The Society will be hosting the first ‘Advanced Ringing Academy’ in August 2024, aiming to give unparalleled ringing opportunities to our younger members, and prospective members.
Over the course of eight days, those attending the ARA will be able to consolidate, develop and push their ringing as far as they want to go, with support from experienced members of the Society.
The ARA will be organised from a Birmingham base, from where a good variety of good rings of bells are easily accessible.
The format is inspired by the very successful ‘UKxx’ tours organised every three years since 2005 by Simon Linford for overseas-resident members of the Society. These tours provide an intensive development opportunity for their attendees, focusing on achieving high quality but demanding ringing on 8, 10 and 12 bells. There are usually just three towers per day, but the practices are long (typically two hours) in order to give sufficient time to ring longer touches.
One difference from the UKxx tours will be the evenings, which will feature a range of entertainment – expect a bowling evening, crazy golf, a quiz night, and maybe a party or two! These will also be mixed with a small number of talks, presentations and workshops.
We will have access to lots of sets of handbells. Handbell ringing will be optional, but there should be scope for doing anything you would like to try.
Accommodation is being negotiated in university halls of residence at Aston University in Birmingham city centre. The student accommodation is in cluster flats so we will be able to have appropriate groups with adult supervision. The quote for the accommodation is around £215 per room for eight nights.
The organisers will do as much as possible to keep costs down.
The Advanced Ringing Academy is primarily aimed at members under the age of 25 and prospective members. Ideally attendees would do the whole eight days but shorter attendance can probably be accommodated.
There have been around 20 expressions of interest received already, with plenty other members of the Society wanting to come and help with the ringing.
Finally, this isn't a tower grab type of event, although over the course of the eight days we are likely to go to 20 or so different towers (see below). This is all about learning and developing ringing skills - method ringing, striking, and conducting (if that's what you want to develop), particularly on higher numbers where experience is harder to get.
The Academy will start with a general meet up and ring at Birmingham Cathedral (12) on Saturday afternoon. After checking in and settling into the accommodation a short walk away at Aston Uni there will be an early evening practice at Moseley (10).
Over the course of the week we will be having practices at the following rings of 12:
Birmingham Cathedral, Solihull, Aston, Worcester (All Saints), Walsall and Kidderminster
the following rings of 10:
Moseley, Northfield, Worcester (Old St Martins), Cannock, Birmingham St Paul's and a couple more tbc
8 bell towers will be arranged to fit around these. Due to the number it is likely that there may be quarter peal attempts in parallel with the 8 bell practices.
The Academy will end with ringing at Birmingham Cathedral again on Saturday 31st and then the 16 at St Martin's.
All towers and evening activities will be accessible on foot or by public transport (buses, trains and trams). There will be no private cars or coaches. It is hope that with young persons travel concessions, not starting too early in the morning, and some group discounts, this will keep travel costs down.
Expressions of interest should be sent to Simon Linford. Simon is going to start firming up places on the Academy once the accommodation is confirmed, which is expected to be in early February.