More sad news. Ken Ballou, who rang in Boston for many years, has died. Beyond its being of natural causes a few days ago, other details are currently hard to ascertain, but I will pass on more information when I learn it.
Ken hailed from Rhode Island, and learned to ring as an undergraduate at MIT. After earning his PhD in mathematics at Berkeley, Ken returned to Boston and worked for a variety of software companies.
Ken became a mainstay of Boston ringing during the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in hand. In all he rang 230 peals, two thirds of them in hand, 219 of them for the NAGCR, and conducted 25 of them. He was in the first ever peal of the standard eight spliced at the half-lead, rung by the Advent Sunday service band in 1988, and also the first such handbell peal, and his first peal of Glasgow was in hand, on the 5-6 pair, the first such peal rung for the NAGCR. Ken was particularly enamoured of Stedman, and called several peals of it.
In recent years Ken had dropped away from ringing, devoting much of his non-working time to directing chess tournaments.
Ken was a fun companion, and despite his nickname of “Useless,” which he cheerfully embraced, he was a jolly useful ringer.
More sad news
I once again must report the death of another longtime NAGCR member. William (Bill) Wakeland, from Muncie Indiana, passed away on February 20, 2021.
Unfortunately, Bill lived in an area that had a lack of nearby ringing and he never was able to progress very far. He toured around the country learning the historically beautiful tradition of tower bell change ringing.
It is with much sadness that I share the news that Alan Ellis passed away early this morning, April 7, in a Vancouver hospital after a short illness. At this point there are no plans for a memorial service. Please keep Mae and their family in your prayers. Alan became a member of the Guild in 1979 and served as NAGCR President from 1993-1994. He was elected to Honorary Life Membership in 2007. He was one of our Central Council Representatives from 2014-2019. I am hoping that a more complete obituary will be in the upcoming Clapper.
2020 Annual Report
Please see the 2020 Annual Report that can be found under Member Services in Guild Documents. Printed copies have been mailed. Thanks to the Officers for their prompt reports enabling it to be completed within the first quarter.
Seven Towers Festival Online
Announcing 7 Towers Festival (Online) - 10 April, 1-7 PM CDT
Here is the link to the schedule and logistical information: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1r544MimArY3mHvZ5TCEVelfdIuxw5GBmAK0S9bRWjlY/edit?usp=sharing
This online ringing afternoon not only includes ringing online, but also has entertainment for those who also enjoy non-ringing activities.
Note: to learn about the technology to be used during the event, click on the Technology tab-to use Discord or Ringing Room, it is recommended to preregister on these platforms . If you have any questions or concerns contact Allen Nunley in advance () or 713 504 2747.
Recent Developments in RingingRoom
Quilla Roth presents a this award winning application, which now sports a built-in simulator function (Wheatley), and built-in handbell controller support
History of the Seven Towers Festival
This is a panel discussion that will explore the origin story and history of the Seven Towers. This panel is composed of (in no particular order): David Graves, Porter Brownlee, Remica Gray and Meredith Morris. It will be moderated by Matthew Austin. You do not want to miss this, the alternate facts are already flying.
The pub quiz is a fun entertainment hosted by Bruce and Eileen Butler. Enjoy guessing the right answer.
Casual Visiting Encouraged
Take a breather from virtual ringing and join us on Zoom. Meet new folks, old friends. Use Discord to breakout (in the Pub channels) if you like.
Online GatheRing, March 20th
Online GatheRing, March 20th
Join us virtually at the
NAGCR Online GatheRing
Saturday, March 20th, 1:00pm to 6:00pm EST
Click here for details
In addition to many ringing opportunities, the GatheRing will feature
- Methodoku - Mark Davies, the inventor of these addictive puzzles wil explain how the 'mashup of Sudoku and bell-ringing' came about and how they work
- YOU Can Call Touches of Plain Bob Doubles! - If you’re comfortable ringing Plain Bob Doubles (PBD) but haven’t ever called a touch of it, why not live dangerously, and give it a try! Don Morrison will talk in Zoom about how to call your first touch of PBD. Then you can try it in a “practical” session to follow in Ringing Rooms with Discord.
