Summoned By Bells

Jazz trumpet player Chris Hodgkins is putting together a project inspired by the John Betjeman poem “Summoned By Bells”.

In essence, the project involves a tour of churches with his band.  The core of the programme will revolve around a number of newly composed themes played by church bells over which members of the band will improvise – two trumpets and soprano sax. He has been working with Richard Jones the Tower Captain of Christ the Saviour Church in Ealing Broadway to develop this idea.

In addition to the improvisation with bells there will be music from folk songs to jazz and a few other idioms in between. Plus, poetry readings, by Betjeman but other poets as well all with an emphasis on church bells.  Another part of the project will be to commission some new poetry, the subject of which is church bells, that will form part of the programme.

Each event will involve two days, a rehearsal at a suitable and convenient time and then an evening performance.

The project also has another aspect to it which is to proselytise the art of bell ringing and to encourage people to take up bell ringing especially among young people. This part of the project will be undertaken in collaboration with the Tower Captain and bell ringers of each church.

At this stage Chris is asking for expressions of interest for July and August 2023 and would be happy to discuss the project in more detail.  Closing date for expressions of interest is 16th January 2023.

You can contact Chris directly at for more information.

Vicki Chapman
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers Public Relations Officer

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