I had a handbell rehearsal last night. I'm just a ringer. I don't direct the choir.
The director moves me where she needs me the most. For one song, she has me play in the upper treble bell section. I don't mind. I'll play whatever she wants me to play. Just know that I prefer lower bells - like more toward or in the bass line.
The girl who plays the upper treble bells next to me has missed two out of the last 3 rehearsals. Yes, two. IN A ROW! If she were a super ringer who could read music, play four-in-hand, and had a super sense of rhythm that would be okay, because it happens. This girl has been ringing for 2 years and is totally clueless. She refuses to count.
(A little background: Mr. ran into her last Friday after she'd missed the second rehearsal. Mr. was furious. He told her that it wasn't fair to the rest of us that she missed rehearsal. He told her that if she couldn't make rehearsals that maybe she should quit. He has a point...)
She showed up last night. We started with the song in which she plays the melody line - a song that we were going to play in church LAST spring. It's not like she hadn't ever seen the music. She missed the first 10 measures... twice. I counted for her -- out loud. She just didn't even have a clue as to where we were. She was totally paralyzed. She just stood there with her bells up. UGH!!!! If I weren't so busy with my 4 and an extra 3 bells because one of our members was away, I would have played her 2...
The director was as patient as she could be - she's getting a free pass into heaven. If I were the director, I would have been tearing my hair out. I'd be bald by now!! By the time we finished the piece, I was furious. The director was furious. Fortunately for me, the rest of the time I play down towards the bass line. I went back to my spot and heaved a sigh. My friend rolled her eyes at me, welcomed me back, and made me laugh... Thank GOD!
The girl didn't get any better. We are playing next Sunday. She gets nervous and freezes... I can only imagine what that song is going to sound like with 1/2 the melody line missing. Trust me, that melody line will only be missing for a few measures, because I'll take her bells and play them - even if I have to pry them out of her fat little fist. I'm not going to let her ruin the piece for the rest of the choir that worked so hard.
FYI: We have a new person who started 4 weeks ago. She has never rung before -- ever. She doesn't read music. She is doing great! She rings beautifully! She counts. She tries. She takes her music home to learn it. She is dedicated and she cares. The choir sure does appreciate her.
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