Scouts’ moving tribute at memorial concert
On Tuesday 19th February, Newent Community School held a memorial concert in memory of 15-year-old student William Luckett. who died suddenly during the Christmas holidays. Because of their connection with the school, the Scouts asked Yanna Zissiadou, the School’s Head of Music, if they could ring the handbells at the event. She immediately assented to their request, and in view of the name the Scouts had made for themselves when they played at last November’s Winter Concert in Gloucester Cathedral, told us that we could play whatever we wanted. We quickly organised two practice sessions after school on the Monday and Tuesday, following which we played four items at the concert: Compline Chimes, Nearer My God to Thee and the Largo from Dvorak’s New World Symphony being the three team efforts.
We additionally proposed to the School that we ring the ‘Nine Tellers’ before one of the tunes: This is a very old English Church Bell Ringers’ tradition that still persists in many forms in many areas of the country. It consists of ringing the tenor (lowest note) bell in the bell tower a certain number of times (3 groups of 3 in this case) to denote a man’s passing, and then one toll for every year of the person’s life.
Yanna asked us to ring the tenor bell, not during our “slot”, but at the end of the concert, and faded it into a traditional Irish Prayer, sung by a choir at the end. When this was done, the entire audience sat still, completely stunned and moved.
Yanna later wrote to us to say “…’Thank you’ doesn’t quite cover it…I am so grateful to you all for setting the ‘tone’ for this memorial/celebration of Will’s life. I am so proud of all our students and so proud of the links we are creating between us. It is so important that we don’t ever lose touch with what is reality for our School: we are a community and we work best as one.
Doug was simply incredible. I know that the ‘Nine Tellers ‘was beyond that which he imagined himself doing and under the most sombre circumstances. So moving…
Thank you again. I will never forget last night. We will collaborate again and again, of that I am sure!”
Only two of the ringers are current members of 1st Newent Scouts; everyone else has moved on to Explorer scouts and beyond, so to ensure that we keep the momentum going, we are going to need an influx of new ringers. The next event we plan to ring for will be the Christmas services at the Church, but in handbell-practice terms, this isn’t far away. If you would like to have a go, or see if you would like to join a team solely made up of current 1st Newent Cubs/Scouts, please contact Clive Bryant, Scout Sectional Assistant.