Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Well, sorta.

There are, in fact bells at Trinity. I saw them myself a couple weeks ago, when we got to climb up the scaffolding up to the catwalk around the bellframe. At the time, they were all sitting in their pits, and all but one had the wheel attached. (The ringing room itself was apparently in all kinds of disarray and missing features like a floor, or stairs up to the bells, which is why we had to take the outside route up.)

We had plans for a quiet (publicitywise, not decibelwise) test of the bells last Wednesday. The idea was that would give the bellhangers a chance to identify minor problems and adjust according before the "actual" test on Friday with the peal band. Unfortunately, construction was a little behind schedule (something about the floor still not being in, according to the rumors I heard) so that got cancelled. It was rescheduled for Friday morning, which turned into Friday afternoon, and by the time it actually happened the peal band was already standing by.

So I missed that. I did stop by on Saturday for the second half of the commissioning peal, and again for the beginning of the peal on Sunday. I obviously couldn't go up in the tower during the peals, but Trinity's video folks had rigged up microphones and a couple cameras so everyone coming into the church (a healthy mix of tourists wondering what it was and neighbors wondering when it would stop) could watch the ringers and the bells. They also piped the sound of the bells into the church, where it would otherwise have been just slightly audible.

Anyway, it turns out that Wall Street has a lot of buildings. And buildings echo sound around. And bells are loud. I could hear them several blocks away, even without line of sight, and even over the noise of lower-Manhattan traffic and construction. You know, "loud". Unfortunately, combined with the fact that I'm not used to twelve, that made it tough to pick out the individual bells by listening.

More unfortunately, it turns out that the building directly south of Trinity is an apartment building. With single-pane glass windows. So at the 8th floor, about level with the bell tower, the ringing was apparently, shall we say, "loud." They (rightfully) complained to the church, and the church agreed that the current situation isn't tenable.

The good news is there are plans for sound control that didn't make it in before the peals. The bad news is that they won't be in for another month, so the first ringing by locals is now scheduled for the beginning of December. We'll go ahead with our beginner-training plans on handbells our 100ish-pound dumb-bell, and hopefully have a half-dozen bright-eyed new ringers by the time the bells are actually ringable.

(Huh, actual useful information made it into this post. Don't tell anyone.)

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At 8:02 AM, November 01, 2006, Anonymous Mira said...

it's really cool that the bells are actually *there* now! And I'm glad the peals went well with none of Laura's dire predictions of the peal band getting hit by busses coming true!

At 8:37 AM, November 01, 2006, Anonymous Laura Dickerson said...

I've never tried a dumb bell. Is there any thought using the actual bells for training by tying the clappers?
I know people had traveled long distances to ring peals, but after finding out on Saturday how loud it was, wouldn't it have made sense to turn Sunday's attempt into a quarter instead of pounding the neighbors for all that time?

At 2:06 PM, November 01, 2006, Blogger Anna said...

vancouver has nifty muffles, so they don't even have to tie the clappers (which apparently messes with the feel of pulling, since the clapper then doesn't swing). also, simulators!
anyhow, yay for more bells.

At 4:31 PM, November 01, 2006, Blogger mollishka said...

I'm embarrassed to say I'd like to see pictures ....


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