Emanuel Ringers

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Whistler Day 11: Final Performance, Mountain Highs, Birthday Surprise

Today we performed at the Fairmont Chateau in Whistler at noon. This concert was a bit of a smaller turnout but it was a little bit sad as we said goodbye to Jake and Chris. Jake is going to college this fall and it was his last concert and Chris is retiring this year. 

 Afterwards we went up Mount Whistler on a gondola. We then did the peak to peak gondola to gondola which was 4.4 kilometers unsupported over a valley 1000+ feet below. 

After getting down the mountain mostly calm we went and got Canadian  pizza. The difference? There wasn't much but it was good. Is there anything else I'm forgetting? Oh right! It's my birthday, as of now it seems everyone else is scheming to do something at dinner right now.


We started the day off with a breakfast at the hotel, then met up in the lobby to quickly go over some musical notes (no pun intended.) Anyways, we headed up to the nearby hotel for our final performance of the tour. After a quick "knuckle-through" of the pieces, we gave a wonderful performance for the people who happened to stop by. I honestly thought this was my favorite performance of the trip, and it was a great way for me to end my handball career (for now at least.)

Afterwards, we went out on our own for lunch. I spend my afternoon at a wonderful bakery called Hot Buns (not my first choice for a name, but whatever) and had a delicious crepe with some of the other members of the choir. The tome had then come to face my fear of heights once again; we were headed up the nearby Whistler mountain in a very rickety gondola headed up the mountain. Once again I was forced to stare my fear in the eyes, and once more I came out on top. At the top, the view was gorgeous. Snow capped peaks and amazing vistas distracted my from the thought "Oh my God I'm gonna fall any minute now." But the worst was yet to come. Just like the Capilano suspension bridge (which I ALSO blogged about, coincidentally), we attended another high-flying view: the Peak 2 Peek railcar experience.

This railcar ran between the top of the maintain and a nearby peak, giving a beautiful view of the valley below while the car goes at a speed of about 25 feet/sec. I swear, I'm cursed with all the days with high oriented attractions to take pictures of. Anyways, once we arrived at the base of the mountain, we headed to the hotel for a quick power nap, then headed to the Brewhouse, a nearby restaurant. There, we were treated to endless pizza and soda while we celebrated the birthday of someone in our choir (hint: he's also doing the blog for today. Fancy that!)

Finally, we returned to the hotel to prepare to leave tomorrow. All on all, it was a very good way to round out the trip, and although I love it here in Canada, I do miss home. So, see you later, friends and fans.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Whistler Day 10: Getting to Whistler

We started off today with a fabulous breakfast. Even though some of our alarms didn't go off (we blamed this on the ghosts from last night's tour) we were all on time to start the long bus ride to the ferry. Our three hour bus ride was luckily broken up with a nice rest stop at a little market. A lot of us napped on our way, because we didn't sleep much last night. Then we took a ferry back to the Vancouver Island port and resumed our bus ride. We had another pit stop at Shannon Falls, a beautiful place to hike for a great view (pictures attached). 
We checked into our hotel in Whistler and had a walking tour of the town. The town was really pretty and reminded us of Disney World because of its shops and ambiance. We then had a group dinner and relaxed for the rest of the night. 
We're excited for our performance tomorrow and to explore the rest of this beautiful city. 

-Sonja, Asher

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Victoria Day 9: Museum, St. Mary's Hospital, Craigdarroch Castle....Ghost Walk...BOO!!

Today we met for breakfast at 0830 and after breakfast a bunch of us played cards or watched people playing cards or  worked on the blog. We met for the museum at 0940. We walked around the museum and saw a bunch of fossils and old things! We watched an IMax movie about mammoths and things around that time period and then we ate lunch at the food trucks.

After lunch we drove to St. Mary's nursing home and performed for the people there. Then we went to the Craigdarroch Castle (which was more of a mansion than a castle) before taking the scenic route to dinner. After dinner we will have a free night to chill and relax, which will be nice.

Hi everyone back home! Today was probably one of the more exciting days because we finally did the ghost tour. On this ghost tour it was explained to us that the island of Victoria is a very haunted places and maybe the final resting places of the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper.

We learned about the old town hall where the hangings would happen back in the 1800's. The old building has been reported as the most haunted building in all of Victoria. After the hangings the priest would ask if anybody would claim the body but most of the time no one would  claim the bodies. They would rest in the town hall until the church would take them but that didn't always happen and the bodies were left to rot. And when the buildings needed to be renovated the bodies were buried under the foundation and forgotten for ever.  Including to young children who were later found not guilty of all crimes.

