What a wonderful way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Biddenham Handbell Ringers! The Village Hall was packed for their anniversary concert with tickets sold out three weeks before. The programme was varied with pieces written specifically for handbells such as ‘Gift of peace’ by Cynthia Dobrinski, with arrangements of Chariots of Fire and the Phantom of the Opera, and with more reflective pieces such as ‘Chanson de Matin’ by Elgar. Sandra Winter who attended the concert had written a piece for the occasion called ‘Bedford Glory’ in memory of Ralph West who with Anthea Slark founded the Biddenham Handbell Ringers. We also performed ‘Biddenham Bells’ which was composed by Tom Oldershaw, one of the ringers. A number of people commented on the enthusiasm of the ringers and their very high standard of playing. The Barn Ringers also played well under the guidance of Ros Willis. We were treated to some beautiful and expressive playing on the clarinet by Andrea Heitzmann who comes from Spain but is now teaching is Bedford. She played a Spanish piece ‘Hommage a Manuela de Falla’. We were also privileged to have as a soloist Aidan Fozard who is an international handbell ringer and is one of the two conductors of the East Anglian Regional Handbell team. He played his Belleplates in a very skilful manner. What made the evening even more special was a delicious buffet supper which had been prepared by the ringers. Through the concert, we were able to raise a considerable sum of money for those suffering from Motor Neurone Disease and from Parkinson Disease. It was a very memorable evening and the Biddenham Handbell Ringers can look forward to performing in Exeter in April at the National Handbell Rally, where they have been selected as the team to represent the East Anglian Region in their concert.
Paul Fricker (Director of Music)