St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church, Chicago

The Richard T. Crane memorial carillon was installed in 1928, one of the first carillons in the Midwest and of outstanding quality from the Gillett & Johnston foundry of England. Until recently, the performance of the instrument had been sporadic. Through our initiative, the church leaders made the pivotal decision in November 2015 to have the carillon played every Sunday during service. Community Bell Advocates, LLC has been playing it weekly ever since. We have also performed for special occasions, such as Halloween, Christmastime caroling, and the Dearborn Garden Walk. Guest recitalists have performed for our summer concert series starting in 2018.

Before making our acquaintance, the church was unaware of the historical value and beauty of their bells. They were also unaware of the instrument’s status in the city and region and the level of its disrepair. Through our advocacy, the church leaders recognized the instrument’s unique position in reaching community members who may be uncommitted to the church and unaware of its offerings. Consistent positive feedback from congregants and community members alike has overcome the shadow of past negative events associated with the carillon. Their growing interest in and appreciation for the carillon has solidified the desire on part of church leaders to fully renovate the instrument to reach the highest levels of artistic possibility and is part of the church’s capital campaign to renovate its infrastructure. An instruction program has also been proposed in the spirit of rejuvenating the instrument and its music.