July 11, 2008

We got up for a 9:00 breakfast (a fantastic spread!) and a 10:00 rehearsal with the Zelow ringers.  We set up our bells and did a short rehearsal in the church where we will be giving a concert on Sunday.  The Zelow ringers rehearsed a couple of pieces for their performance in the evening, and then we rang a couple of pieces together that were  a little different for all of us.  It was a great time of learning and we covered a lot of ringing in our 2 hours together.

Our meals are all together - and the chefs are amazing!

The Zelow ringers rehearse.      Their director, Wiera Jelinek.

Some of the rehearsal together.

Our home church.

After a short walk through town we were treated to a wonderful lunch and then took a tour of the area on our way to Bełchatów.  We saw the largest strip mine in Europe and the power plant that sits next to the mine (it powers Poland and a part of Austria).  We visited a water and fun park nearby and then arrived in Bełchatów in time to change our outfits and set up the bells in the church and play a concert at 7:00. 

The mine.

The bus ride to Belchatow.

The Zelow ringers began the concert with 2 pieces and then we finished the concert.  It was a big, modern church and the acoustics were, once again, wonderful. The playing went well and we revived the Radetzky March as an encore for the evening.

The Belchatow church.

Scenes from the concert.

Upon our return to Zelow, we unloaded the bus since Mark and our bus have a mandatory 2 day break, and we were served a filling dinner.  Now we are about to dream well!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We changed the original plans a bit and went to a local lake for a swim in the morning.  There were no lifeguards on duty, so we really had a great time.  The water was fairly shallow and warm, and it was the perfect start to a warm day.  We returned for a soup lunch, showers and a trip to Lodz. 

Some swimming fun on a perfect day.

After shopping on the longest market street for a couple of hours, we met at the Philharmony, and set up for our concert.  After changing in our spacious dressing rooms, we opened the concert with our procession down the steps.  The Zelow ringers followed and played beautifully (as always) and then we followed with the rest of our concert.  It was truly a fine performance, one of our best so far, and this should be a fine recording for our next CD!

The Zelow Ringers, some of the procession and the Southminster Ringers - all in concert.

Before the concert.

The Philharmony Hall in Lodz and some of the audience during the performance.

The Zelow Ringers and the Southminster Ringers on stage after the concert.

Following the concert, we were treated to a feast by the Philharmony, and everyone took advantage of the great variety of foods and sweets available.  What a great day!

The food before the vultures descended.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We started the morning with a great breakfast at 8:30 followed by worship at 10:00.  We rang a Czech Hussite piece and sang a couple of pieces in English.  After the sermon we rang "Psalm of Peace" and "It Is Well with My Soul".  Apparently, it was a good choice since we had an overflow crowd for the afternoon concert!

Home in Zelow for the ringers.

Following worship, we were served tea afterwards and had a few minutes of rest.  We rehearsed with the Zelow ringers for a bit after lunch and worked on a piece to perform together with organ.  Following the rehearsal, we had about 20 minutes to change and get back with the correct bells for the processional.  15 or the 18 people necessary for the procession made it back in time.  Unfortunately, 3 were a little late.  As the tower bells called everyone to the concert, the 3 late ones heard the bells and started running to the church.  Unfortunately, the building was locked - and those 3 were stuck INSIDE the building where they changed.  Check the photos to see which 3 flew out a window to make it to the concert only a few minutes late...

Some ringers just don't know how to use the front door.

Procession with the Southminster Ringers and Ringing by the Zelow Ringers.

The audience.

Both groups ringing together.

Following the concert, we were treated to a concert by a quartet of Zelow ringers playing an arrangement of "Heart and Soul" and then we were off to a barbeque.  It was pouring rain by that time, but we were in an enclosed area with a wonderful barbeque pit.  It was an evening of fellowship, singing and eating.  Now for rest.  After a rehearsal in the morning we will be on our way to Warsaw!

The Zelow quartet rings for the Southminster Ringers.

Monday, July 14, 2008

We started with a morning of cleaning up after ourselves, cleaning the bathrooms, rooms, beds, etc...  (Parents - please note that most of your kids are excellent at cleaning.  I can't guarantee what they'll do at home, but they did a fine job this morning!)  Breakfast, as usual, was wonderful and we were able to recognize our hosts for all of their help.

We headed over to the church and rehearsed with the Zelow ringers, shared music and bells with them and we had a wonderful morning together.  A soccer team from Russia missed our concert yesterday, but came to hear some of our rehearsal in the morning. 

Joint rehearsal and a shot of the Russian soccer team visitors.

The young lady next to Patrick composed one of the pieces we practiced this morning.

Farewell gifts.

We left a little after 11 after some tearful goodbyes (and the Zelow girls went back for more rehearsal with their new bells and mallets.) and headed off to Warsaw.  We look forward to our next visit with these wonderful ringers.

The farewell "Chicken Dance" and goodbyes from the Jelineks.


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