https://handbellstadium.org
  • Why not incorporate handbells into your tower bell practice night? It might keep your learners extra motivated whilst they are getting to grips with their bell handling
  • Check out the survival and recovery toolbox from the Association of Ringing Teachers for some great resources to help your ringers return post-lockdown https://ringingteachers.org/survival-and-recovery-toolbox
  • Take a leaf out of the book and consider building conducting in to standard training and development, rather than leaving until later or seeing it as a different skill

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