Friday, August 10, 2012

Melissa

This trip has been such an amazing experience, we can now finally say WE DID IT. The Mark Twain Ringers went to London and rang their hearts out. I am so proud of the whole choir, and am so thankful for all the help we received from the community, the school, Mr. Thiele, Dr. Patton, and everyone else who helped our dream come true. Everyone's handwork paid off.
I remember all the performances we went to, in order to raise the money we needed and all the hours of practice we had to do; it was all very hard. Having more than two performances every week during winter, going home late from performances, having to carry all of our equipment everywhere. At the time it would stress us all out, but once we were all set up to perform it was all alright, because the beautiful music we created with our bells calmed us down; every practice and performance was always so much fun!
Now that we are here we are having such an amazing time, our performances here have been very good, people see us walking with our equipment from our bus and they all stop and stare, and ask "who are they?".They get so impressed with us because we are so unique, no other handbell choir plays Adele, Taylor Swift, or Kate Perry like we do. It feels good to be recognized by all these people in London, and seeing ourselves on TV and on newspaper back home makes us feel famous.
These past nine days have been like a dream come true. I've always wanted to go to London and Paris and I'm sure everyone else does too, and now I can say "I've been thre, I saw that, and I rang there". I still can't believe I'm here. I think the best part of the trip was being able to be with the people I love, the Mark Twain Ringers, my second family.

Melissa.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back in LA

The Mark Twain Ringers have arrived safely to Los Angeles. It's been a long trip and everybody was tired and happy. It's been an amazing experience, and we all will have to reflect upon it in the next days. Parents and families were waiting for the group and we have lived similar moments to the ones we lived on the day we left, but this time with the children safely returned and with their luggage packed with an incredible experience and some souvenirs.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Laura

"Being here has been amazing. I've gotten used to it, so I don't miss home as much. At first I did, but now I don't want to leave. London is just AMAZING, all they have to offer here, like the places and food. This trip has been eye-opening and I'm grateful for having a chance to be here. Our Contributors and Dr. Patton have done this possible and from the bottom of my heart I thank them. It's sad to leave so early. I wish we had more time here, but unfortunately our job is down there. I hope I, as well with my family and this choir, come here again soon. I hope Theile has enjoyed this trip more than I, and hope he remembers it as a wonderful trip he got to enjoy with us, and us with him. I hope he knows how much us 9th graders appreciate everything he's done for us, and that we will all miss him and love him so much. Thanks for everything to those who contributed. This was all you, Dr. Patton, and Theile.
From London I say goodnight, and Los Angeles, I'm coming home tomorrow!! :)
Laura".

Hyde Park

We would have never expected to play in Hyde Park, the most important location in London dedicated to the Olympics after Olympic Park. However, when the Weymouth Festival was cancelled, they gave us a spot in Hyde Park. Thousands of people go through Hyde Park every day. A huge extension of the park has been conditioned for the free leisure of londoners and tourists during the games. Large screens project the different competitions in real time and people spend the day with their children and friends enjoying the Summer Olympics, eating from the numerous food stands, purchasing London 2012 merchandise from the official stores, playing games for adults and children, or listening to music. Today, the people visiting Hyde Park had the opportunity to listen to the Mark Twain Ringers.



The Unscheduled Performance

When we finished yesterday the performance at Southwark Cathedral, we had to be waiting for the bus for a while. Then, Ron had an idea, asked the children to put on their robes, get their bells and go towards the bridge. The Mark Twain Ringers played a couple of pieces in a performance that was not included in any program. Even when it had not been announced, it gathered some public and it was very much appreciated. It was one of the unforgettable moments of this trip.

video

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Southwark Cathedral

The Mark Twain Ringers were performing today at Southwark Cathedral. After two days without playing, they needed to get back to work. So that they wouldn't think they were here on vacation, Ron got them together for rehearsal soon after breakfast. They improvised a choir room in the common area of the apartment building (which is normally used as kitchen) and were practicing for more than an hour before getting on the bus that would take us to London. The schedule was going to be based on the time of the performance and we had to get there with plenty of time. However, we would have to wait inside the Cathedral without time to go for lunch. For that reason, on our way to London, we stopped to buy some sandwiches at a local supermarket.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Leisure time

The schedule of the bellringers has been very tight so far. Each hour is programmed and we try to follow the plan at all times, since it is the only way to move a large group of people through a city like London, and even more when the city is hosting the Summer Olympics. Today they had the opportunity to relax a little bit, get off the bus, and visit around as regular tourists would do: we went to visit the Tower of London, as thousands of visitors do during the year, and we went to attend a soccer game, as thousands of fans are doing during the Olympcis.
The group had already seen the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge, but just because the bus passed in front of them during a sightseeing tour. This time we had the opportunity to visit the locations, watch them close, take pictures, and buy souvenirs in the gift soft: the whole tourist experience. The premises of the Tower of London are very large, and there are many different sites of interest inside the perimeter. The best way to move was not a large group of 27 people, so we split in five smaller groups and organized the visit in a more manageable way, including the stop at the gift shop and the typical "Fish and Chips" for lunch. The Tower of London is like a mirror that throughout the centuries has collected images of all the stages of the history of England. It's one of the monuments that cannot be missed when visiting London. Unfortunately, we had less than two hours for our visit and we couldn't see all the buildings, but it was enough to get an idea. In an extremely secured vault are kept the "Jewels of the Crown", which everybody wants to see: the crowns and jewels that the English monarchy has kept during centuries. We were not allowed to take pictures of them, but we encourage everyone that visits London to stop by the Tower of London and have a look at them: they are really impressive.