- If you think you might want to try calling some touches after the YOU Can Call Touches of Plain Bob Doubles! session, please sign up here. If we get too many people, we’ll offer more sessions at another OGR
- Intro to Method Diagrams and Ringing Terms and Notation - Have you wondered what the circled numbers to the right of a method diagram mean? Or the letters (W, M, H, etc.)? Or the pairs of numbers to the left of the diagram? Quilla Roth will try to demystify these and other ringing notations, terms, and concepts that can seem mysterious at first encounter.
- Pub Time - Take a breather from virtual ringing and join us on Zoom. Meet new folks, old friends. Use Discord to breakout (in the Pub channels) if you like.
If you are joining for the first time, click here for step-by-step instructions and technical assistance if you need it.
Please let me know if you have any questions and/or comments.
We look forward to seeing (or hearing) everyone!
North American Guild of Change Ringers Public Relations Officer
Roland Perschon passed away on February 26, 2021. A founding member of the guild, Roland was a kind, caring man with a wonderful sense of humor. In 1994, he purchased a ring of 8 Whitechapel tower bells as a gift for his hometown of Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Those bells continue to await a host tower.
Roland's obituary can be viewed at:
I’m sorry to announce that Linda Woodford died peacefully, yesterday afternoon, 16 February, after a several month illness. Her sister, Bonnie, was with her at the end. Linda was a well known ringer in Kalamazoo, formerly Boston. There will be a memorial service in Kalamazoo, but not until it is practical for folks to gather safely again.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Kalamazoo Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 3295, Kalamazoo, MI 49003.
Death of Geoff Bagley
We've heard from David Bagley that his father, Geoff Bagley, died peacefully on January 30, 2021 at age 92. Various NAG old-timers, especially those in Washington, DC, may remember Geoff from the two years that he was posted to the DC Area for work in 1972/1973. He and his wife Lynda were valuable additions to the Cathedral band and also joined in (and often hosted) our weekly handbell sessions at the time. Geoff was a founding member of the North American Guild.
Ringing for Unity and Remembrance on January 19
The Biden inauguration team is asking churches all around the nation to ring their bells to commemorate the more than 343,000 US pandemic deaths due to Covid-19. The plans call for church bells to ring nationwide at 5:30 p.m. EST on January 19, "in a national moment of unity and remembrance".
I would like to bring this suggestion to you as a possibility to re-introduce tower bell ringing to your community. I know many of you are still under strict lockdown procedures and this may not be possible. But, perhaps you may be able to have one or more bells ring and still be within the guidelines.
Most of our bells have been silent for a long time. We need our steeplekeepers to check on the bells, fittings, ropes, etc. before we commence ringing of any kind. This would be a good opportunity to arrange a day for checking the bells and cleaning our towers and belfries.
Many of us will have to recruit new ringers or locate lapsed ringers once the lockdown and pandemic eases off, hopefully by the late Spring/early Summer. It is not too early to think about this for your tower and handbell groups and by ringing, even one bell on the 19th, you may be able to publicize and promote change ringing for your tower.
Although though this is a US initiative, we hope our Canadian towers can use this as a reminder to keep up on your bell installation maintenance.
Join us on Saturday, January 16, 2021, between 2pm and 6pm EST for the second
NAGCR Online GatheRing (OGR)
As something new for a new year (and because the 16th coincides with the usual time of the Philadelphia ringers’ annual Quarter Peal Weekend), we’re trying to arrange a few quarter peal attempts! This month’s social activity will be hosted by the Philadelphia ringers (perhaps with a Philadelphia theme in honor of their annual weekend). AND, as at the first OGR in December, there’ll be plenty of ringing opportunities (at all levels) besides the quarter peal attempts.
The form HERE will help us gather information about:
- what methods you would like to ring
- what quarter peal(s) you would like to ring
- what quarter peal(s) you could conduct
- whether you would like to be a tower captai
To help us arrange the quarter peal bands and firm-up the ringing schedule, please fill out the form by January 8th. Even if you don’t get a chance to fill out the form by then, do plan to come ring with us.
If you would like any technical assistance with Zoom, Discord and/or Ringing Room, please send an email with your request to Tom Farthing at and we will be in touch.
