York Minster musician’s bells ‘clanger’ anger

John Ridgeway-Wood

John Ridgeway-Wood

First published in News by

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.”

Comments (17)

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10:05am Thu 3 Jan 13

goodfellow says...

I am sure this can be sorted out for next year, with the 'live' music ending just before midnight then bells then home - just pleased that CYC do something to support events in York
I am sure this can be sorted out for next year, with the 'live' music ending just before midnight then bells then home - just pleased that CYC do something to support events in York goodfellow
  • Score: 0

10:09am Thu 3 Jan 13

atorycouncil2014 says...

Oh no Calamity Crisp strikes again. Perhaps she should start taking cultural trips to places like Rome Barcelona Paris etc rather than just Blackpool.

Stop the cheapening and destruction of culture in our city!!
Oh no Calamity Crisp strikes again. Perhaps she should start taking cultural trips to places like Rome Barcelona Paris etc rather than just Blackpool. Stop the cheapening and destruction of culture in our city!! atorycouncil2014
  • Score: 0

10:21am Thu 3 Jan 13

Mister Sheen says...

Fair comment. We were pleased that there was an attempt to enhance the New Year experience outside the Minster but we were disappointed that we could barely hear the midnight bell, let alone any after it!
Fair comment. We were pleased that there was an attempt to enhance the New Year experience outside the Minster but we were disappointed that we could barely hear the midnight bell, let alone any after it! Mister Sheen
  • Score: 0

10:24am Thu 3 Jan 13

pedalling paul says...

Might as well state the obvious....sounds as though someone dropped a clanger.....!
Might as well state the obvious....sounds as though someone dropped a clanger.....! pedalling paul
  • Score: 0

11:57am Thu 3 Jan 13

hustler says...

goodfellow wrote:
I am sure this can be sorted out for next year, with the 'live' music ending just before midnight then bells then home - just pleased that CYC do something to support events in York
Sounds fair enough to me.
[quote][p][bold]goodfellow[/bold] wrote: I am sure this can be sorted out for next year, with the 'live' music ending just before midnight then bells then home - just pleased that CYC do something to support events in York[/p][/quote]Sounds fair enough to me. hustler
  • Score: 0

12:41pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Dr Brian says...

Hopefully it will be organised better next year and the live band will go silent so all can appreciate the beautiful peel of bells - After all we don't want any stamping of his feet by a petulant bell ringer do we!
Hopefully it will be organised better next year and the live band will go silent so all can appreciate the beautiful peel of bells - After all we don't want any stamping of his feet by a petulant bell ringer do we! Dr Brian
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Thu 3 Jan 13

ShunGokuSatsu says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Might as well state the obvious....sounds as though someone dropped a clanger.....!
They, uh...already made that joke in the headline.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Might as well state the obvious....sounds as though someone dropped a clanger.....![/p][/quote]They, uh...already made that joke in the headline. ShunGokuSatsu
  • Score: 0

2:34pm Thu 3 Jan 13

PA2Y5C says...

Sounds to me like an attempt to secularise the event by playing down the Minster's role. The event was not "at Duncombe Place" but outside the West Front of the Minster, with people then overflowing into Duncombe Place. The Minster was the attraction for people that night as it has been for centuries: a focus for proposals, pilgrimages, farewells and funerals. So people flock to the Minster for its own significance, not because it's a backdrop to Duncombe Place. In the video the Minster seems to be obliterated by the stage's bright lights; why bother with a band at all? Gather, admire the floodlight building, hail the new year, hear the bells and leave; easy.
Sounds to me like an attempt to secularise the event by playing down the Minster's role. The event was not "at Duncombe Place" but outside the West Front of the Minster, with people then overflowing into Duncombe Place. The Minster was the attraction for people that night as it has been for centuries: a focus for proposals, pilgrimages, farewells and funerals. So people flock to the Minster for its own significance, not because it's a backdrop to Duncombe Place. In the video the Minster seems to be obliterated by the stage's bright lights; why bother with a band at all? Gather, admire the floodlight building, hail the new year, hear the bells and leave; easy. PA2Y5C
  • Score: 0

4:03pm Thu 3 Jan 13

bellringer64 says...

