38. Patriots’ Day 2012

Today is Patriots’ Day, a Massachusetts (and Maine) state holiday which commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1776. For those of you who need to brush up on United States history, the Revolutionary War began with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. In Lexington we celebrate by staging reenactments of Paul Revere’s midnight ride and of the battle. It’s also the one day of the year that we native Lexingtonians embrace our town rather than disparage it for being a somewhat snooty touristy corner of suburbia.

As part of the day’s festivities, I volunteered at a handbell concert. Handbells are generally made of bronze with a leather or plastic handle, and come in various sizes. As my friend informed me, their range spans about six octaves, comparable to a piano. Each member of a handbell choir is responsible for ringing two to four notes, depending on the size of the bells. Aside from simply ringing the bells, one can play them with a mallet or tap them on the table to produce staccato or other tones.

My friend’s solo piece was a stylized one that mimicked the sounds of a typewriter. The bells were accompanied by a piano as well as a functional manual typewriter. From my spot at the door I could see the young audience members dancing in their seats to the chipper music. After the show, I learned the proper technique for bell ringing. Instead of flailing the wrist about (and wearing out the muscles in my forearm), I was instructed to keep my wrist steady and move my whole arm in a circular motion, which was much more efficient. I even got to type on the typewriter!

After the apex of all Patriots’ Day activities, the parade, I cooled off with marzipan frozen yogurt. At the local candy store, there is a froyo machine that combines almost any flavor into frozen yogurt. So marzipan it was.

Hopefully I’ll be back next year for Lexington’s 300th Birthday. However, today was a nice way to enjoy spring and celebrate my last Patriots’ Day in Lexington.

And finally, congratulations to a friend of mine who ran the Boston Marathon today in record-breaking heat!

Firsts This Week:

  • Attended a handbell concert and tried out various bells and a manual typewriter.
  • Last Patriots’ Day in Lexington
  • Marzipan frozen yogurt
  • I caved and saw the Hunger Games

4 thoughts on “38. Patriots’ Day 2012

  1. Hi Ziv,
    Thanks for explaining about handbells–I didn’t know anything about them before I read your post. What did you think of “Hunger Games?” Ruth is excited to see it, but I’m a bit skeptical.
    Best regards,

    • Hi David,

      The Hunger Games had a lot of good elements– fabulous sets and costuming stick out in my mind– but it’s definitely been hyped up. I think it would have been difficult to understand if I hadn’t read the book, and I expected it to be better for all the raving I’ve heard. If you see it, let me know what you think!


  2. Pingback: Anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride, in the middle of National Poetry Month « Millard Fillmore's Bathtub

  3. Pingback: Happy Patriots Day | FmI – Masonic Traveler

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