Two Notes

Would you like to play bells?

I’m flattered and timid at the invitation. Is this a reward for singing in a small church group recently disbanded?

Hand bell groups, usually based in a church, are fun to both watch and listen to. The bells shine, flash, and give off an unexpected array of sounds. Can I do this?

With my courage pushing me forward I report to the first practice of the season. I’ll only have two notes to keep track of. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself this past week.

Acquaintances point me to the white practice gloves. The director assigns me to my place – the lowest bells of the three octave array. I’ve four to ring – two basic notes and their accidentals. Lowest in the left hand, higher in the right.

Keep the beat. In several places these low notes serve as the bass drum in a band. Dong. Dong. Dong. Then — a run, syncopation, key change — how did I miss the repeat sign?

Stubborn is a family trait. I return the next week. And the next for practice. Then nerves blossom as we walk in front of the congregation for the “special music”.

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