Online GatheRing for ringing, chatting, maybe a talk or a game
Saturday, December 12th, 2:00pm to 6:00pm EST
Click here for details
At the AGM, several people expressed the desire to have more frequent guild-wide gatherings as a way to visit with old friends, meet new friends, ring together and advance ringing activity. Let's give it a try. We expect to have opportunities for introductory, intermediate and advanced ringing as well as social interaction.
- We encourage people with limited (or no) virtual ringing to attend! If you would like help with Zoom, Discord and/or Ringing Room before the GatheRing, please reply to and we'll arrange one-on-one technical assistance with you before December 12th.
- If you would like to be a Tower Captain (in charge of a ringing session in Ringing Room), please reply to with your interest and what you are comfortable ringing.
- If you’re knowledgeable in any of Zoom, Discord, and/or Ringing Room, and like helping people new to these programs, please reply to We’re looking for “technical assistants” to help ensure that even people with little or no experience in virtual ringing can participate fully and have a good time.
The Guild Executive Committee is arranging this Online GatheRing. We hope to have more events like this on a regular basis, especially in the absence of in-person meetings. For subsequent events, we hope ringing areas will "host" the event by setting up a non-ringing activity or two.
2021 NAGCR Officers
2021 NAGCR Officers
There were no nominations received by the deadline other than those of the incumbents, therefore all of the current officers are re-elected for 2021. Additionally, there were no issues that requring a ballot this year.
Congratulations to the incumbents and a big thank you for their willingness to serve again as NAGCR Officers.
Fall Clapper 2020
The Fall Clapper issue which includes the 2020 AGM minutes and report is now available on the website.
George Pipe biography
Unfortunately, after several discussions with the Ringing World, we’ve learned that because of the pandemic, the cost of postage from the UK has risen substantially. This means that the cost of the George Pipe biography (Shake my hand and I'll show you the ropes) will not be significantly cheaper when bulk-ordered and then mailed on to individuals via USPS than when ordered individually.
The NAGCR Book Service cannot therefore offer special pricing for the book as was originally hoped. It will, however, still process orders for the book, which will be sent to you directly from the UK. The Book Service will sell the book for $39.00 (US) and $51.00 (CDN) to NAGCR members. Should the situation, change the price will be adjusted.
If you prefer to use PayPal for payment, you may order the book directly from the RW. Send an email to the RW Admin for then-current pricing info. The individual-copy price, including shipping to the US, as of this week is £30.50.
2021 Ringing World Diaries and Calendars
It is that time of the year again! The 2021 RW Diaries and Calendars are now available. Please support your NAGCR Book Service
Ringing World Diary 2021
To obtain a 2021 Ringing World Diary please send a check in US or CDN funds payable to
NAGCR Book Service to:
829 North 25th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Standard: USD $12.00 or CDN $16.00
Standard with Pencil in spine – USD $13.00 or CDN $17.00
Leather – USD $18.50 or CDN $24.00
Ringing World Calendar 2021
This year's calendar features photographs of towers from across England, Scotland and Wales.
To obtain a 2021 Ringing World Calendar please send a check for $13.00 in US or CDN $17.00 funds payable as listed above.
Total Amount Enclosed $
Online Practice Information
For North American online practices information, click here.
You can use the information in the document to:
- find a practice that would be helpful to you
- find a practice where you could help
- find a practice where you could meet new and/or old friends
It you have more information for the document or you would like help starting an online practice, please fill out the form at:
NAG Public Relations Officer
2020 AGM Honolulu
It is with much sadness that I have to forward the following message I have just received from Richard Harris, Tower Captain, Honolulu. Although I was always dubious, given the current circumstances, I was hoping the situation would have eased allowing us to travel by October. As it is unlikely that large gatherings and meetings will be possible anywhere in North America, the Executive has decided that we are going to have theevent virtually. It was agreed to plan on having a video-chat AGM, hopefully with associated virtual ringing, speakers, and socializing. We will be investigating the best virtual platform to use. Please send me any thoughts/ideas/suggestions. I will forward more details as they arise, however, we plan to hold the meeting/event over the same weekend.
