Emanuel Ringers

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday, August 4th, 2012


Today we woke up at a semi-reasonable hour of around 8 in the morning to prepare for our long day of playing bells. After breakfast, we made our way to the playing floor.  We had an amazing three and a half hour practice as a "run through" for the concert. This was an exasperating time on the trip, but it went quickly as it was soon time for lunch. Today we had potatoes and meatballs, lots of meat balls.  During the time we had lunch we had a little extra free time.  Most people got ready for the concert, but some just chilled. After the hour and a half of lunch/free time, it was our dress rehearsal. We practiced only the beginnings and endings of all our songs, just to refresh our memories before the concert. After the dress rehearsal, we prepared for the concert. At this time, all the procrastinators, who hadn't already done so, got dressed. We lined up fifteen minutes before the concert in our groups- nervous, dressed and ready to go. We heard them announce us from behind the curtain and the show began. For the most part we played the concert very well, apart from the left side (we were on the right) which was playing like there was a train to catch. It lasted two and a half some-odd hours, including a short encore. We were sooooo relieved to have the concert over and done with.  We were pretty proud of ourselves! We took a huge bow, whispered the ritual, "I love handbells." and walked out. We then went back to our hotel rooms and gussied up for the closing ceremony and banquet. Everyone looked  super fresh (stunning). We ate a great meal of Welsh beef and finally enjoyed some free, socialization time. (There was almost none in such an intense and tiresome week). The two choirs didn't end the celebration just then, we had a little surprise up our sleeves for our marvelous directors, Eiko and Eileen. We bought them each a baton, (handle colored specifically to match their personalities) and wrote the names of all the members of the trip on them. I (Ashley) also learned how to write a few messages in my Chinese writing workshop at the symposium and penned a message for Eiko in Chinese.  It was very appropriate for the setting: "I love handbells."  It was hard to tell, but I think it's safe to say that the two were slightly moved by our gesture. (They were "totes-magotes", or "totally" in Grace language, on the verge of tears). The closing ceremony proceeded with the recognition of everyone who was involved in the symposium process; from the guild members, to the directors, to the staff and, of course, the ringers!  After dinner, we went back up to our hotel rooms and finished packing. It was very late when some of us finished. After so much work, so much standing and not so much sleep, it was nice to finally be able to relax and look forward to our trip home!

Kim, Jessie, Grace (helped a little) and Ashley...( but mostly Ashley)

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