Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Wesley Bell Ringers Summer tour 2017 - The FINAL blog

At CUMC in SLC on day one

Two weeks ago The Wesley Bell Ringers left on their tour of the Southwest.  They were excited, nervous, & questioning their ability to put in the work day after day to perform & live with each other on a bus for 15 days. 

Though two weeks seems like such a small amount of time in one's life, for this group the past two weeks of time left an impact that will last throughout their entire lives.   During this tour, The Wesley Bell ringers played for friends, family, Wesley Bell Ringer Alumni, host families, new friends, hand bell enthusiasts, hand bell choirs, future hand bell choirs, & for many they may never see again, but for each this choir demonstrated their ability to make music & work as a team.  As a chaperone, night after night we would hear comments about how great the performance was & it was always appreciated; however, it was the comments about how happy this group was & how evident it was that they loved what they are doing.  All parents back at home, you should be proud. We know that we are!

Thank you to everyone around the WORLD who followed The Wesley Bell Ringers on this blog & through social media.  The Wesley Bell ringers LOVE what they do & love even more that they can share this and all tour adventures with you.

And THANK YOU to everyone who has supported The Wesley Bell Ringers this year   - every pancake breakfast you came to, every rummage sale you participated in, all of the wrapping paper you purchased, the Valentine dance & dinner you supported, the love offerings at home & tour/holiday concerts, and every single hour you put in attending concerts, driving ringers to venues, 
& helping with fundraising events resulted in this amazing two week experience.  The Wesley Bell Ringers would not be what it is today - 54 years later - without YOU!

Vikingsholm, Lake Tahoe

Bakersfield Bocce Ball 

Westwood California

The Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Carlsbad Caverns Nation Park - New Mexico

Abilene Texas

SUP Abilene Texas

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo Texas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Durango Colorado

Silverton Colorado

Price Utah

Final words from Katie:


Another year in the books!

To some people, our organization may seem old and stale. 54 years of the same routine? Another summer tour? Well yes, consistency is one of our strengths. However, every year is as unique as the individual members that make up our choir. We may run the same fundraisers, practice on the same nights, and make the same jokes on a two-week tour, but the group of people involved year to year is never the same. The highs and lows, the strengths and weaknesses, the belly laughs and the tears are always comfortably familiar, but the hearts involved are new every year.

We perform the same program for 14 nights, yet never repeat a song. What we see, hear, and say affects the notes we ring each night. This tour has taught us a lot about how the choices we make each day can change not only who we are in that moment, but who we can become in the future.

Ed writes a devotional for each day while we’re on tour. This year, he wrote a book of parables. A parable is a story told to illustrate a moral or philosophical idea. With Ed’s parables, there is no right or wrong answer. Rather, the goal is to inspire each of us to consider the question, and interpret the meaning for ourselves. We held a few discussions about the meaning of the parables, and how they apply to our lives as Wesley Bell Ringers, and in our everyday lives. This choir is filled with thoughtful, talented ringers, and I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve accomplished together.

Our traditions are storied, and our history long, but each choir is fresh, new and serves to further our longstanding goals. I was particularly struck by the incredible mosaic that our ringers, directors, and chaperones created this year. Here’s to many more!


Wesley Bell Ringer 2017 Summer tour - DAY 15 - OFF DAY to Montrose Colorado - Saturday June 25th, 2017

Day 15, last day to travel to a host church on this tour & instead of taking the entire drive on the bus today, The Wesley Bell Ringers traveled part way by rail today on the Durango to Silverton train.  3.5 hours in the most amazing scenery to date, the choir enjoyed being together to have this experience.  Once in Silverton, a town created to mine silver,  The Wesley Bell Ringers had a couple hours for lunch & to explore before meeting up with the bus the drive through the San Juan (Rocky Mountain) range on the Million Dollar Highway to Montrose Colorado for their last tour stop before heading home to SLC on Sunday.

An early morning run through Durango led Anna to a delicious find - Local treats. 

ALL ABOARD!  The Wesley Bell Ringers boarding the train in Durango Colorado

Keep your hands & arms inside the train at all times.

Train selfie

Say CHEESE Mady & Jack B!

Some serious conversations happening on the Durango to Silverton train.

How many thoughts must be going through Ed's head at anytime will always be a mystery

The Wesley Bell Ringers made it to Silverton - they mined SILVER there, right Anna?

Looks like they let ANYONE into the town of Silverton.  The Wesley Bell Ringers ran into their most favorite bus driver who took them on adventures last tour & the tour before.  They missed his sassiness & love of the choir. 

Montrose venue

Last tour concert before home

Pamela's family traveled many miles to see her play.  

As did Holden's family.   Aunt Kathy & Amy (sitting on the right) came for the second year in a row! 

