image showing three handbells

Halesowen Handbell Ringers was founded in 1974, to ring tunes on some 19th century bells belonging to St John's Parish Church, Halesowen. Five ringers used the "in-hand" ringing method, where each person holds the bells throughout the piece of music. Later the team changed to the "off-the-table" method, where the bells are laid out on table and picked up as needed. This means that many more bells can be played during a piece.

In 1983 the team bought its own three-octave set of bells from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, followed by some more bass bells two years afterwards. More bass bells and some duplicates were bought in 1999 to mark the team's Silver Jubilee. Further bass and treble bells have since been added, to make a total of 68 bells and five octaves.

Under its founder Musical Director, Mike Lashford, the team grew to become one of the leading handbell teams in the country. He was succeeded by David Williams, who developed the team's musical and performance skills, and extended the repertoire. After his death in 1999 Gemma Calder became Musical Director and continued the development. Unfortunately she had to give up the post, and Mike is now our Conductor.

The team has played in many parts of the country, including Birmingham, Lichfield, Worcester and Hereford Cathedrals, the ICC in Birmingham and Wembley Conference Centre. It has been heard on radio and seen on television.

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