Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Chicago, IL

Behold, my loyal readers! I video recorded Russian Orthodox bell ringing at a local Chicago church! Choir Director Philip Sokolov of Christ the Savior Orthodox Church kindly welcomed me to watch and record his bell ringing before a recent Sunday service. There are five bells in this set, all provided by Blagovest Bells within the […]

I see your nine hours and raise you 10,000 years

The visionary Brian Eno has outdone the nine hour performance concocted by Dorothy Sayer in The Nine Tailors. He’s imagined a change ringing method that will last 10,000 years. See these gorgeous, noble Bristlecone Pines? They are some of the oldest living things on earth—the oldest known specimen is over 5,000 years old. And they […]

The Nine Tailors’ Nine-Hour Bell Performance Part II

In the last installment, we made sense of a relatively simple change ringing method, the Plain Bob Major, as a basis to understanding the Kent Treble Bob Major, which is performed for nine hours in The Nine Tailors. So here’s the grid for the Kent Treble Bob Major. It’s more complicated than the Plain Bob […]

The Nine Tailors’ Nine-Hour Bell Performance

I recently finished Dorothy Sayers’ The Nine Tailors, a mystery novel in which bells feature prominently. The setting is a provincial English town with a formidable church and an equally formidable set of bells. These bells are rung in the change ringing tradition, so that each bell (in this case, eight bells) is rung by […]

Chicago Bell Tolls for the 9/11 Victims

Serendipity led me to this story about a bell from Chicago that tolled for the 9/11 victims in Manhattan. Rev. David W. Schlatter, a fire chaplain in Wilmington, DE, wanted to remember his friend and colleague Rev. Mychal F. Judge, who was a NYC fire chaplain who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. […]

Bells Across the Land 2015, Part II

Ever have those days where you think “Ack! I forgot my camera, and I really need it now!” Of course you don’t—you’ve joined the 21st century and have your phone, computer, and camera all rolled up into one device. I’m still stuck in 1999 with my technology. I forgot my camera yesterday, and so failed […]

Bells Across the Land 2015

On April 9th, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Virginia, symbolically ending the Civil War. Next week, exactly 150 years later, bells will ring out across the United States at 3:00 EDT to commemorate the end of this war. The National Park Service is leading the effort in […]

What Should the Carillon Play? Part II

In a recent post, I discussed repertoire for the carillon. So maybe the question us carillon performers should be asking ourselves when determining what to play is—what sounds good on the bells? I’m going to leave aside the thoughts of past carillonneurs and focus on two issues that arise today. Carillonneurs often bring up the […]

What Should the Carillon Play?

Carillonneurs perform for incidental listeners largely unfamiliar with the instrument’s repertoire. Ask an average Jane on the street, “What are some famous carillon composers? Or carillon pieces?” And I bet you’ll get some blank stares. With the exception of an elite group of aficionados who really know their stuff, the vast majority of people in […]