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News - Arts and Culture at MSU



College of Music presents 12th Annual Summer Carillon Series

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The MSU College of Music will present the 12th Annual Muelder Summer Carillon Series, five consecutive Wednesday recitals from July 2 through July 30, at the MSU Beaumont Tower, each beginning at 6 p.m.

Schedule of Performers:

  • Wednesday, July 2: Carlo van Ulft, Centralia, Ill.
  • Wednesday, July 9: Ray McLellan, University Carillonneur, MSU
  • Wednesday, July 16: David Hunsberger, Berkeley, Calif.
  • Wednesday, July 23: Lee Cobb, Lake Wales, Fla.
  • Wednesday, July 30: Sally Harwood & Patricia Johannes, Assistant
  • Carillonneurs, MSU

The Summer Carillon Series was established in 1996 through the generosity of Dr. Milton Muelder, now retired from his career at MSU of more than 40 years. “People enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of an outdoor recital,” said Ray McLellan, MSU carillonneur. “Recital attendees are welcome to bring a picnic and are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or a blanket. It’s a summer event ideal for all ages.”

Developed in the 15th and 16th centuries in Northern Europe, carillons were often installed in church towers, even in small villages and towns. Commonly, carillonneurs would play live music on holidays and market days. The MSU carillon, which is housed within the John W. Beaumont Memorial Tower, contains 49 bells capable of playing the full range of literature composed for the instrument. One of approximately 200 working carillons in the U.S., it is activated by a computer to sound Westminster chimes every quarter hour, but the music that rings out daily is played live by carillonneurs and student musicians.

“People are often surprised to find that the carillon is a concert instrument, played by trained musicians. It is much more than an instrument that tells time; it can play complex music that requires great skill and musicianship,” said McLellan.

Carillonneurs play music by striking wooden keys or batons using closed fists and by using their feet to depress the foot pedals. Once the keys and pedals are depressed, wires move the clappers to strike the bells. A restoration of the tower took place in 1996, involving the carillon, clock, Westminster chimes, and tower repairs.

All carillon recitals are free and open to the public. The MSU Beaumont Tower is located in the West Circle Drive oval area on the MSU campus. After each recital, the tower will be open for tours and a demonstration of the carillon.

Contact information: