A school in Spain reawakens the ‘dwindling art’ of church bell ringing

Xavier Pallàs plants his feet on the belfry floor, grips the rope, and with one tug, fills the lush Spanish valley below with the reverberating peal of a church bell.

Clang-clong! Clang-clong! Clang-CLONG! The swinging bronze bell resonates with each strike of the clapper, filling the small stone tower with an undulating hum. Once Mr. Pallàs finishes his peals, the metallic melody fades to stillness. Silence returns to the tower, giving the valley’s soundscape back to the birdsongs and rooster crows.

For most, church bells are just a quaint bit of automated background noise. But Mr. Pallàs and his 18 students at the Vall d’en Bas School of Bell Ringers are trying to change that by resuscitating the dwindling art of tolling – and communicating – by hand.

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