Education & Public Relations Coordinator:
Lois StevensLearn More!
|Friends of the Norwich Bells|
Statement of Mission
We are a not for profit community based group dedicated to the preservation, enjoyment, and promotion of bells and bell ringing in Norwich, Connecticut. We strive to enrich the cultural, spiritual, and economic life of our city through education, communications, and special events.
How It All Started
For a number of years, I have dreamt of putting out a CD of the sounds of the many bells that are rung at various times around our city. "What a neat idea for Christmas time", I thought to myself. But it wasn't until early 2010 that I mentioned the idea to my friend, Dale Plummer, who happens to be the City of Norwich Historian. The following Saturday, we drove all over town scoping out church bells, factory bells, fire house bells, and bells that aren't around any more. Where did they go?
It wasn't long before we learned of bells that are still housed in their original towers that had been forgotten about, great bells like the one that used to ring for the Falls Mill, that still exist, and even a church bell that had been melted down and made into many small bells, purchased by parishioners as a fund raiser.
Dale began spending long hours at the Otis Library as word spread about what we were up to. Interest in a project to record and promote the bells in Norwich started to grow. It became clear that, every bell has a story, and those stories are about Norwich, it's people, it's history, it's churches and factories and railroads and schools, even it's laws.
Friends of the Norwich Bells held it's first organizational meeting at noon on Saturday, April 11th, which was attended by about a dozen people from a cross section of the community. By this time, our focus was expanding too, not just putting out a nice CD, (although that is very important), but to how a group of people interested in bells and the beautiful music they make might also benefit the social, cultural, and economic life of our city. - Kevin Harkins
Who Is Welcome To Join Us?
In a word… anyone! We are a friendly community organization open to all who are interested in furthering the cultural life of Norwich. We hope you have or will cultivate at least a passing interest in bells, bell ringing and music. Perhaps you collect bells. Maybe your interest lies in learning how bells are made, or teaching others about the roll of bells in spirituality and religion. Healing?
We are particularly interested in hearing from people who would like to help with research, editing, publishing, and fund raising.
We are also working on a couple of other exciting activities, including a field trip to the Mcshane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, MD, and a tour of the bells of northern New England. Fundraisers to help repair old towers, bell choir concerts, seminars and scholarships are just some of the ways Friends of the Norwich Bells is committed to being a fun and uplifting part of life in Norwich, CT.
What ever your interests, we invite you to share your ideas and your time with us. And, if you’ve found an old bell that you want help researching, or that you think somebody might want, please give us a call.
Ring Out Rose City
A CD of the sounds of the Norwich bells went on sale on April 16, 2013. Could there be a better way to share just part of the beauty that is here in Norwich, Connecticut, with our neighbors and the rest of the world! And at the height of Connecticut’s sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War, it will be the perfect sequel to Norwich’s January 1, 2013 celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. On that great day, the bells throughout our city rang for one hour. Later, Mayor James Lloyd Greene said that, nowhere had there been a bigger celebration of the signing of that great document than in Norwich, Connecticut.
National Bell Ringing July 4
Churches and other organizations as well as individuals are encouraged to take part in the annual nationwide bell ringing at 2 PM Eastern Daylight Time on July 4. This tradition began in 1963 and is celebrated in towns and cities across the country.
“Let Freedom Ring!”
(Left to Right) Dale Plummer, Kevin Harkin, Miriam Mills, Richard Hamar, Dave Oat
|Some Goals and Objectives|
1.The production of a CD of the ringing, tolling, chiming and playing of bells throughout Norwich and the distribution of same in the Fall of 2012, along with a book picturing these bells and telling their history.
2. Working to support the 2013 celebration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, at which time the bells in Norwich, CT were rung for one hour.
3. Exploring ways to help support the repair of damaged or neglected bell towers in our city.
4. Providing growthful experiences for youth through an enhanced understanding of our city’s historic, cultural, spiritual and economic vibrance.
5. Promoting interest in and appreciation of bells, bell ringing, and bell music throughout Norwich.
|TO THE BELL (c) by H. Kevin Harkins|
How many times have you been rung?
How many heroes have you sung?
Where were you cast, and why were you hung?
To stir the heart and still the tongue?
Do you chime, ring, toll or peal?
Are you made from copper, bronze or steal?
Do you sound mechanically or do you feel
When calling to curfew, worship or meal?
It must be rough when someone dies,
And you’re the only one that cries
What’s it like to cross the skies
With music, wonderful and wise?
Or maybe you clunk, or you got cracked.
Somebody got comfortable with the fact.
Now you’re stowed and stored and stacked
Unable to speak, ring or react.
It could be you’ve been left behind,
And nobody has yet to find
A town or church for you to mind,
With messages of every kind.
Do not fret… it’s just as well;
And when it’s time, you will tell,
Whether words from heaven or fire from hell,
The story that can only be tolled by a bell.
|FRIENDS OF THE NORWICH BELLS|
25 Broadway, No. 204 Norwich, CT 06360
: phone: 860-319-5717