Tuesday, December 21, 2010

21 : 25 {the bell tower}

Our family had the incredible privilege of visiting the National Cathedral's bell tower tonight. A dear woman from our church is one of their bell ringers and invited us for a private tour of the tower. My parents arrived last night from Florida and were able to come with us. What a fascinating experience!

Just getting up to the tower was an adventure in the dark, empty cathedral... with spectacular views of the city at every turn and a story to go with every room/hallway/storage area we entered. Oh, and the moon tonight... breathtaking.

The white dome to the left is the Capitol Building, and the Washington Monument is in the center.

The art of Change Ringing is not something I knew anything about until tonight. I imagined it all so differently in my mind. Here is a little I learned tonight about Change Ringing (from literature I picked up in the ringing room):
Change Ringing is a form of bell ringing in which a set of bells (generally 6-12) sounds in changing rhythmic sequences (called "methods") rather than in tunes. It originated in English in the sixteenth century and is still primarily practiced in the UK and former British Colonies. The bells are rung by a group of trained ringers, each of whom rings one bell by pulling a rope that swings the bell in a 360 degree arc from mouth-upward position to mouth-upward position each time it sounds.

The ropes that the my children were to go nowhere near.

Ten of the fifty Washington Ringers. It's cold way up there... this room was freezing!

Above their heads... the bells that weigh over 3000 pounds each.

Tuesday evenings they play for an hour and a half.
We didn't stay the whole time, but did enjoy the bells as we left the cathedral and walked to dinner.


  1. This is so cool. I'm jealous.

    BTW, I love that you're posting a picture everyday. Super fun. Have you thought of saving them in a photo album just for Decembers? I started a scrapbook for my mom 10 years ago to record family Christmases. Each year I add one page of pictures. It's really fun to look back on how everyone has changed, esp. the kids.

  2. This is fantatstic! My son fell on the floor with amazement when I showed it to him. Merry Christmas to you! Thanks for sharing such wonderful and edifying things here.

  3. I should add that my son is a *little* dramatic :)

  4. What a neat trip for the family. I remember when Mary Clark took my hand bell choir to watch them ring and see the bell tower - fascinating indeed!

  5. This was a great post! I loved the pictures. Thanks for sharing.



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