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Gathering of North American SRCY members in Pittsburgh, 8-10 April 2011

by Michael Hinton

The Society of Royal Cumberland Youths (SRCY) is a bellringing society with members from across the British Commonwealth and the United States. The society dates back to the mid-18th century. It has a strong reputation not only for promoting good ringing but also as a friendly and sociable society.

The last two gatherings of North American SRCY members, first in New York City, and then in Kalamazoo, were both successes. Continuing the pattern of one every eighteen months, these weekends were followed by an SRCY weekend in Pittsburgh, 8-10 April 2011.

As with the past two such events the weekend included peal attempts, general ringing, quarter attempts and social activities. Ringing focussed on surprise methods, but also provided much needed opportunities to benefit local ringers with rounds, call changes, plain hunt, grandsire and Stedman. Quarter peal attempts were also arranged for local band members. As Pittsburgh is an isolated tower, the weekend provided a welcome opportunity to improve skills locally. We in Toronto understand this well as Pittsburgh is our closest neighbouring tower, only five and a half hours away by car!

The weekend began early evening on Friday, and the festivities ran through to Sunday afternoon. The early starters rang a hand bell peal on Friday afternoon of Kent Treble Bob Major. There was also some general ringing, where folks had a chance to catch up and also meet some of the local band. After ringing, many of the group walked over to The Saloon for some traditional ringing refreshments and a snack.

Saturday morning started bright an early with a tower peal of Cambridge Surprise Major, which was complemented by a hand bell peal of 2 splice treble bob major. This double peal success was followed by general ringing led by Haley Barnett. It was generally agreed that Haley has the strongest set of lungs of those who attended the weekend (which is saying something, considering that general ringing was also well attended by Keegan Hinton –age 1.5 years - with his tendency to screeches of laughter).

Saturday also included a quarter peal of Spliced Surprise Major: Cambridge, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Lessness; a hand bell quarter of Kent Treble Bob Major; general ringing led by Elaine Hansen; and an evening ringing session focused on Cornwall. A full day of ringing was followed by dinner at the local Indian Restaurant Mintt. The restaurant came highly recommended by Don Morrison, who pre-warned folks not to be dissuaded by the restaurant’s clean demeanor. And, he was right! The meal was delicious. Dinner was followed by a celebration of Elaine’s birthday, which included cake, mix-and-match socks and rainbow suspenders.

Sunday service ringing was led by local ringing master Nick Rossi, for which Elaine was sporting some very nice rainbow suspenders. While some ringers took a walk around the corner for a quick pizza lunch, a quarter peal of Yorkshire was rung in the tower. The final general ringing session was led by Meredith Morris, who developed a soon to be patented system for determining what splice surprise should be rung. The weekend was closed out by ringing for the local band, while many started the trek to their home towns. Their heads were filled with the hum of the Pittsburgh bells, comforting them on their way.

Posted Apr 15, 2011


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