President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
Leadership is about service and giving something back. I've had some great pleasure out of my ringing and do feel strongly about giving something back and that's what I'm trying to do and I think across the whatever number thirty thousand five thousand bring as A. We have jobs in our skill sets in life stories in our experiences. We have certain talent which can be brought over in. Cross the interim. Hi Welcome to the season. Two of the fun with bells poke cost which will be now published monthly where I- Kathy Booth Interview Novices and some of the most famous rings in the world as they reveal the mysteries of this heard but often hidden our guest. Today is Christopher Armani. Christopher is an Australian who has been living in the UK for the past twelve years. He's been a bell ringer for over forty years holding many roles in Australia and the UK culminating in two thousand seventeen and becoming the president of the Central Council of Church Bell ringers. Hello Christopher Hi. We're going to talk about several things including your background. Isabel ring but also about the Central Council of Church Bell ringers. Which leads me to my first question. What is the Central Council of Church? Powering as well Gordon and not show it's an entity that's been around for about a hundred and twenty five years it was formed in icy ninety-one here in the eye. It as designed to be sort of the peak body for all will bill rings nationally and internationally it was folded as an expression oath auspice the church reform movement and equivalent ringing reformed movement to try and develop some standardization across the excise and to encourage collaboration between all the various byles guilds and associations now these days the Central Council is a federation of Sixty seven affiliated societies. Some of those predate the formation of the central council by Very Long Way so for instance. The ancient societies live in society. Coach Youth Society Royal Cumberland News Create 1891 central council formation by many centuries of the society who formed much later and indeed as we know dollars boundaries move change merge the couple so the societies often wells Golda younger anyway or those affiliated societies are entitled to nominate representatives to come and share their experiences and develop common understandings and common practices across the exercise. The Central Council has had an interesting road over the hundred and twenty five years. And it's never been without controversy in the time that I've been involved with it. There's been controversy around. Its usefulness its relevance to wring his generally is it to top down is to DICTA. To`real is toothless. You control so many analogies with the political scene today so I've ended up here with the Central Council at a time where the coal for Fulham has been getting louder and louder and so it's sort of fallen to my shoulders and the team around me to deliver on a reform agenda and I'd like to think that we are in delivering all met rather than sort of focus on on inward-looking so how central council conserve ringers. Within ringing is useful to go so about the Central Council of and how is a representative body to the part of society so we did quite a lot of work in terms? All the ice on national and international level with other entities. Such is the Buildings Council. What used to being the heritage and is now historic England. The Churches Conservation Trust include the insurance and many other bodies we also do credibly is with the biltrite. The worshipful company found this and many other buildings in New Orleans at the moment with the scouts. Guide the Boys Brigade in the Goals Guy Science. It's very involved with lots of connections outside of bell ringing and within Bell Ringing. I'm understanding that a representative can be from each of the diocesan organizations. But does it hold any meetings for bell ringers? Who are not involved. In the committee's Seventy S so as a service provider enemy just clarify in the affiliated societies a number of the modern day territorial Dawson based but there are quite a few that a non territorial. So for instance as I mentioned the Cumberland's in the colleges and not what we would call a territorial society but they they send their representatives as well in terms of services during his meetings absolutely so for the last few years we've been holding seminars well for many many years of education seminars public relations seminars recruitment and retention seminars. Tau A maintenance workshops and also in the last few years in association with AFC ought to have the conference in March over weekend. The IOT conference will be held on the Saturday and central council would offer something on an equivalent fame on the Sunday of the same weekend in the same bendy so we try hard to advertise those units throughout the exercise. So let's say might have had awesome bell advisor we would have worked with this judge. Buildings Council to bring all the the DACA bell advises together. And that's a meeting. That happens annually. Late June early July of this year was oxted and was the largest attendance later had talks about all sorts of things about bill tuning historic his folks and friends Quite quite sort of engineering. Technically off the rules around the faculty applications This particular Nisha the exercise to which that space