2014 NAGCR AGM in Washington DC
2014 NAGCR AGM in Washington DC
Last weekend, the Washington Ringing Society (WRS) was excited to host the annual meeting of the North American Guild of Change Ringers. Although Labor Day weather in DC can be unpredictable, we were fortunate that the weather for the weekend was not terrible (by DC standards). We had a nice-sized showing with about 65 attendees from 15 towers participating over the weekend. While most of the ringers were from the US, our ranks also included several visitors from Toronto and the UK as well. Kathryn Tucker was on our minds throughout the weekend. Many people knew her from earlier AGMs and other ringing events and she was greatly missed.
The weekend started quickly on Friday afternoon with general ringing, a quarter peal attempt, and a reception at the Cathedral in the evening. On Saturday, there was more general ringing and Ed Nassor (the Cathedral carilloneur) demonstrated the 53-bell carillon before the guild meeting at 3:30 pm. The meeting was lively but uneventful and I will leave it to others to provide a summary of the goings on. While most went off to change for dinner after the meeting, a hardy crew stayed to attempt a quarter peal. Dinner at Old Europe rounded out a busy day very nicely. This restaurant specializes in German food a la old world and apparently prepares a delightful variety of sausages (as a vegetarian, I’ll just take everyone’s word on this point). Sunday, a group of 15 or so headed to Frederick to ring before and after the service while everyone else stayed back at the Cathedral for more general ringing and quarter peal attempts. Throughout the weekend, the Smoke Ring (Mike Hinton's 8-bell mini-ring which David Wilcox brought down from Toronto) was open for business in St. Joseph’s Chapel on the lower level of the Cathedral. In the three days the mini-ring was up, there were sessions showing tourists the ropes and sessions with experienced ringers figuring out how to use this unique contraption. It was amazingly easy to figure out how to ring them but challenging to then actually ring them well. With extra practice, some ambitious folks were even able to 2 bells at the same time (not me). Monday was MUCH quieter with a brief general ringing session before one last quarter peal attempt. Basically between the quarter peal attempts and general ringing sessions on the Cathedral bells (both open and on the simulator), on the mini-ring, and out in Frederick Maryland, there were ringing opportunities available nearly continuously throughout the weekend. My sense is that the visitors were able to get as much rope time as their hands and minds could take.
I would like to conclude this report with several notes of thanks. Thanks to my AGM co-chair Sue O’Neill for all of the work you put into this and thanks to all of the members of the WRS who helped out both in advance of and over the course of the weekend. It takes time to put together all of the little stuff that makes a weekend like this work – identifying hotels and restaurants, setting up quarter peal bands, creating fliers for visitors, and making sure hungry ringers have snacks – and I really appreciate all the hard work everyone put in. I also want to thank David Wilcox and Lynne Salt for bringing us the Smoke Ring, an effort that included dealing with international bureaucracy as well as the hands-on work of loading/unloading and assembling/disassembling it. Finally, I would like to thank all of the NAG members who attended. It would be no fun at all to throw a party and have no one show up - we really appreciate that everyone took the time to travel to DC and be part of this event.
I hope to see everyone in Shreveport next year!