Handbell Events

These occur throughout the year; see our diary of events. If you would like to attend one, please contact the Secretary of the organising Region.

A Guide to the Ringing Events

We sometimes forget that new or inexperienced ringers may get confused by the some of the terms we use for our ‘get-togethers’. Those marked (Members) are usually for fully paid up HRGB Members although in some cases the local Chair or organiser may agree to potential members or guests ringing as well.

HRGB mini-rallies are organised by Regions, sometimes with a host team on a profit share basis to look after the ‘domestic’ jobs such as booking the hall, making the tea and so on. Most are informal and friendly affairs where each team gets the option to ring one or two solos between the massed ringing. Individuals ringers, new and junior ringers are welcome and sometimes bells can be loaned to those attending without a team. If non-members are admitted they will usually be asked to pay more than members. Some mini-rallies and festivals may be privately arranged functions not organised by HRGB but although we are happy to publicise them - (and even take a donation!) we do not underwrite them if they make a loss. The format of each will vary so if you spot one of these, chat to the organisers for more details.​

Christmas Festivals (Members) This is one event where we often perform in front of an audience! As well as some massed ringing pieces (sent out in advance like the Regional Rally below), teams are invited to ring a solo and these may be interspersed with guest ‘spots’, readings and carols sung with the congregation. Despite most ringers' view that Handbells are for life, not just for Christmas,  Christmas is always a busy time for handbell ringers; some Regions like to hold a seasonal ‘fun’ event where ringers can let their hair down. As well as a bit of massed ringing we encourage individuals and/or teams to do ‘a turn’ – such as readings, short playlets etc. But some ringing too!

Regional Rally (Members).  Organised by HRGB committees who may seek help on the domestic front from a nearby team. It is primarily intended as a ‘showcase’ for teams to ring solo items (the number of pieces depending on the number of teams wishing to ring) but to break things up, there may be some massed ringing pieces. The music is usually sent out in advance for teams to mark as they wish. To save costs often only one copy is sent out with permission for the attending teams to copy it as many times as there are ringers attending.

Growing in popularity are Regional Orchestras where ringers, including team leaders and conductors who usually don't get much ringing can tackle some more advanced music written for larger groups. The first to be formed was the South East Regional Bell Orchestra (SERBO) followed by the East Anglia Regional Team (EART), Scotland's Celtic Carillon, the Sou'westers, the East Midlands Regional Team and the Northern Bell Orchestra (NBO). To join any of these contact the appropriate Regional Secretary

National Rally (Members) This is held annually and is hosted by each Region in turn. Most recently the format has been a mixture of Rally Ringing (for teams to ring their chosen pieces), massed ringing (sent out in advance), Masterclasses (music usually available in advance), Ring from Scratch (where music is given out on the spot) and Workshops covering everything from ringing techniques to bell maintenance. They are usually weekend events (Friday evening to Sunday lunch) but Regions now have the option to shorten this if accommodation becomes a problem or is deemed to be too expensive to be attractive. Attendees may be able to opt for shorter stays or even just go for a day. A guide to organising National events is available. 

National Residential Ringing Week (Members) As the name implies this is a week long extravaganza of ringing intended for the more experienced ringers (you need to be able to read music fairly well although you can mark it in advance). Guest conductors from overseas take part and the group rehearses up to a dozen pieces of music - such as this - during the week for performance at one or two public concerts at the end. It's a fun event and within the scope of most ringers - see picture below.

UK Bronze Modelled on the USA’s ‘Distinctly Bronze’ event for advanced ringers, one can liken UK Bronze to the National Residential Ringing Week – but shifted up a gear or two! You need to be a really good ringer and a proficient music reader to survive this extensive bell work out. We recommend that you try the Residential Ringing Week first!

International Symposium (Members) Held every two years and hosted by the countries of the International Guild of Handbell Ringers in turn. The week is divided between massed ringing under several international conductors and workshops run by acknowledged experts in their field. Most experienced HRGB members would cope with the level of expertise required but it is hard work! If you can’t take part in the Symposium itself, don’t miss the Final Concert – with up to 600 ringers from all over the world, it has to be heard and seen to be believed.

HRGB Committees and Members work hard to make all these events attractive to a broad spectrum of teams and ringers. From mini-rallies, where non-members and beginners are welcome, to Residential events (see photo below) for the more experienced and which are limited to paid-up members. Not all events are suitable for all ringers but we are happy to steer you toward those that would suit your ability. If in doubt – please ask!

Standard booking terms and conditions apply for all HRGB Events

Safeguarding at Events

Below: A National Residential Ringing Week