and so we try and offer services to wring his for all sorts of dimensions. Whether it's human weather is typical of the services that we provide. We have a complaints advice. Line FOR INSTANCE. And it's one of those services that you don't really hear too not about bought up and down the country occasionally. You'll have knives you moving into an area for the. I hadn't realized that there was a judge on their doorstep three times a week and techy about it and so the service that we offer is the praised on top of that on your we have some very very good guidelines on a Roy getting invoice complaint in the first place and be what to do about it. If you do get a noise complaint and you get a noise abatement mocking on needle. That's just one of many many services that we offer a huge of in Boston Gardens on insurance and bills insurance in Bell Ringers Risk Assessments Fires Assessments Tower Safety Safeguarding Child. Protection said vulnerables a whole range of advice services that are available to all ring if people want to find out about those. What's the best way to do that? Please go to the website. That's the fists trump but interestingly whenever I'm moving around the country and hoping to rather a few bill. I'm always heartened to see central council publications on the bookshelves Central Council safeguarding advice notices on the noticeboard. Recruitment prices in the church coach. So you it's one of those things where it's visible and at the same time invisible. Say the website. We'll we'll put the link to that in the show notes moving on to the C. Is Central Council meeting weekend? Well I think there's something there for everybody and again if we could direct your listeners. To the Council website where advertising the amazing in line with the reform and renewal agenda spoke to earlier where working really hard to really have a showcase of some of the services the council office but also a bringing together of services offered by all sorts of the folk too so the meeting itself arguably the most exotic making on the planet is on the Saturday but on on the Friday we've opportunities to ring the number of city churches in London guided to those imposed cathedral. We've also got a little informal quiz a buffet supper on the Saturday. The meeting itself and also during World Board meeting will happen on Sunday. The eighth we've got like a mini road show in a way so we got some parallel tracks of in very very interesting speakers will go some simulated Whole sorts of static displays wanting society of books so aren publications bookstore will be there. I knew champion thusly Belcher. He's one of our speakers. Marcus books from ecclesiastical speeches bill is giving fascinating togue on the history of filtering. We have the inimitable. Steve Colan speaking to us about some well. One thing World War Two ring as well so we like to think of something for everybody. Respiration is not only the central council representatives will come in. Avail themselves of all of this panoply of stock. That's available but also ring who haven't had any previous association with Central Council because it's not a closed. Event is very much an open event so we would be delighted to see about five hundred people there. So there's still a few spices is cheap as chips. So I'd recommend people look again at the website. Follow in fact just google. Ccc London Twenty Nine hundred and it will be the first hit. Can we just confirm where it is when it is? Yes it stories that weekend in September from six thirty this September. It's at Goldsmiths. College is the is the headquarters which is in southeast London down the Eram new cross right. Great sounds really interesting. Yeah so their accommodation options available. Either on campus or locally. It's going to be a great social if anybody wishing has ever been to the youth competition or the national twelve. Bill eliminated competition. It's GONNA be a lovely lovely social event and a great networking events. Also moving on. That sounds really interesting. I'd like to learn a little bit about your Christopher. How did you become a ballerina? What's what's your background. Oh this is quite funny store. I you know the usual thing boy in a little parish church in Sydney which also had a set of bells funnily enough born and raised a Roman Catholic. Not a very good with fairly economical in my family and so the Catholic Church in Sydney had a pretty poor church music track record so my my mom was quite musical. Wanted to be a good musical setting good church music anyway so there. I was a little boy Sunday after Sunday. Look the weddings. And they asked me to take the money up to the bill rings one day after waiting and I did realize whole making two dollars to sing for wedding and I can if I become a building. Arcade make another two dollars. And you can do so instead of making four dollars for great. Absolutely fantastic hooked. What sort of age would you have been was about? Fourteen right time when that kind of money is very well yes of course but still driver and she found out and so she made a slice of the action anyway but the driving licence ago change. I see and all you appeal ring. Aurora Tower grabber. Well Yeah I mean some people up in Utah the wordy and they're taking a whole house mcduffie narrow vision of dove now. They're carrying on to see if they can take off every town every county in just the last few remaining on one of those. I'm