Winterbourne (St.Michael's) Handbell Ringers Trip Down-Under 2006.Eleven People set off for Brisbane, Australia in August 2006 - four members of the Winterbourne St Michael's Handbell Ringers and seven family members. John Turner, his wife Maureen and son Nicholas were the first to fly out on Sunday 23rd July from Birmingham Airport. This was a direct flight with United Emirates to Brisbane via Dubai and Singapore arriving at 7am Tuesday 25th. Antony Jefferies, his wife Clare, sons Oliver and George were next to fly out on Wednesday 26th July on the same flight with United Emirates direct to Brisbane arriving Friday 28th July. Terry Jefferies, his wife Brenda and their other son Nigel flew out, also on the 26th, on a British Airways flight stopping over at Singapore for a day, arriving in Brisbane on Saturday 26th July. All arrived safely. Like Royalty, the team flew separately!
John and his family were staying with sister Judith and brother-in-law Gary who lives in Brisbane. The Jefferies family were staying together in apartments at Break Point, Surfers Paradise, about a one hour drive south of Brisbane. They all had a few days to settle in before they headed off to
The 12th International Handbell Symposium.The Symposium opened on Tuesday evening 1st August with a Mayoral Civic Reception (by invitation only). The Lord Mayor of Brisbane welcomed the International Committee members at the City Hall, King George Square Brisbane. Terry, our leader, was invited to the reception, and quite enjoyed himself. The Reception was followed by the Opening Ceremony in St John's Cathedral, Ann St. Brisbane, attended by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Govenor of Queensland, Representative of the Queen, accompanied by Mr Bryce and Ms Miranda Mason, Aide to the Governor. There followed a procession of the flags and a Musical Welcome to Australia, with Reef songs for vocal treble choir and Handbells, Birralee Voices and Australian Youth Handbell Choir. Then the Opening Chord - the sounding of the Symposium Chord rung by Presidents and Chairs of the Guilds of the International Handbell Committee:
American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (AGEHR)
Handbell Ringers of Japan (HRJ)
Handbell Ringers of Great Britain (HRGB)
Korean Handbell Association (KHA)
Handbell Guilds of Canada (HGC)
Handbell Society of Australia (HSA)
The Theme for the Symposium was
"Unity In Diversity"The following day, Wednesday 2nd August, the delegates arrived for Registration at the Convention Centre on the South Bank in Brisbane. Each Delegate was handed a commemorative Polo Shirt in Queensland green and yellow colours with the symposium symbol, a satchel and individual schedule previously arranged. Then off for a coffee and snack before making their way to the great hall to set up bells for the massed ringing rehearsals. Unfortunately, the foam padding for the tables was delayed so they all went out onto the main steps for an official photo session. When they returned to the hall, great piles of mattresses had arrived and were being distributed. These were a little big for the tables but they all managed to sort them out. There were nine massed ringing pieces to learn. Winterbourne team, mainly Antony and John, decided to participate in only two of the pieces as they were not sure what was involved. In addition, they had to transpose it into their numbered format. As they were quite long pieces, it would have been very time consuming. So, they practised their two pieces at the appropriate times of rehearsal and got on better than they thought they would - in retrospect it would have been better to have done more as it was such an enjoyable time actually participating. That evening they were all (five hundred-odd) taken down the coast by coach to "Dream World" for dinner and entertainment and directed through a "mock" street with shops where they were given drinks and canapes. A local Aboriginal serenaded them with his didgeridoo, dressed only in a loincloth and paint, and the staff brought around local wildlife in their arms, including a baby crocodile! All were then directed to a semi-enclosed restaurant where they enjoyed a three-course meal and entertainment by a local Bush Band. This turned into a kind of rock and roll band during the evening when they played old Elvis songs. Lots of people up dancing to the same songs the world over. A good time was had by all and everyone exchanged trinkets and momentos, which seems to be the custom, especially with the Asian countries. Then it was back on the coach and home to bed after a very busy day.
The next day Thursday 3rd was another day of rehearsal of all the pieces and John and Antony joined in when their particular pieces were being practised, with a break for coffee and lunch. Then in the afternoon there were workshops which included Basic Music arranging, American music for bells, Dreamtime Kullilla-Art, History and Mechanics of Bells, and Latin-American Dances, which incorporated dance steps whilst ringing. Winterbourne team ran a "Four-in-hand Winterbourne Style" workshop that went quite well and they also attended several other workshops, including "Maori Stick Games and music" which was great fun!