I want to thank the Honolulu ringers for all the work, effort and preparation that they have put into the event and hope that we will be able to hold an AGM there in the future.
Aloha from Hawaii.
We here have been planning a wonderful event in Honolulu this fall. However, due to the current situation in the State and Globally, we have been forced to cancel hosting the NAGCR 2020 Honolulu AGM. While we were trying hard to think of creative ways to proceed with the event, in the end the Bishop of Hawaii, and of our Cathedral, made the call the cancel any large gatherings of people for at least the remainder of the year. We, the Honolulu Ringers, are so sad to cancel, but I know we'll all be together again before too long. I look forward to ringing with you in Honolulu in the future.
Mahalo. Richard Harris
Illinois Online Bell Bash
The University of Chicago ringers welcome you to join us on Saturday, May 16th for not the 8th Annual Illinois Tower Bell Bash, but rather the Illinois Online Bell Bash.
General Ringing 10:00am to 4:00pm central time
Tea time from 4:00pm to 4:45 central time
The following presentations are scheduled for the Bash:
- ringingroom with the creators, Bryn and Leland
- Muster/Abel (Muster enables online ringing with Abel) with one of the programmers, Jonathan Agg
- Handbell Stadium with the creator, Graham John
- Tina Stoecklin and Simon Gay (husband and wife) will talk about handbell ringing. Tina is a Kalamazoo College graduate, former editor of The Clapper, former editor of The Ringing World and author of a new book about handbell ringing. Tina and Simon are active ringers in Scotland.
We plan to use na.ringingroom.com for ringing and Zoom for video conferencing. We plan to use breakout rooms within Zoom to create several concurrent bands. You can find more details, including the Zoom information here
All are welcome. Come for as long or as little as you can. While there should be opportunities for advanced ringing, this event has been and continues to be a student-oriented event. Thus, we hope everyone will look for opportunities to help less experienced ringers.
Central Council's Ringing YouTube Competition
The Central Council has launched a YouTube competition that will run from May until November. Details can be found here https://cccbr.org.uk/youtube-competition/, where there is also a link to a YouTube video on how to make a YouTube ringing video!
You can find more details in the Ringing World of May 1. I encourage you to take part and it wold be great to have a North American team be a winner!
2019 Annual Report
The 2019 NAGCR Annual Report is now available. It can be found under Guild Documents on the Home Page. Printed copies were mailed on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
Jeff Smith Memorial Young Ringer Award Deadline Change
With the interruption of ringing activities due to the coronavirus lockdown, the Jeff Smith Memorial Young Ringer Award deadline for both quarter peal/peal ringing and nominations has been moved to October 1st, 2020. For more details, see
Nomination forms can be found at:
Online edit: https://tinyurl.com/y4hdjtkj
Roger Savory Photos needed
Please will you look in your photo collections and see if you have photos of Roger? I have two photos right now, but I really need one that would be good for the cover of The Clapper. It would be lovely if there was at least one photo of him ringing. Surely, there is a photo out there somewhere. Any photos you have will be great to add to the obit that others are writing.
Belfry Maintenance Award from the Central Council
I am pleased to announce the following opportunity from the Central Council.
Westley Award 2020
Ringers are all dependent on the bells that they ring. Towers and
bells in good condition will usually make it easier for ringers to develop
their skills and, in particular, help retain new recruits.
So have you or one of your band become involved in belfry maintenance relatively recently?
If so, then the Westley Award for church bell maintenance is for you!
The Stewardship & Management Workgroup of the Central Council of Church
Bell Ringers is launching the 2020 award for people who are newly involved
in belfry maintenance, developing their own skills and those of others.
We hope that every society, branch or district will submit at least nomination!
The award will be made at the September 2020 CCCBR annual conference
to be held in Nottingham. The winner will receive £100 and a certificate.
Full details and an application form will be on the CCCBR website here:
The closing date for nominations is noon on 31st May 2020.
CCCBR Stewardship & Management Workgroup Lead
It is with great sadness that I let you know that Roger Savory died peacefully in his sleep on Friday, March 13. He was 90. Roger was an active and very accomplished tower and handbell ringer for many decades, both in North America and earlier in the UK, and he rang just over 800 peals and joined the NAGCR in 1974. He was elected as an Honorary Life Member in 2005. Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.
