The Parkway Press
The Bells Ring on Despite Low NumbersWednesday, February 16, 2005 By Kyle Fitzpatrick
As you walk down the halls of the lower school in the late morning, the light chime of hand bells can still be heard. Why is this newsworthy? Because the class is so small. Due to the dedication of Dayna Drake and the rest of the hand bell choir, the group continues to play this year. The few remaining, but highly dedicated, players in the hand bell group feature senior captain Matt Monagan, juniors Dan Boyd, Kyle Fitzpatrick, Ryan Elmy, Lauren Rodnick, and Katie Kasinskas and sophomore Scudder Baggett. The reason for the decrease in members is unknown, but the group has found success with what they have this year. “It’s going through some tough times right now,” Monagan said. “Hand-bells has always been a popular club, but this year there has been a huge drop-off, and I’m very disappointed.” Monagan said that he couldn’t understand why the change occured. “To me, there’s nothing equal to this. Before you start playing, you get a sudden rush like no other. The feeling of making these beautiful sounds is…well, it’s indescribable. But the best part is how the crowd reacts to it. I love it when we’re hitting the bells with the mallets, and everybody is like, ‘How did they do that?’ It’s great. But I think the new schedule is tearing apart the choir,” Monagan said. Many others seem to agree. Many feel that the new schedule, which now includes a conference period at the end of each day, and a lunch period that flip-flops from day to day, is putting a restriction as to which students have enough time to take the class. “Maybe there were scheduling problems with the kids. I’m hoping people wanted to play and couldn’t get in instead of not just wanting to play. Some of the kids have come to me to explain that hand bells doesn’t fit into their schedule,” choir leader Dayna Drake said. Recently, the “Just Blaze” bell choir has performed at its first stop of what is to be an exhilarating, show-stopping tour throughout Connecticut. The first gig was a safe concert at Drake’s church.