Love under Lockdown : Ringing Room creators

An interview with Leland Kusmer and Bryn Reinstadler

One of the very best things to have happened over the past year is the development of the online ringing platform, Ringing Room. In this special Valentine’s podcast, host Cathy Booth interviews Leland and Bryn, the driving force behind this amazing achievement and now one of ringing’s most famous couples.

Bryn Reinstadler and Leland Kusmer, credit Mira Whiting 

Of course, for Ringing Room to have happened, Leland and Bryn had to have met. Cathy wastes no time in finding out the details of their burgeoning romance and discovers that going a transatlantic ringing tour just three weeks into dating might well have been a definitive moment!

Although the interview focuses on their relationship, this podcast is also very much a paean to ringing itself. Both Leland and Bryn are so clearly in love with bell ringing and gladly share the joy and fulfilment that it brings to their lives.

Of course, Leland and Bryn are not the only couple to have been brought together by ringing. A study conducted in 1989 assures that simple eye contact could make a person fall in love with you. Remember this the next time you find yourself gazing into the eyes of the conductor during a peal …

About Leland Kusmer

Leland learned to ring about a decade ago at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where circumstances conspired to make him the only instructor almost as soon as he learned to hunt! He served as Ringing Master there for several years and guided the band to ring the first all-local quarter peal in more than 40 years. Leland has rung on 3 continents, but now calls the Boston area home; his favorite method is Double Norwich Court Bob Major, though Lancashire Surprise is probably a close second.

Since those early experiences at Smith, Leland’s ringing focus has always been on supporting new learners and developing bands. He has taught ringing theory and history in a variety of settings, including as a non-credit course for MIT students, and co-developed Ringing Room to allow ringers from near and far to ring together.

About Bryn Reinstadler

Bryn has been ringing for about 3 years, mostly in and around the Boston, MA area. She started ringing handbells on Monday nights with the local guild and never looked back! Her first quarter peal was a few months later and she was officially hooked. Since then, she’s rung dozens of quarter peals and over 20 peals, including several performances as conductor. Her favorite method is whichever one she’s working on at the moment.

Bryn Reinstadler and Leland Kusmer

She’s also taken an active interest in the community side of ringing, co-organizing the 2019 AGM for the North American Guild of Change Ringers, co-teaching a non-credit course for MIT students, and being a contributing member of a working group on Women in Ringing for the CCCBR. She is also a co-developer of the online ringing platform Ringing Room, a place for ringers to gather together during the coronavirus crisis and beyond. As an “adult learner” herself, she believes that change ringing is composed of learnable skills that can be taught to people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds, and that inclusion, diversity, and accessibility can only enrich our wonderful tradition.

Top 5 takeaways

  • Ringing Room is not just for COVID-19 – it’s an amazing resource to meet and ring with people in dispersed areas and for teaching and training.
  • When ringing in the tower, once you have pulled off, look around. You’ve already got all you need to know from the bell you are following, so cast your eyes around. This will help you develop your rope sight.
  • Although ringing tower bells and handbells is very different, you can link what you you know about both to get a deeper understanding about method structures.
  • Check out the Bradfield Ringing Course
  • Facing a long journey or commute? It’s the perfect time to get to grips with learning a method.

Photo credits

Mira Whiting

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