Handbells all the way

Before we forget the excitement and joy of Christmas I just wanted to share with you, what I believe has been a magical journey.

Jingle bells, jingle bells…

Rodney, is 69, lives in his own home with Bernie and is supported by MacIntyre supported living service. (insert picture of Rodney outside his house) As I have got to know Rodney better I have found he has a sense of humour, likes to tease and is also very sure of what he likes and dislikes and how he wants things done. He likes music and rhythms and frequently claps along; sometimes this makes him happy and other times sad.

Rodney’s friend Popeye (a town crier) (insert picture of Popeye) gave him a bell some years ago and Rodney likes to pretend to ring the bell, saying “ding” as he plays a tune. With this in mind and his love of music I asked if he would like to learn to play a tune on handbells, which he did.

After some research on the internet where we watched and listened to handbells being played, we had a trip to the shops where we found and bought 5 handbells, all in different colours.

Rodney painted a music sheet so that he could see the tune. insert picture of Rodney painting music sheet
Then we started to practice, 1,2,3 1,2,3 using the yellow bell, we went on to add the seventh again with the yellow bell 1,2,3 1,2,3 1 then the red bell. insert picture/video of Rodney playing. Unfortunately Rodney has to listen to my singing, which I have been told is “tone deaf” but no matter we have fun. Sometimes I sing, clap or play the bells with Rodney, we laugh a lot.

A bit more research and we found the Shrewsbury Handbell Group were playing in November. Rodney watched a clip on You Tube and when asked if he would like to go to see them, wanted to go along. We went to St Mary’s Church to listen to them play, a wonderful morning. (insert picture/video of Hanbell group and Rodney playing) The group welcomed Rodney and showed him how to play the largest and smallest bells. The highlight of the morning being when the group played an encore of Jingle Bells for Rodney and the group leader asked if Rodney would like to join them in playing Jingle Bells. Rodney had the sleigh bells and played throughout; his look of pleasure and happiness was for me truly magical.

We are still practising and waiting to go and see the Shrewsbury Handbells group again.

Rodney wants to buy a proper set of handbells which will enable him to demonstrate his new found skill even more.

“twinkle, twinkle little star” will be our next project.

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Geraldine Griffiths
Relief Support Worker

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