NAGCR President's Message
Advice on how to deal with COVID-19 has been issued by the various states but the consensus is to enter a “state of self-isolation”. Many towers have already ceased ringing and the organizers of the upcoming Spring events in Philly, Kzoo and Little Rock have unfortunately had to cancel them.
We should, however, ensure that we maintain contact with our ringing friends, either locally or from afar and support whenever we can.
If you are going to suffer from “ringing withdrawal” there are many ringing apps you can access on your phone or computer as well as watch YouTube videos on various aspects of ringing. Our Facebook page, North American Ringers was set up many years ago, but has been dormant. So let's use it to keep ringers in touch with one another, especially now. To join go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/12961691850/
or go to www.facebook.com and search for North American Ringers.
Hopefully, all this will be over by the time we have our AGM in October. I recently got back from a trip to Hawaii where I met with the ringers and they are planning a wonderful event. So, by then we will all be ready for a welcome break and we should plan to spend it in a glorious part of the world that has bells!
I wish everyone good health and that you stay safe in these very difficult times.
CANCELLED- SEVEN TOWERS FESTIVAL in Little Rock
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus), and in the interest of health and safety, the Trinity Cathedral Ringing Society is cancelling the Seven Towers Festival and associated Module 2 and ringing course. Stay safe and healthy everyone!!
Kalamazoo Weekend Cancellation
Kalamazoo's spring ringing weekend is cancelled in compliance with Kalamazoo College's policy concerning novel coronavirus.
Young Ringer Award
The guild executive committee is pleased to invite nominations for the Jeff Smith Memorial Young Ringer Award between April 1st, 2020 and May 1st, 2020.
To qualify for the award, the ringer will satisfy the following requirements:
a) A current member of the North American Guild of Change Ringers
b) 22 years old or younger as of May 1st, 2020
c) At least one quarter peal or peal rung between May 1st, 2019 and May 1st, 2020
d) Nomination, which includes a statement from a local ringing master that the student has contributed to the health of the local ringing community
We hope the award will encourage more young people to try ringing and develop their skill, encourage local bands to nurture young ringers and generate publicity for change ringing.
For more details, see
Nomination forms can be found at:
Online edit: https://tinyurl.com/y4hdjtkj
Seven Towers Festival
Registration is now open for the Seven Towers Festival, to be held April 17-19, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Please find the registration form on the Seven Towers Calendar posting. Hotel information will be posted shortly- so stay tuned!
If you need a registration form emailed to you- please email William Hronas- william.
Please also email William re Hotels if you need a room- he will get you set up.
Hotel Information and ART Module II Course-
We have had to switch hotels due to a conflict. Please email William to get the special rate of $89 per night, starting 4/14/2020. Also, we're pleased to announce that Bruce Butler has agreed to lead an ART Module II session on Wednesday, April 15. The cost of this session is $30.00. Please see the registration form on the NAGCR Calendar Section. Any questions regarding hotels and the Module II course please email William @ william.
Hotel Registration Link- Use this link to book for hotel room for the Seven Towers Festival.
Congratulations to Ed Futcher as our newest Honorary Life Member. In addition, the proposal to change the nominations date has been approved.
2020 Ringing World Diaries and Calendars
Ringing World Diary 2020
To obtain a 2020 Ringing World Diary please send a check in US or CDN funds payable to
NAGCR Book Service to:
829 North 25th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Standard: USD $11.00 or CDN $15.00
Standard with Pencil in spine – USD $12.00 or CDN $16.00
Leather – USD $17.50 or CDN $23.25
Ringing World Calendar 2020
This year's calendar features churches from around North Wales.
To obtain a 2020 Ringing World Calendar please send a check for $12.00 in US or CDN $16.00 funds payable as listed above.
Total Amount Enclosed $
You can email me your orders () and then forward a check.
In accordance with the by-laws, all current officers of the NAGCR have been re-elected as there were no other nominations received by the deadline. Additionally, Chris Haller is now our 4th Central Council representative as I received no other nominations for these positions. Chris succeeds Alan Ellis who I thank for all his years of service in this role.