We also learned about different stories like a domestic dispute gone deadly and the possible last Jack the Ripper murder. Although these were some really spooky stories we didn't have to much sleeping off the scary stories.

Hope everything at home is great!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Victoria Day 8: Sea Voyage, Gardens and History

Today is Monday August 1st. Today started with us going on the bus to bring us to the ferry that brought us to Victoria island, where we'd spend our day. Seeing and being on a ferry that could hold multiple buses, and on multiple floors, and still have other stores was really amazing to think about, and the boat ride itself was a a experience as well (arcades help). 

Once we got to Victoria island we went to the wonderful Butchart Gardens which, was an amazing time because seeing all of the plants and flowers the regular gardens was beautiful. The Japanese garden was an especially serene scene. We then proceeded to have tea and cookies during the afternoon. After the gardens we went to the parliament building of British Columbia. It was almost spooky how close Canadian history is to US history. After the parliament building we had a successful practice and after that we had a free evening to have dinner, where we split up and tried many restaurants.

-Alex, Andrew 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Vancouver Day 7: St. Andrews Church, Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain

I have never had a day as terrifying and as beautiful than today. 

Let's start at the beginning. Reeling from a fantastic final concert the previous night, we woke up early in the morning to the touring portion of the day. After loading all of our gear onto the tour bus, which is driven by our new friend Doug (who has a great beard like my dad and uncle), we headed to St. Andrew's church for a performance during their worship service. We contributed 4 pieces to worship and were a welcomed addition.  After a quick and charming lunch with the members of the congregation, we headed to our next stop: the Capilano Suspension bridge. 
Let me tell you a little bit about this bridge. The bridge is 400 feet long with a 200+ foot drop straight into a river. The bridge was filled with people, so it was swaying left and right. Kids were running around, bumping into me, people stopped to take selfies right in front of me. But the view was absolutely gorgeous, being the sunny day that it was. I managed to take one picture, despite the fact that my hand was shaking. After we all made it to the other side, we took a tour of the flora and fauna of the surrounding rain forest (Fun Fact: the Banana Slug has 27,000 teeth and four antennae: two detect light, two detect chemical trails) and had a bit of fun in the suspension bridges built into the trees. After crossing back over the main bridge (during which a kid ran into me and I had to resist the urge to punt him) we took the Cliffwalk tour (imagine a bridge built alongside a rock without any supports reaching the ground. Yikes!) and headed on our way. 
The last stop of the day was at Grouse Mountain. We had to take a gondola to reach the peak of the mountain, and every squeak of the cables and every shudder the cab reminded me of how painfully far we were from the ground. At the top, we were treated to a wonderful Lumberjack Competition, where two flannel-clad men competed in various tree related activities, like carving or axe throwing. After a dinner in a room with a beautiful view, we rode the gondola again to the safety of sea level. 
I have to say, despite the fact that I faced my fear nearly every hour of my day today, the views I got to experience were far worth it. Tomorrow will be even better. But until then.


Today we said good-bye to many of our symposium friends, including Eileen and Peter Laurence and Jay and Georgia Roelof. We then played in the morning worship service at St. Andrews UCC Church. We were welcomed warmly by the congregation and were served lunch. Our next stop was the Capilano suspension bridge where we walked along a the treetops. Next, we took a gondola ride to the top of Grouse Mountain.  We saw a lumberjack show and had an amazing dinner. We can't wait to have more fun tomorrow!


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Vancouver Day 6: Symposium Final Day

It's finally here- the final day of the 17th international handbell symposium! Today was filled with excitement as we showed off our collective skills and progress in the final concert. We had an early start to the day, getting to the convention center at 8:30 for a full dress rehearsal. During this time, we got to hear groups that we hadn't heard before, like the festival choir which had rehearsed for the first time together during workshops. It was pretty nerve wracking to finally be running everything straight through, but one of our conductors told us that rough rehearsals lead to a fantastic performance (and he was right). The rest of the day was a blur as we got dressed & ready for the concert at 2. It was so great to perform and show our progress. All of the songs sounded great and it was amazing to see everyone's hard work pay off.

After the concert there was tons of applause. Lots of us went to find the conductors to get selfies and have them sign our copies of the music. Even if this symposium music is getting stored away when we get home, it will be fun for future ringers to know that we met the piece's directors. It was great for us to develop relationships with the conductors throughout the week- our choir even got a shout out during rehearsal from American conductor Ed Rollins.