The DJ and his rcket were supposed to go silent at five minutes to midnight and remain so until ten minutes into the new year; as indeed was the Elvis impersonator in 2011. There ism no point in the bells being rung for the new year if they cannot be heard properly. To give readers an idea of how noisy it was, we rigners could not even hear Great Peter strike the 12 of midnight, even though we were 100' off the ground and adjacent to the big bell. It was also very difficult to hear the bells we were ringing, even though they are just 45 feet above us.
The DJ and his rcket were supposed to go silent at five minutes to midnight and remain so until ten minutes into the new year; as indeed was the Elvis impersonator in 2011. There ism no point in the bells being rung for the new year if they cannot be heard properly. To give readers an idea of how noisy it was, we rigners could not even hear Great Peter strike the 12 of midnight, even though we were 100' off the ground and adjacent to the big bell. It was also very difficult to hear the bells we were ringing, even though they are just 45 feet above us. bellringer64
  • Score: 0

4:10pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Terry3 says...

Nice to see from the comments that tradition is still alive and well in York. apart from the usual guff from PP..Well done you people.
Nice to see from the comments that tradition is still alive and well in York. apart from the usual guff from PP..Well done you people. Terry3
  • Score: 0

5:40pm Thu 3 Jan 13

BigJon says...

If the problem occurred in 2011 and wasn't sorted out in time for this year, despite complaints then, I don't really hold out much hope that the problem will be sorted out for the 2013/14 New Year celebrations.
If the problem occurred in 2011 and wasn't sorted out in time for this year, despite complaints then, I don't really hold out much hope that the problem will be sorted out for the 2013/14 New Year celebrations. BigJon
  • Score: 0

6:23pm Thu 3 Jan 13

bob the builder says...

It's only by people withdrawing their goodwill and free labour that the council will ever get the point. They are too busy trying to bury bad news and cuts by repeatedly staging loss making disruptive events and making spin about those same events even after public criticism. I think some of our Labour councillors must have been bussed in from London Boroughs.
It's only by people withdrawing their goodwill and free labour that the council will ever get the point. They are too busy trying to bury bad news and cuts by repeatedly staging loss making disruptive events and making spin about those same events even after public criticism. I think some of our Labour councillors must have been bussed in from London Boroughs. bob the builder
  • Score: 0

6:23pm Thu 3 Jan 13

bob the builder says...

It's only by people withdrawing their goodwill and free labour that the council will ever get the point. They are too busy trying to bury bad news and cuts by repeatedly staging loss making disruptive events and making spin about those same events even after public criticism. I think some of our Labour councillors must have been bussed in from London Boroughs.
It's only by people withdrawing their goodwill and free labour that the council will ever get the point. They are too busy trying to bury bad news and cuts by repeatedly staging loss making disruptive events and making spin about those same events even after public criticism. I think some of our Labour councillors must have been bussed in from London Boroughs. bob the builder
  • Score: 0

6:44pm Thu 3 Jan 13

eeoodares says...

Someone suggested why not have this event in Parliament Street, seems ideal and those of us who like the Minster tradition can enjoy it! Those who want video screens and a DJ can enjoy that too.
Someone suggested why not have this event in Parliament Street, seems ideal and those of us who like the Minster tradition can enjoy it! Those who want video screens and a DJ can enjoy that too. eeoodares
  • Score: 0

6:48pm Thu 3 Jan 13

woowoo25 says...

no mention of the bell ringer almost physically assaulting the band and having to be restrained by the minster security guards?

not very catholic!
no mention of the bell ringer almost physically assaulting the band and having to be restrained by the minster security guards? not very catholic! woowoo25
  • Score: 0

9:57am Fri 4 Jan 13

AngryandFrustrated says...

woowoo25 wrote:
no mention of the bell ringer almost physically assaulting the band and having to be restrained by the minster security guards? not very catholic!
Well it wouldn't be very Catholic given that the Minster is not a Catholic church - it's Church of England!!
[quote][p][bold]woowoo25[/bold] wrote: no mention of the bell ringer almost physically assaulting the band and having to be restrained by the minster security guards? not very catholic![/p][/quote]Well it wouldn't be very Catholic given that the Minster is not a Catholic church - it's Church of England!! AngryandFrustrated
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Fri 4 Jan 13

woowoo25 says...

outrageous!
i will never set foot in that big church again
outrageous! i will never set foot in that big church again woowoo25
  • Score: 0

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