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The Barfield Handbell Ringers are one of the biggest handbell orchestras in the south-east of England. Our 16 members play 5½ octaves of bells, 3 octaves of handchimes and other instruments like Belleplates. We were founded in 1965 – you can see more of our history on a separate page.

Would you like to book Barfield for an event? Contact details are on the booking page.

Barfield Handbell Ringers

 
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Posted by on 19 September, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Mid-May Music and Mischief (!)

Yes, that’s what our next concert is called. If ‎you would like to hear a Bell Boogie, meet a magic dragon or see us attempt a bassline that is highly mischievous, then come along ‎to Ashford Hill this Saturday.
Mid-May Music and Mischief, St. Paul’s Church, Ashford Hill, RG19 8AZ. Saturday 20th May, 7.00. Tickets £7.50, children free. To reserve tickets phone 01635 299227.

 
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Posted by on 20 May, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Who’s got a talented beginners’ team, then?

Well, we have! Our five recruits have come on wonderfully since they started in September. When they started we thought they’d just about manage to learn a couple of pieces by December. Then we thought it would be nice if they played a piece at the beginning of the Civic Service. As it turns out they played six carols and relegated the senior team to the middle of the service!

We’re really impressed with the way they’ve progressed. So to the one who insisted on playing Belleplates, the one who made more noise with a stool than with bells, the one who wanted the bells turned down, the one who’d never read music before, the one who couldn’t start until they did their homework, and the one who told the joke about the cats swimming the Channel, our heartiest congratulations… and see you in the New Year!

 
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Posted by on 11 December, 2016 in Beginners' team

 

Where to hear us soon

We’re not at Guildford this year (renovations and handbells don’t go together), but we do have some engagements closer to home.

  • Thatcham Festival workshop: full team. Just turn up, hear us practicing and try out the bells. Monday 17th October, 7.30pm, St. Mary’s Church meeting room.
  • Thatcham Festival Finale: our small ensemble will be playing in the final concert of the Festival along with other local musicians and poets. Saturday 22nd October, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church. Tickets free from Picture It, High Street, Thatcham.
  • Ashford Hill: our small ensemble are taking part in a concert celebrating the life of Ron Goodwin, composer of 633 Squadron, and much other film music. Saturday 29th October, 7.00pm, St Paul’s Church, Ashford Hill, Hampshire RG19 8AZ.
  • The Nearly Christmas Concert: our way of pleasing everyone around Christmas time, Just enough Christmas music to put you in a festive mood – just enough non-Christmas music to be a welcome change if you’ve already had enough of festive songs on loop in the shops! Saturday 3rd December, 3.00 pm, St Mary’s Church. Email dianne@barfield.org.uk to reserve tickets.

So we’re still going to have a busy autumn! Hope to see you at some of our events.

 
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Posted by on 15 October, 2016 in Engagements

 

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2015, Barfield’s special year marking Bill Butler’s 50 years as Musical Director

by Ann Walter

Barfield_50th_Maria(30)_resizeBill conducting at the Golden Anniversary concert (photo: Thatcham Photographic Club)

PRO_ (11) 2015-09-26 14.55.52 Barfield badge 4 final
 The team at the Golden Anniversary concert
(photo: Thatcham Photographic Club)
Our birthday cake
(photo: Helen Secker)
The new 50th anniversary badge

2015 was a special year for Barfield Handbell Ringers as they celebrated the 50th birthday of the group. Bill Butler started the group based in Thatcham, built it up and has remained its Musical Director until he decided to retire at Christmas 2015.

The group organised and performed in various events in their 50th year.

June saw a full school hall in Newbury for an HRGB SouthEast Region rally attended by 18 teams. Tables and teams were decorated with gold and we had an enjoyable day’s ringing with, needless to day, a good supply of cakes.

In September we held our memorable Golden Anniversary Concert with music specially chosen by Bill. Some is part of the group’s history (Bill’s arrangement of Whistling Rufus and Sandra Winter’s specially written Call of the Bells). Other pieces are favourites; Blessed Assurance and God’s Train .The pieces chosen for the concert show the breadth of music which Bill conducts and performs.

Several handbell ringers in the audience said that it was good to hear some tunes they had not heard played recently. We were pleased to see so many relatives, friends and colleagues from both the handbell and tower ringing communities. Bill has taught many ringers of both types over the years and has helped teams to start up successfully.

