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Poland
Tour 2004

Ring in the Christ

Has been the motto and theme of the Southminster Ringers tours throughout the history of the team. Ringers look forward to these trips for all of the excitement the various countries and cultures have to offer, but equally important is the gift of music that we share with others. Except for the tours to the British Isles, handbells are rarely heard or seen in most countries.

The opportunity to plant seeds is a rare joy, but a joy the Southminster Ringers have had more often than is the norm. They have introduced handbells frequently where they have never been heard before and they have worked with new or fledgling teams inspiring them to new ringing heights. The most exciting opportunity has been to take handbells to Poland, teach the ringers and leaders, and watch the program blossom.

The following excerpt is from http://www.zelandia.pl/zelowskiedzwonki/ explaining in their own words how meaningful the mission of the Southminster Ringers has been to them. The full text may be found at the above website.

History of ‘Zelowskie Dzwonki Parafii Ewangelicko-Reformowanej’

Thanks to the mediation of Thomas Flynn, conductor of the ‘Southminster Ringers’ from Pittsburgh (USA), pastor responsible for music and singing in the Presbiterian Church in Pittsburgh, in 1999 the company Schulmerich Carillons gave three octaves (i.e. 37 pieces) of handbells to the Evangelical-Reform Parish in Zelów, Poland. The biggest one was engraved with the sentence ‘For God’s glory’, the aim of all our parish’s ventures.

The handbells arrived the Zelów on the 5th of March 1999. The first rehearsal took place on Saturday eight days later, and the first concert was given on the first day of Eastern, 23rd of April 1999.

In June 2001 the band toured across the Czech Republic. Since that we played several times in Zelow and our neighbourhood also for handicapped and in a voluntary style. Since that time they used to be welcomed in many different places to play and worship.

Presently there are three full bands, 11 musicians each, consisting of young people aged 11-12, 13-15 and 16-19. Altogether, 33 young people play the handbells under the supervision of Master J. Wiera Jelinek and her assistant Ewa Milena Jelinek.

Music nobles...Music softens one’s behaviour...

These widely known polish proverbs are nice, but do not show the whole effect music has on young people. It supports and enhances the positive development of youth’s personality. It makes them sensitive and sensible. But that’s not all. We’ve noticed the development of useful skills such as co-operation, working in teams and responsibility. These merits are essential in the mature life. Our work with 33 young people makes their maturing process more harmonious. Our students’ work deserves admiration. Every single band member faces very high expectations. It is so, because every member should attend all rehearsals. Even the lack of one person makes hearing the full harmony of the composition very difficult. Besides, everyone learns and remembers not only his or her part, but also the rest of the melody. Even the lack of one tone or a mistake is easily heard by a skilful band. Those teenagers that dedicate certain hours from every week of their lives deserve praise, encouragement and help.