afraid I do enjoy Pale Pale. Ringing I enjoy Talgo More enjoy handle pouring into it. Sitting down in half number of people tend not to get lookouts The Night Stone compliant eleven. And it's it's again a bit niche very much enjoy handlery Tocqueville's at all so run about eight hundred fifty. I enjoy that. I'm not into long lengths but you know some people that's what flips Very heavy bills. You know anything over two tons all revert to somebody else. I think that's the good thing about ringing. Is NOTHING FOR EVERYBODY. So this something to the engineers is something for the musicians. Something to the Social Life. There really is something for everybody in running really is a very broad church literally now. I was reading your CV and a notice you're a director of ICT at Harrow. School and also got an interest in teaching people to ring bells. How would you compare teaching? Ict With teaching people to ring bells over. There completely. Different style of teaching that. I would be doing here at school this time. It's very much joe control. It's a pretty traditional old fashioned place so you sit down and you will listen. I will tell you what you need to learn. Bell ringing is nothing at all like that. Of course because of I'm working in a school that surrounds the local parish church. Of course it take me long to set up a g. Komen grew so I've had some leads coming through during the bronze and the silver and the gold and they enjoyed it. It's all middle. Step is very easy for them to get to By North Antonoff. They're going to get a bit of straight-talking email from me and very nice to see them. Progress now ause teaching there is this one way is that we know that and how. I would teach a young person. How a young person? Lens Ring Arguably is a little different to how mature age Lana would approach it. And even then some people ask questions and people. Don't ask them any questions. Some a mole kinesthetic learners some verbal. Somo more visual. What is when the police is along? The same of innovation is there is so much tech available to support learning so whether that simulators whether it's done bills whether it's methodology in various APPs on this funds on absolutely delighted when I can see a bit of a spark in somebody's by and they go away in the comeback. Another week lighter and downloaded the APP might clearly been studying. They're playing hunt so they play both doubles. I think. Goodness a brilliant really ready to fire. I love it so I enjoy teaching people and I think not only not only do I enjoy it? But it's absolutely essential to To keeping the whole shove going we would really delighted to this linking into Central Council again. We're absolutely delighted with how everybody stepped up with the ringing remembers campaign in twenty eighteen. And you've already spoken with the Chapman on one of the previous podcast Wow we wow way. Who would've imagined that it would have captured? The public imaginations is such an extent. The message went out to the HOI. All sorts at target was fourteen hundred recruit to symbolically. Replace those hundred died. You heard of this before but I'm saying it again and we over achieved. We got over three thousand made about three thousand five hundred choirs of whom three thousand started learning and the retention has been amazing like up there on facebook group. The enthusiasm is boundless. Absolutely boundless a hero on the Hill. We had three full of those ringing remembers. Recruits is still with us still enthusiastic looking for the next thing so when it came to ringing for the seventy fifth anniversary of the night when it came to ring the dom there they were searching a love it. Interestingly of course it would have exposed was a bit of a gap in in our in our teaching in the week. We had a lack of capacity in in teaching. So that's where they ought to be able to help and also we need to fill that gap new new leaders just as much as new rights. As you say we need more people teach powering. We do not. That's not an overnight. Thing is the the practical skills and knowledge of how to do it. But Gosh there's a little confidence required as well. I I know lots. And lots perfectly capable ringers. Just a little bit hesitant little bit nervous about being responsible for another person's learning and how to get over that that confidence barriers is a key thing. How would you do that? I like the approaches of Suing Mentoring and coaching terribly. Important Again that face to face very useful of again there are lots and lots of training is teaching teaching how to teach. And so you know the won't hold the High Eighty as integrated teacher training scheme so helping a new teacher to see what the step saw a break. The learning process down into easy sized chunks. So it's taken a bit of the theater and the apprehension album. I think that's great kids right on to move on to your role as president of the C. C. How did you end up being the president? How did you get the I thought it was a CPO? Somebody told me. There wasn't contingency. But I can take flavor previous Presidents Central Council. Said you really show you know. There is no glory. There's no power of no pets on the back. There's no Magoo case. It doesn't work like that and it's not looking. Hawkin reiterate something that I say a little little reception earlier in the year to be arena to get a been president for the limbaugh. We'll come back to that. To be ringer