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The tradition of a tower dinner at All Saints goes back to the resurgence of the band around 1980, with the dinner held in January every year since 1984. During that time a long line of clergy, wardens and musical directors have been invited to attend as guest speakers. This year we were pleased to welcome Geoff Davies with his wife Maggie.
All Saints ringers has always been a welcoming band and the tower dinner has become a popular focus for other ringers in the area with whom we regularly ring. This year visiting ringers and their partners accounted for almost half of the 34 who attended the dinner at Sandmartins Golf Club.
A key feature for many years has been a short musical performance between the meal and the speeches – fittingly not just any old music but changeringing. Of course we can’t take the tower bells with us so the ringing was on handbells.
Ringing changes on handbells is a thriving activity but it is rarely heard in public – unlike tower bell ringing. The only times at All Saints this century were bell-themed concert in 2001, a couple of weddings while the bells were out in 2004, and the opening the Flower and Vestments Festival in 2014. The sound of handbells is clearer and more intimate, which helps to bring out out the intricacy of the music of changeringing.
Another innovation in recent years has been a quiz, which this year gave most of us an opportunity to show how bad we were at recognising pictures of British cathedrals.
John Harrison (February 2017)
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