Carillons are Cool

July 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm 1 comment


(Tina Hay photo)

A Penn State news release last week caught my eye and made me wish that Penn State Erie wasn’t nearly four hours away. They’ve got a chapel on their campus (the Larry and Kathryn Smith Chapel, to be precise) that has a carillon (the Floyd and Juanita Smith Carillon), and this summer they’re offering four carillon concerts. The first one is tomorrow night at 7 pm.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never gone to a carillon concert, and I’d kinda like to.

Actually I’ve never given much thought to carillons, to be honest, and if that’s true for you as well, I really recommend you at least read the news release. I learned a bunch just in the course of that 300-word item:

—Those who play the carillon are called carilloneurs.

—They play the instrument with their fists. (!)

—You can’t watch them playing, because they’re in a little room at the bottom of the bell tower. But Behrend is planning to stick a camera in the room and put the carilloneur on a TV monitor for the audience to see.

—Really good carillons, like Penn State’s, can cover four musical octaves.

The four concerts at Behrend this summer feature carilloneurs from the University of Denver and the University of Illinois, as well as the city carilloneur for Naperville, Ill. (who knew?) and the associate city carillonneur from Mechelen, Belgium, a city halfway between Antwerp and Brussels. The latter performer, Philippe Beullens, is the guy in the photo below.


(Contributed photo)

Beullens will be the final performer in the series; he’ll be at Penn State Erie on Aug. 1.

Tina Hay, editor

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Lisa Bain Grossman  |  July 11, 2013 at 8:02 am

    When I was at Iowa State, they played the carillon on central campus every hour on the hour and then there was a concert every day at noon and for special events. Donors refurbished the carillon and it is still played daily now. Loved hearing it across that huge campus when I was there.

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