The Wesley Bell Ringers finally did it, their music was so incredible, it moved these two to sleep.  After the concert their mom purchased a CD to play to them at bed time.  

Alumni Wesley Bell Ringer - Robin Streeter ringer #42.  She said that her favorite Ed tour memory was when he would say at every concert that someday they would "drive the bus to Hawaii"

Marko & his Uncle John who came to the concert from Grand Junction.

Get to know your Wesley Bell Ringers…

You can call me:
Ella Mittelstadt
If I were a hand bell, I would be a:
 B-flat, my favorite bell to play
My favorite Wesley Bell song is:
This tour I am most excited for:
 The Santa Monica Pier
What being a Wesley Bell Ringer means to me?
 Spreading my love of music with friends.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Wesley Bell Ringer 2017 Summer tour - DAY 14 - OFF DAY Santa Fe NM to Durango Colorado - Friday June 23rd, 2017

Ed in Santa Fe talking to The Wesley Bell Ringers about the Marsha Vilven award

Today The Wesley Bell Ringers had a day of, from bells; however, it wasn't what we all thing of when we think of a day off:

  • Back to the St John's at 7:30
  • Bus loaded by 7:55
  • Bank
  • Hike/walk to Old Fort Marcy Park for the view & to allow ringers time to vote for the Marsha Vilven award for this year.  This award is an award given to one ringer each year (peer voted) who demonstrated strong leadership & the ability to keep the culture & tradition of The Wesley Bell Ringers alive & strong.  
  • Hike/walk back down the hill to the Loretto chapel & the Miraculous Staircase.
  • Quick walk over to the oldest church in New Mexico - San Miguel Chapel
  • Tour of the Oldest House in New Mexico, next door to the church
  • Walk down the street to The New Mexico State Capital
  • Back on the bus for a quick drive to Jackalope (probably the most amazing pottery & local art, craft, cultural things you might ever see!) 
  • Lunch
  • 2 hours at Meow Wolf - describes as  "an arts production company that creates immersive, multimedia experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of storytelling. Our work is a combination of jungle gym, haunted house, children's museum, and immersive art exhibit."  or  "Pee Wee's Playhouse on steroids"  There really isn't enough room in the blog to describe the experience at Meow Wolf.  Just go & check it out. 
  • Back on the bus for a four hour drive to Durango Colorado.  Best naps of the tour for sure.
  • Dinner.  Ringers set free in Durango (with boundaries) & Chaperones, Katie, Anna, & Ed dinner. 
  • Poker playing - initiated by Mady & Holden who thought up the idea of asking the front desk permission to use the breakfast room to hang out.  Great job guys!
  • Lights out at 11pm. 
And this is how The Wesley Bell Ringers have a day off!  For those of us tracking steps - each person, including Ed put in approximately 14,000 steps today.  

Pamela, the master of under the bus loading! 

Anna & her daily banana snap chat photo.  Oh, Anna!

Little did The Wesley Bell Ringers know that this would be the most action packed day off ever. 

Santa Fe is RAD!

Hanging out at the top of the hill.

The Loretta Church & The Magical Staircase

Ed & his keeper

Wondering what it would be like to play bells here.
The Oldest House

Saying Grace & breaking bread at The Oldest House

The Oldest Church next door to The Oldest House
New Mexico State Capital

Today The Wesley Bell Ringers had the great flood of 2017 when a leftover cooler now filled with water dumped over at a sudden stop & rushed down the bus aisle.  Good thing they all had their chaperone gifted beach towels to clean it up!

Jackalope in Santa Fe.  There aren't enough words to describe the wonder of this place.  

There are many of us who have begun to plan trips back to Santa Fe, with  large transportation vehicles to come back to shop

Ed at Meow Wolf

Holden walking out of a freezer


One of the many wonders of Meow Wolf

Liam, Connor, Connor,& Jack trying to digest what they just saw at Meow Wolf

This group also digesting
Durango.  Hotel night!
Kids arranged their own meeting place at the hotel for a quick round of poker
Small world, Gina & Ella ran into their host families from Prescott Arizona - Prescott UMC, Dave & Kay in the lobby at the hotel in Durango! 

Chaperone dinner!

Get to know your Wesley Bell Ringers…

You can call me:
Connor /Steve/Joey
If I were a hand bell, I would be a:
My favorite Wesley Bell song is:
Festival Sanctus
This tour I am most excited for:
What being a Wesley Bell Ringer means to me?
 Having fun & trying hard at the same time.


Wesley Bell Ringer Summer tour 2017

The Wesley Bell Ringers Summer tour 2017 - The FINAL blog

At CUMC in SLC on day one Two weeks ago The Wesley Bell Ringers left on their tour of the Southwest.  They were excited, nervous, &am...