THE musician behind the ringing of York Minster’s carillon of bells on New Year’s Eve said he may stay at home next year if they are to be drowned out again by live music.
Doctor of music, John Ridgeway-Wood, has performed for the past four years in the Minster’s carillon, a set of musical bells played using a wooden keyboard and which can be heard throughout the city centre.
However, on January 1 the music and the midnight chimes of the Great Peter bell were drowned out by a live band outside the Minster, organised by City of York Council.
Mr Ridgeway-Wood said: “I would go up at 11.30pm and play Christmas songs then at midnight Great Peter would strike before the bell-ringers would play for about 20 minutes.”
He said the striking of midnight followed by the peal of bells had gone on for “donkey’s years” and was traditional across the country.
“I’m not sure what happened this year,” he said.
“They had a countdown for midnight on the stage, but as soon as it reached midnight the band struck up again. I started to get tweets from the people outside saying they couldn’t hear the bells.”
He said: “If this is going to be a regular event I might as well stay at home.”
Sally Burns, the council’s director of communities and neighbourhoods, said: “The New Year’s Eve celebrations at Duncombe Place were enjoyed by hundreds of residents and visitors to the city and we have received positive feedback from many of those present.
“We would like to sincerely apologise to Mr Ridgeway-Wood and his fellow bell-ringers for any disruption to the ringing of the Minster bells, at midnight.
“It was certainly not the intention of these free festivities to encroach on this well-loved tradition.
“The York 800 end of year screenings were shown across the city throughout the whole of the weekend – giving everyone in York a chance to re-live the events of the year and be reminded of the fantastic celebrations we have all been involved in.”
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