The fourth main value of bells I perceive is their connection to histories. The first history I mean is the particular history of Western Europe. Today we are familiar with one main use of tower bells that dates to the middle ages—to signal to faithful Christians. For example, tower bells would signal when to pray … Continue reading Value of Bells: Connection to Histories
I have already touched on the third value of bells for us today—as public sound art. The sounds of tower bells are the aural equivalent to the visual arts on display in public. As public visual arts provide an aesthetic experience for the entire community, so the same goes for the sounds, and in particular … Continue reading Value of Bells: Public Sound Art
R. Murray Schafer (no relation) coined the term soundmark, meaning a sound unique to an area, analogous to a landmark. Taking it a step further, Schafer argued that soundmarks should be preserved, since they define the acoustics of the surrounding community. And I agree! Tower bells fit this description. Bells are not so ubiquitous (at … Continue reading Value of Bells: Soundmark
For the next few days, I’ll post on the most important reasons for bells in our current time. I look forward to your responses in the comments! One reason I think tower bells are important today is the occasion they provide for serendipitous beauty. A passerby is walking along, minding her own business, when she … Continue reading Value of Bells: Serendipitous Beauty
Now that we've had a few days to examine the dress, the flowers, the fascinators, etc. of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, let's take a listen to their exit out of St. George's Chapel in Windsor. https://youtu.be/vn2rSYxjqaI?t=1h5m3s I hear the guard announcing the couple, people cheering, a woman(?) screaming (really not … Continue reading Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Exit Strategy [Update]
Friends, we have two bell festivals, one on change ringing and one on the carillon, coming up here in the month of May. First, the 6th Annual Illinois Tower Bell Bash will take place May 19-20. Ringers will gather to ring changes (what else?) at the Mitchell Tower at the University of Chicago on Saturday … Continue reading Two Chicago Bell Festivals in May
The National Civil Rights Museum is calling on churches and institutions in the United States and beyond to ring their bells to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On April 4, 2018, bells will ring to commemorate 50 years after Dr. King's death and his legacy in the Civil Rights Movement. Bells … Continue reading Homage to MLK Jr.
Watch me talk about the bells of the Leaning Tower of Niles, Illinois on WTTW's Chicago Tonight. Soon we will have the bells ringing again...and for visitors to see up close!
On Sunday, December 10th, the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Chicago celebrated the 40th anniversary of the installation of their single bell. This is no ordinary bell, however. This bell was bought from St. Mary’s Parish Church in Everton, Bedfordshire, England. Misfortune for St. Mary’s meant a welcome opportunity for the Church of Our … Continue reading The Oldest Bell in Chicago
Dear readers, All Saints St. Anthony Catholic Church in Chicago has not one bell tower, but two! The one on the left is leased by T-Mobile for their use. The one on the right has the good stuff...three bells cast by McShane of Baltimore in 1914. They were installed shortly after the church was erected. … Continue reading All Saints St. Anthony Catholic Church, Chicago