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The Ocean Journey – Day 1

Let me start off by saying that I am not a writer. I can do snappy tweets and engaging posts, but I’ve never actually tried my hand at blogging before. Please remember with each new blog this week: you have been warned.

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THE Blog HeaderToday was our first full day at sea. We did not have many things about which we could worry. There was plenty of food, scads of activities, and lots of time for lounging around by the pool. The one task we did have to do was handbell rehearsal!

We all met in the conference center on deck two for a fun morning with clinician Stephanie Rhoades. The very first task of the day was finding our ringer packets which contained our name tag, festival music, pencil, and some advertising cards to hand out to other passengers.

After everyone introduced themselves and said where home was, Stephanie jumped right into the music. The first piece we rehearsed was Karen Thompson’s ‘Acclimation in G Minor’. Stephanie worked with ringers on precision ringing and the patterns within the music. She also had us watching for dynamics and tempo markings.

The next piece was Fred Gramann’s ‘Passacaglia in C minor’. This simple yet elegant piece was an instant success with everyone. Stephanie took the time to focus on the dynamics of the piece and making sure everyone made the tempo change near the end. Little did everyone know what piece was in store for them next.

Before anyone knew the next piece for the morning, Stephanie did a quick poll of the room to see who knew what a passacaglia was and if anyone had played some of the others that are published for handbells. After the poll and a quick history lesson…BAM…Michael Glasgow’s transcription of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ was next.

If you have never rang ‘Firework’ or even looked at it, this blogger would recommend you do on the slightest chance that it is ever part of a festival or requested by a bride. While some positions have repletion in patterns and others have constant changes every single measure, this is one tough piece. Those who had played the song before chuckled about half way through as they all knew what the rest of us did not – it is going to go lightening fast the next time we see this piece.

After a good amount of time spent learning the different requirement of ‘Firework’ (and maybe a tweet to Michael Glasgow), the ringers got a well-deserved break.

The second-morning session found the ringers learning different techniques and tools to help them not only at Summit 2016 but in their ringing lives. Stephanie presented a fantastic blog article from Linda Krantz (see that article here) on how she prepares lots of music or even just a few pieces when time is of the essence. Stephanie also stressed the importance of being a good sight reader. While she talked about tools to help improve one’s sight reading skill, she pointed out that those who can see patterns and more of the big picture are the ringers who do well with new music. She also hinted that being good at sight ringing can help lower one’s stress level when new music is coming out at church or in your community group.

The last part of the morning was spent touching up each of the pieces that we had worked on for the day. Everyone felt much more confident when we rang ‘Firework’ the second time. Stephanie even started to increase the tempo on the last run through.

Now you might think that ringing on a cruise ship would have its challenges – moving ship, rolling bells, not enough table space, or other passengers always walking through the room. We did not experience one of those things this morning. A few passengers did look into the conference center as they walked past, but most were headed to the sunshine on the upper decks. The real challenges are what to eat at dinner and which shore excursions to take…in Cozumel, Mexico.

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If you enjoyed this blog post from our Social Media & Communications Chair – Jeremy Springer – please stay tuned as we’ll have one new post and lots of new photos each day of Summit 2016: The Ocean Journey.

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