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IU's New Metz Carillon Ready To Chime For First Time Monday

Metz Carillon

There are only 30 grand carillons worldwide. (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

An Indiana University music school chair is calling the new carillon in the arboretum the city’s new civic soundscape.

IU’s Metz Carillon won’t officially be dedicated until April, but will chime 200 times for the university’s bicentennial Monday. IU alumnus and visiting carillonneur John Gouwens is scheduled to play the alma mater and Chimes Of Indiana as well.

Jacobs School of Music organ curator Patrick Fischer says it’s the springs, wires, and clappers that do the work.

“These levers are not swinging the bell, they’re just moving a clapper and the clapper isn’t all that far from the bell, it’s not like it’s being thrown two feet,” Fischer says.

carillon tower bells
The bells were all that was kept from the original installation. (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

The original carillon on North Jordan Avenue contained 61 bells. The new B and C-sharp bells fill the gap of the original carillon enlarging it to 65 bells. That unofficially credits it as a “grand carillon” making it one of 18 in the country and the only one in Indiana.

READ MORE: Experience A Rare Outdoor Concert From A Carillon

The original bells were refurbished at the most prominent bell maker in the world in the Netherlands.

carillon tower outlook
The playing cabin in the tower is at 51 feet. (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

The tower is 128 feet tall – or about 13 stories. The largest bell is almost seven feet in diameter and weighs more than six tons.

But not many people know how to play the instrument.

Organ Department Chair Jenette Fishell says IU funded an associate instructor position in carillon playing this fall. She says she hopes that leads to a regular schedule of concerts.

January 20 Bicentennial Performance:

11:45 a.m.

-IU alumnus John Gouwens plays the Indiana University alma mater

-IU President Michael McRobbie rings the first bell

-Other officials ring a bell each minute 200 times marking IU’s 200 years

-Gouwens closes with Chimes Of Indiana

carillon panel
The ball of the clapper on the largest bell is 326 pounds. (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

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