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Toronto Ringers in Pittsburgh

And the Hundreth Quarter on the bells of Southminster

by Don Morrison

In a show of good neighborliness, the five hour journey to their next nearest tower, Southminster Church in Pittsburgh, on 16 April was made by seven Toronto ringers: Nick Cheesman, Robin Clarke, David Hawkins, Mike Hinton, Chris Ruch, Pauline Smith and Cate Woltz. These were augmented by Chris Haller from Rochester and Lian von Wantoch from Washington, DC, as well as five members of the small Pittsburgh band: Mary Bragdon, Ross Finbow, Don Morrison, Matt Nelson and Nick Rossi.

Friday evening was first spent with a lot of general ringing, including our first of several assaults on Cornwall Surprise Major. This was followed by a quarter of Bob Triples, Matt's first of triples other than covering. The evening ended with beer, wine and handbells a few minutes' walk down the street at the home of Elizabeth Boyd and Don, and their daughter Esther.

Saturday's ringing was carefully fitted around two funerals at Southminster. It began with a quarter of Bob Minor, continued with two more sessions of general ringing, including several more assaults on Cornwall, which we were pleased to be ringing well by the time we'd finished with it. Everyone seemed to enjoy this under-appreciated method, which should see more airings at suitable opportunities throughout North American ringing.

Saturday's ringing highlight was a peal of Bob Major, a first peal for Chris R, and a second and first other than covering for Lian. Both rang very well, and should be proud of their accomplishments! Unsurprisingly this was followed by a long visit to a local, Irish pub, both for dinner and for the more traditional post-peal refreshment.

Sunday included a variety of breakfast adventures and brief sightseeing trips, a handbell quarter of Bob Minor, service ringing and general ringing, and two more quarters in the tower: another of Bob Triples, Matt's first such inside, finally capped off with a good quarter of Yorkshire Surprise Major.

The final quarter of the weekend, the Yorkshire, was a major milestone for the tower, too: it was the hundreth quarter on the bells since they've been at Southminster. The back six started life at St John's in Preston, Lancashire, but have been in their current home since August 2002.

And then the long drives home for all the visitors.

The Pittsburgh band is grateful to all the visitors who enabled all of us to ring things, particularly on eight, that we can't manage on our own!

Posted Apr 19, 2010

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