is a great privilege the privilege to be able to ring the wonderful bills these wonderful majestic instruments and in some majestic and historic places as well to be able to move around the country and knock on the door and be welcomed in is just wonderful. So it's a great privilege and with privilege comes responsibility and so we always rings as an obligation on us to come along on a Sunday during the service to help out a high days and holidays and so on and so forth. There's also this opportunity for leadership and I've taken on a leadership role but it's not about an ego trip. It's not about tweeting randomly. Like other presidents in the world leadership is about service and giving something back. I've had some great pleasure out with Meiringen career and do strongly about giving something back. And that's what I'm trying to do and I think across the whatever number thirty thousand thirty thousand bringing a we have you now w jobs skill sets in life stories in our experiences. We have so much talent which can be brought her that we can cross over the intervening so whether it's engineering people whether it's mathematician whether it's website design whether it's teaches were physios if we can encourage people to take on leadership roles and to do by bringing with them their skillset would completely transform bringing as we know it today so yeah so. I mentioned privilege and responsibility on mentioned leadership and service and then the other contrasting element I talk about is Excellence when it'll be ring. Obviously we should strive to do our best. We go experienced that wonderful magical spiritual place of amazing piece of ringing and being part of that and being lifted out of ourselves by them and we've also experienced the congress worthen pretty rubbish. All nighters tolerate this. We should always be striving to do our best in everything we do on absolutely delighted with engagement of use in the winning World National Youth Competition Alexander exit for the national to- competition and here we are listening to excellent ringing and people striving really hard to do that. But with that excellence with that straubing news a requirement for continuous improvement again that we should not have complacent we arrived at. There's nothing we can be slapdash without pulling off rounds and setting in impale and we should always always strive to do better better better anyway. So let me come back to you. Asked me about being president? I think? H President strives to have some key themes that would identify that would characterize the presidency has said earlier in the podcast. I arrived to Central Council in amongst the spirit of reform and renewal. And I'd like to think that We are witnessing that Bringing that green shoes if you like so I suppose there are six key themes that I've been striving full and and so those with possible to recruit and develop new loan as leaders. We are seeing that which is fantastic. Let's keep it up to engage. More materially with the church and other elements like old is nice spoke earlier about Al links with church can evidently asks cool with Churches Conservation. Trust National Trust starving and so on but also engaging in a very grown up way without ACC without church wardens without vickers to make sure the a mutual understanding and mutual appreciation to achieve the third one to raise and continue to raise the positive public awareness of ringing. And Gosh. We've had some wonderful wonderful Chris over the last few years whether that's print whether it's radio whether it's TV whether it's social media renting is much it's people the general public more open to what we're doing. Great some people describe it as part of the soundscape of the nation. That makes you stand up. Just a little bit straighter. When I'm part of an event happening whether it's a national event local event now they ask for the bills to the wrong and we do not have to try as like pushing it an open door. Because that's what we love giving we're happy to do it. And to not the wish so linked in without communities this ring is a bit of the social glue of at the moment of great. So that's all very forward thinking in lovely at the same time to continue to celebrate and promote the historical legacy of ringing a heck of a lot of work as you know Alan Reagan and the roles of ONA also digitizing the central council's library elections and helping to provide support and guidance and advice for other librarians and archivists in in our societies to maintain out historical rick fields and quote appeals and long wings show spills methods and so on and so forth a famous to continue to promote excellence in standards lovie highlighted. We have some wonderful sand donations for council to do that. But some council is there to help excellence incentives and also promote innovation in Hawaii with US simulators dumbbells and the working to hopefully get some grant money which we can then pass onto awardees to help like we did with ringing senses years ago to help house to get. Training is to help the whole recruitment and retention movement carry forward and then a six lines in that we're looking at is again as part of the renewal and reform into ways to increase direct participation towels activities so reducing barriers to participation. The off might be reliable. Might be impove. That is is the September weekend By really encouraging people to come along involved to