At January 2016’s AGM the team presented Bill with a gift of an engraved glass, to say thank you for all his hard work and for the enjoyment he has given to many people by his musical activities Although Bill is no longer the team’s Musical Director he is still a valued member of the team.

 

 
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Posted by on 5 June, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Summer events – with added dulcimers

With Easter past and Guildford not yet in our minds, it must be time for a concert. We’ve called this one Midsummer Magic; the Magic in question is the magic of showbusiness. Graham has picked several pieces with cinematic associations, including a rarely-heard arrangement by Nozomu Abe.

Not all the magic will come from the handbells – we will be sharing the concert with Nonsuch Dulcimers. The two types of dulcimer should make a fascinating contrast. So come along and be swept up in the Midsummer Magic!

St Mary’s Church, Church Gate, Thatcham. Saturday 18th June at 7.30pm. Tickets £6 (concessions £5, accompanied children free): email dianne@barfield.org.uk .

Our small team are also playing in the “That’s Entertainment” day at Ashford Hill on the 25th of June. They’re performing at 2.30, and also running a workshop session at 3.15 when visitors can try the bells and find out more about the music. It should be a relaxed, informal chance to try handbell ringing. (If you try it and like it, you might like to join our new beginners’ team!)

 
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Posted by on 3 June, 2016 in Engagements

 

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A new handbell team for beginners

(Edit: new date for the taster session. Come and try a genuinely collaborative form of music!)

Have you ever heard handbells being played and thought you would like to try this lovely activity? Or perhaps you have never heard handbells and would like the opportunity to hear and try them for yourself. If so, we have the answer: a new handbell team for beginners.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 12 March, 2016 in Beginners' team

 

Christmas engagements 2015

What would Christmas be without advertisements? We have something to advertise too: the Basing Singers have kindly invited our small ensemble to join them in their Christmas concert, in Old Basing Village Hall, Saturday 12th December 2015, 7.30pm. Profits from the concert will be donated to charity – so if you’re in the area, come and hear them and us!

You can find more information about the Basing Singers on their website.

The day after that we’re playing in Thatcham’s Civic Carol Service, to welcome people in and as part of the main service. This is at St Mary’s Church, Church Gate, Thatcham, Sunday 13th December 2015, 4.00pm. We’ll be playing before the service starts as well as during the service. All welcome!

We also have engagements for clubs and a pre-school – perhaps you’ll see us at one of those too!

 
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Posted by on 5 December, 2015 in Engagements

 

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On to Guildford

It’s in the nature of handbells that we rarely have time to enjoy the afterglow of a performance. We’re usually on to the next set of music pretty quickly after a concert. So I thought I’d get in with the after-concert post before we go on to the next engagement!

Thanks to everyone who came to the Golden Anniversary concert. We had (as was made clear at the concert!) distinguished guests from the handbell world, as well as members of Bill’s family and Thatcham VIPs. The sheer spread of people was a measure of how universally liked and respected Bill is. Bill’s successor will have a hard time to match Bill’s supportiveness, vision and diplomacy. Thanks, too, to Judith and the ladies of Lambourn Chimers for their work serving the vital refreshments, and to Richard Butler for compering.

Now we move on to the Guildford music. This is for the Handbell Festival Service at Guildford Cathedral – the biggest spectacle of our handbell year that’s open to the public. We’ll be joining with teams from all around the South-East to play in unison, accompanied by an organist and other instruments. The teams in their coloured uniforms playing to the direction of the conductor is a spectacular sight, and we all enjoy being able to co-operate to play music more difficult than we can manage alone.

The service is at Guildford Cathedral, Stag Hill, Guildford GU2 7UP on the 14th of November at 3pm.

 
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Posted by on 27 September, 2015 in Engagements

 

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Thatcham Festival 2015

We’re pleased to be part of the Thatcham Festival again. Barfield have been involved with the Festival for some years now – indeed, some of us can remember when it was just an Arts Festival!

This year in addition to our informal workshop session a small team of us are playing in the Festival Finale. We’ll be joining musical acts and the prize-winning poetry from the competition. Come along and see Thatcham’s talent!

Full team workshop session: Monday 19th October, 7.30pm, at St Mary’s Church meeting room. No tickets needed, just drop in.

Festival Finale (small team): Friday 23rd October, 7.30pm, at St Mary’s Church. Free tickets from Picture It, 17 High Street, Thatcham.

 
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Posted by on 19 September, 2015 in Engagements

 

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