It was amazing to ring with the hundreds of other fellow ringers in the hall. We really brought the music to life, and the hall was filled with peace after playing songs from all over the world. It was a one of a kind experience that we are thankful to be a part of. The ceremonial closing bell ended the evening after a (long) banquet. After the banquet, Singapore is now a member of the international handbell committee, and everyone is excited for the 2018 symposium in Cairns, Australia. Now it's off to our tour.

Thank you again for all your support!

-Sonja and Akimoto

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Vancouver Day 5: International Solo - The Magnificent Seven

We woke up today thinking we had half an hour to get ready until we had to meet downstairs in the lobby at 7:15. But then we get a suddenly get a call saying that the rest of the choir had already left. We rushed around our hotel room trying to get our things ready and we rushed out to meet the rest of the choir. Completely worn out from waking up earlier than usual and running to catch up, we began our morning rehearsal for our solo today. 

Yesterday in preparation for our solo (Magnificent Seven), a couple of people from the choir set out to a dollar store to find the cowboy related attire. We bought 17 straw cowboy hats and headed back feeling pumped up for our solo. This morning we brought in our hats and rehearsed feeling excited to play our solo. Before many of us were feeling intimidated by the other choirs in the earlier mini concerts. However, by the end of our practice we were ready to hit the road with our horses. 

After our second mass rehearsal, it was time. We prepared and set up out attire. Everyone was nervous and also excited. The most important thing was to have fun. As we began our piece, many of us were moving to the beat of the music and dancing. We ended the song with a loud "yeeeeee haw!!!!" and large smiles on everyone's faces. Although we were unsure of how our solo was going to end, we would probably have ended the piece with the biggest smile on our faces. And that is all that really matters in the long run. 

With lots of love Mio and Lexie.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Vancouver Day 4: Ringing, Ringing and more Ringing

Thursday was a spectacular day. In the morning I went to la petite crêpe, as did EVERYONE else.  After this was a massed rehearsal where we could now see progress in our music which is an amazing feeling. Then there was the workshop where I got to roam the marketplace, and ring the G1! Everyone there was nice!  We weren't rubbish this time. Following this was lunch, and then a mini concert!, and ANOTHER rehearsal. Then another concert.

Both of the mini concerts had really interesting music played by both choirs and individual ringers. After this, I, along with others got to play Russian music! the music we played was both historic, and fun to play. After this was the West Coast Aboriginal Experience at the Hyatt Regency hotel. The had lots of different food to eat, and it was all great. Then there was vocal music, some of which I might want to transpose for bells.

-Andrew, Asher

(please follow us on Twitter @NYRingers)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Vancouver Day 3: Learning and Sharing

We were happy to have Maria Ebling arrive safely here in Vancouver! We had an early wake up call and off to the convention center at 8:00 AM. We participated in a massed rehearsal where all the ringers at the symposium gather together in one room and practice the pieces that we will be playing. There are approximately 900 ringers. That is a lot of bells!!

After the massed rehearsal, we participated in different classes. I went to the Writing Chinese Lucky Messages class where we learned how to write messages in Chinese characters using Inc. and brushes. I made some for friends and family. After the Chinese lucky message class, we had lunch at the symposium. Were able to sit with new and old friends and enjoy an amazing lunch from symposium. There were multiple performances by different choirs from around the world showing off their talents. We ended the evening with an amazing concert including the Shoei Girls Choir who received a standing ovation for their rendition of the Nutcracker.


Barbara Brocker, bell tree soloist

 Shoei Girls' High School

David writing Chinese Lucky Messages

 On day three on the biannual handbell symposium, we had our first set of workshops. The workshops are designed specifically for the ringers to enhance there ringing style or ways to make ringing "easier" per say. For example Mio and I did a class called "Groove to the bellz(not a spelling mistake) with the cajón". The cajón is a Peruvian instrument that is essentially a wood box that you hit in different places to make different noises. The class was amazing because we played different pop songs like Katy Perry's fireworks. Today was great and I am so excited for what tomorrow has for us.

On another note I wanted to take this time to thank the families at home that have made this possible. Without you guys we wouldn't have be able to have such a great experience and meet people and learn to things to further enhance our abilities. Thank you and all the love to the families back home!


(please follow us on Twitter @NYRingers)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Vancouver Day 2: Let the Ringing Begin!

Today we got to wake up late. Yay! We all dispersed to get breakfast before heading over to the Convention center at 10:45 to practice the Magnificent Seven (our solo). We broke for lunch getting food at the nearby food court. Following lunch came the opening ceremony. Each of the nations involved were represented in a procession. This was followed be speeches. . . . Many. Many. Speeches. Each head of the associations in each nation were introduced. And there were many more speeches. The opening chord was struck and so it began.
 Seeing the multitude of bells arranged on the tables, showed how that despite all of the language barriers each and every one of us understood the language of music. As the rehearsal progressed it felt like one giant family that had come together from the ends of the world to make music and to have fun. With a few difficulties in the language department we powered through the meet and greet meeting many new people from all different choirs. Jokes were told, there was much laughter and fun, and after we got back from a varied dinner we played a great game of Cards.

-Akimoto, Alex

(please follow us on Twitter @NYRingers)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Vancouver Day 1: An Introduction to Vancouver / Symposium Setup

Today, (25/7/2016), we met in the lobby of our hotel at 11:00 to talk about breakfasts and lunches. Then, we walked down to Robson St. to look at the many lunch options. A bunch of us went to H-Mart to eat lunch. We walked around a bit and found a candy store where some of us got candy. We hung out and played cards and watched Aki play Undertale for a while before meeting in the hotel lobby to walk to the convention center and register for the actual symposium. 

We set up our bells and rehearsed our solo song, Magnificent Seven, and some of us realized we needed a few more rehearsals to get the sound right in this new space... After this, we are going to dinner at the Spaghetti Factory here.     

First of all: what a day!

Out first day in Vancouver certainly was busy. After some well needed sleep, we woke up at 9:30 to start the day. A quick shower ensued and we finally got out into the city. Our first stop was good old Starbucks for some caffeine and food, where we were greeted by the ever-friendly people of Canada. After refueling, we made the 20 minute journey on foot to the local Whole Foods to gather supplies for breakfast tomorrow. On the way, we saw several amazing sights, like statues and beautiful buildings (as seen in the pictures below) that give you an idea of how beautiful the city of Vancouver really is. The next few hours were spent at leisure, with activities like browsing the local stores and swimming in the hotel pool. 

At 4pm, the whole choir took out bells and cases down to the waterfront where we were treated to a gorgeous view of the waterfront framed by the distant Canadian Rockies. The sky was clear, the sea was shining, and the sunlight danced off the waves, making the whole scene seem like a paradise on Earth. 

We made our way into the Vancouver Convention Center and set up all our bells at our assigned tables. After a quick tuning and a run through of The Magnificent Seven, we all headed out to have a group dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory to round out the day.

Honestly, I could not ask for a more perfect day. The sun shone, the weather was warm, and I could not ask for a more perfect day to report on. So until next time, this is ringer Jake White signing off!   

(please follow us on Twitter @NYRingers)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Vancouver Preperations and the Journey

Hello faithful blog followers! Although we are typing this from Vancouver, BC right now, our journey started three days before during "crunch time" for the symposium rehearsals. Before this trip, some of us were away on vacations- but in the end, we all came together to play beautiful music, no matter how jet lagged we were! (@Mio) Although some of the symposium songs were intimidating, we did the best we could together. By the time we wrapped rehearsals up (literally, with lots and lots bubble wrap) we were ready to take our skills to Canada.

The day of our flight, our families and friends waved goodbye as we departed the church. We got to the airport safely and had time to play cards and get excited about our trip. (Sometimes we got a little too excited, but what else do you expect from us rowdy teens?) We got off our plane safely, and unloading all of the equipment went smoothly- a huge success for us. As we headed to our hotel, we were all excited to start our journey in Vancouver- or to sleep- but we accidentally got dropped off at the wrong hotel! Good thing the correct one was literally just across the street.Now we are all cozy in our hotel rooms, and we write this blog post as we are about to pass out. Thank you for being our supporters through this journey; for your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. We are all so excited to share our music with people from all over the world. More to come!

-Mio and Sonja

(Also please note that you can join our experience on Twitter - @NYRingers)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Less than 2 weeks away! We are ready to head to Vancouver. Follow us on this blog or through Twitter:@NYRingers.

Last three rehearsals are on July 20-22 All are welcome to come to these open rehearsals to hear what we will be ringing at the Symposium and Tour. 6:45-8:45 PM.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

 2016 Annual Concert Program

Thursday, May 26, 2016