the extent I feel comfortable then if people do want to get involved in the central council that they should come and onto that event and then at that event what would they do to contribute more welcome. Just come and chat to anybody. Who's the they're going to be in a highly distinctive Teasha and just come and say hi. We're not scary where we will say. We're trying to do the same thing. We just one we have a passion. Earning dunaway all of this and we wanted to flourish so by all means. Please step forward. We've got a skill set that But we need the mentioned the few earlier than please make yourself nine. Christopher before I go onto the nasty questions. Do you want to just think if there's anything that you wanted to cover they'll be another They're always national events. Need them in the predict similar in Deir Eyesight? We inevitably at some point in the future. We'll be having a new monarch events like that. We don't really want to think about it. But you know there will be a national outpouring of bringing a course and we need to be prepared for things like that and then next year. The moving the early evening holiday to the Friday of that week so to commemorate the definitive story of vide an so there will be a cold Put out the the coal to to mock it in your diary to Susan ringing on that Friday in early my semi final two questions apart from the Tas- that you regularly ring at. What is your favorite ring of bells? And why little unfair because my favorite would always be back in my homeland saint. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney Lovely Watch Apple. Twelve quite quite young ninety five and apart from that. I've I've had the great privilege to renew your Once in the past and they're an amazing twelve to marry redcliffe Bristol another amazing twelve. But Gosh my difficulties if I leave one out I might upset somebody a better stop there. There are just too many mentioned. That's what would you say is the reason why those are your favorites. Just how they sound or how they feel who will. Yes as all advantage that they they they go well. I mean the the heavier twelve or ways to challenge with a good team. And you know that they've been well-maintained you you're going to get a great sound out of them as well and again it comes back to your in ancient building ringing some wonderful bells until the last side of this great responsibility. Treat them with respect. My last question is has anything remarkable happen to you. That wouldn't have happened if you hadn't taken up Bell Ringing. I think building itself has caused so many remarkable events in my life so I've been running over forty years if it hadn't been ringing would either It's informed and driven my career choices. It's opened up to me of vast network of wonderful friend of so many walks of life so many shapes and sizes and so many eccentric characters but And the opportunity to see so many wonderful parts of not not just England Scotland Wales and Ireland. But but the rest of the world are the great privilege to ring at Washington Cathedral. Wrong appeal there on a cool appeal. They're both of them. Were on the fourth of July rozan would have done that I could have done. That ringing is just opened up so many unique opportunity in fact now his very strange anecdote. I was working on a thc related tonight by day. Job which is about school information systems and their evolution and I came across a journal article by Blah Good it's funny. I I know at Packwood did now. But he's a ringer in Bristol. Sorrow to Ringer and I said. Look desperate. The scholarly article by you by somebody who is at the guy he writes banks by it is the same guy and you probably about the third person in the world has ever admitted reading it is. That's the that's the problem is scholarly articles so. Interestingly on the back of that conversation I was given a study. Ground to travel to England. When was this nineteen ninety five? I think to explore how different school system is developed their. It and pat was my hosting Bridgeton. We went to a couple of schools where he had worked and we went ringing and ringing well so there was this crazy unique. Crossover between my mind work my study my research and my Hobie couldn't you couldn't make it thanks to my guest. Christopher Mani for giving us an insight into the world of the President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers More Information. Photographs and links can be found in our show notes at www dot fun with bells dot Com. I'm Cathy booth. This podcast was put together by a team special. Thanks go to an Townsley Thomas and John Quinn Leslie. Belcher Sue Hall Nick Boyd Rose Nightingale and the Society of Cambridge used for the recording of their ringing there are openings for other roles within the Production Team. Contact me at fun with Bells. Podcast G MAIL DOT COM. If you're interested if you're in Britain and are interested in learning to ring them please go to ringing teachers. Dot Org overhand Bell ringers? Hr GB DOT ORG DOT UK. Both websites have links to help. You get started. Follow me on twitter and facebook at fun with bows. Don't forget to tell others that you can listen to this podcast for free. It's available from any podcast. Trie off from the Website Fund with bells dot com next month from with bells. We HAVE MORE REGAN. Winging Mazda Worcester Cathedral to tell us about the teachings into there and some of his experiences.