That evening, a concert was held for the adult teams who wanted to do solo performances and this continued until 9.45pm. Winterbourne team performed two pieces, "Those Magnificent men in their flying Machines" and "Tijuana Taxi". They learnt a valuable lesson (make sure any props you use are in good working order before the performance), as the old car horn they used in "Tijuana Taxi" failed them and spoilt the piece. But hey ho! Such is life!
Friday 4th August was another day of rehearsal, eating and Workshops with a concert in the evening and processional practice by the young ringers (who had been away in a different part of the centre most of the week doing their own thing) which finished again at 9.45pm. A good time was had by all. Saturday was the final day and the day of the Massed Ringing concert that they had all been working towards. Rehearsal started again as usual at 8.30am until lunchtime which was from 11.45 to 12.30pm. After which the ringers rehearsed for the first time with the Didgeridoo and Massed Vocal Choir. Then at 2pm everyone assembled for the Massed-ringing concert in the great hall which was open to the general public. The young ringers processed in ringing and swinging their bells interupted with relevant dialogue, which was very impressive. It all went very well without a hitch and was an amazing experience for all involved, never to be repeated.
Antony and John with their fanclub - Hakuoh University Handbell Choir from Japan.
The pieces played were:
Night - Matthew Orlovich. Conductor: Greame Morton, Australia with Michael Connelly on digeridoo and St Peter's Lutheran College Choir.
Bourre - J.S.Bach / William H Griffin. Conductor: William H Griffin - United States of America.
Silk Road - Kitaro / Kazuko Okamoto. Conductor: Sachiko Tanaka - Japan.
My Skating Song - Pat Thompson. Conductor: Dr John Hooper - Canada.
Come Thou Fount of Ev'ry Blessing - Cathy Moklebust. Conductor: Rev John in Chul Lee - Korean.
Flora (Japanese folk song) arr. Yasuhiro Otsuka. Conductor: Tatsumi Sadaie - Japan.
March of the Heroes - Robin Benton. Conductor: Robin Benton - Great Britain. With Brass and Timpani in C
O Day of Peace - Lee Afdahl. Conductor: Deborah Rice - United States of America.
Walzing Matilda (arr. P Bedford). Conductor: Philip Bedford - Australia
After the concert, everyone assembled for dinner in the evening in their finery during which the closing ceremony and the ringing of the closing chord was struck. It was a fabulous setting, with table decorations and many people in traditional dress. The lighting above was just like stars in the heavens. Everyone had a carved wooden handbell as a parting gift at their table setting. Then the presentations began, with Terry being handed one for his work running The Winterbourne Handbell Workshop and for the team performance in the concert.
Winterbourne was the only team from England to perform in the concerts.
Everyone agreed that it was a very successful, enjoyable and wel-run Symposium and all wished each other well and a safe journey to wherever. Many were staying on in Australia for a holiday or sightseeing or spending time with friends or relatives, which was also the case with the Winterbourne team.
One very sad piece of news we received on our return was that Mrs Carmel Daveson's husband died shortly after the Symposium. She is the President of the HSA and was Symposium Convenor. Her husband Alf ran the junior section of the Symposium. They both worked very hard and should have enjoyed the memories together. Very sad.
The team had one more engagement before they could relax and enjoy their well-earned break. Antony had organised a concert at St Andrew's Church in Brisbane. He arranged it via the Internet with a lady named Margaret Powell to raise funds for their organ repair appeal. The Concert was to take place on Tuesday 8th August at 7.30pm. The team arrived at the appropriate time and managed to have a ring on the tower bells before the concert started. It began with an introduction from Margaret, then a piece of music by a Trumpet Quartet from the Conservatoire of Music. Then followed the Gospel Choir from Woodbridge High School who had been touring Queensland, conducted by Dave Stewart their Teacher. Winterbourne played next, then there was a short intermission and the concert continued in the same format for the second half. At the end of the concert, Terry presented Margaret and the Church with an etching of Winterbourne Church and a CD of the Church bells as a momento of our visit. An enjoyable evening was had by all with refreshments and conversation afterwards in a room below the church, and hopefully, some money was raised toward the organ repair fund. They all agreed that it was an amazing Symposium experience, which will be a lasting memory and well worth the effort. John, Mo and Nicholas said their goodbyes to the Jefferies family as they were off to Stradbroke Island with Sister and Brother-in-Law for a couple of days break and the Jefferies family were moving up to Noosa on the Friday. They would not meet up again until they all arrived safely back in England towards the end of August having spent about six weeks in Australia. Travelling, again at different times, on different flights, Like Royalty.
Photograph of St Andrew's, in St Andrew's Church
To finish, Winterbourne St Michael's Handbell Ringers would like to thank all the people who contributed toward our amazing trip we are very grateful for their support and friendship. THANK YOU!!
Winterbourne St Michael's Handbell Ringers