Arts & Leisure

College carillon series begins July 1

SERGEI GRATCHEV

The beautiful sounds of ringing bells will fill the air again this summer, as the 37th annual Middlebury College Carillon Series treats audiences to free performances in and around the Middlebury Chapel. Each year, musicians from around the world come to Middlebury to perform in the Chapel’s soaring tower, high above the College campus. The series is organized by George Matthew Jr., Middlebury College Carillonneur. All of the concerts are free and open to the public, and can be enjoyed on the steps of the Chapel or on the surrounding lawns. Audiences are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets.

2022 Carillon Series Schedule

George Matthew Jr., Carillonneur for Middlebury College and Norwich University: Friday, July 1, at 6 p.m.

Sergei Gratchev, Instructor, Middlebury College School of Russian: Friday, July 8, at 6 p.m.

Elena Sadina, Instructor, Middlebury College School of Russian: Friday, July 15, at 6 p.m.

Amy Heebner ’93: Friday, July 22, at 6 p.m.

Carla Staffaroni, MA Spanish ’20: Friday, July 29, at 6 p.m.

Tatiana Lukyanova: Friday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m.

George Matthew Jr.: Friday, Aug. 12, at 6 p.m.

George Matthew Jr.: Friday, Aug. 19, at 3 p.m. (please note earlier time, in conjunction with Language Schools Commencement)

THE MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE carillon bells

A carillon is a musical instrument typically housed in the bell tower of a church or other municipal building. Its sound is produced by at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to produce a melody, or sounded together to play a chord. The carillonneur plays by striking a keyboard with black and white keys and foot pedals that can help produce different kinds of sound. Each key is connected by wire to a bell clapper so different bells are rung depending on which key is struck.

  • It is a 75-step climb up to Middlebury Chapel’s bell tower. With 48 bells, Middlebury’s instrument is considered a traditional carillon.
  • The pitch of Middlebury’s heaviest bell is E in the middle octave. It weighs 2,300 pounds, roughly the same as the Liberty Bell.
  • In 1915, the instrument was begun with 11 bells by the Meneely bell foundry in Watervliet, New York. Nine bells remain from that work.
  • In 1986, the instrument was enlarged to its present size with bells made by Paccard-Fonderie des Cloches in Annecy, France. The enhanced carillon was presented in 1986 as a gift from then Chairman of the Board of Trustees Allen Dragone ’50 and his wife Jane. 27 bells remain from that work.
  • In 2001, 12 bells were recast or replaced by Meeks & Watson of Georgetown, Ohio.
  • One of the bells in Middlebury’s carillon is inscribed with the following quote by Lord Alfred Tennyson: “Ring in the valiant man and free the larger heart, the kindlier hand! Ring out the darkness of the land, ring in the Christ that is to be!”

Learn more about Middlebury’s carillon at go.middlebury.edu/carillon.

Watch a delightful video about Mr. Matthew and Middlebury’s carillon at https://www.middlebury.edu/office/scott-center/resources/middlebury-chapel/carillon

Performance Details

All performances are free and will take place at the Middlebury Chapel, located on the campus of Middlebury College at 75 Hepburn Road. Free parking is available on Route 125/College Street, and on Old Chapel Road. In the case of inclement weather, the concerts will still take place, and audiences are welcome to listen from the chapel steps and front landing.

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