Tower of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church  

BRYN MAWR - Workers discovered a bell hatch in the tower of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church (Pennsylvania, USA) during recent renovations, giving the church all the more reason to be certain that installing a 49-bell carillon has taken it in a direction both forward-looking and appropriate within its history.

Tiffany Ng   __________________________________________________

An anonymous gift enabled the church to hire Petit & Fritsen to cast a 37-bell carillon, installed by the Verdin Company in September 2005 and dedicated in conjunction with a 59-stop organ by Rieger Orgelbau. Recognizing the artistic potential of a concert carillon, the same donor extended the instrument to 49 bells in May 2006, increasing the already significant concentration of concert carillons in the greater Philadelphia area.

With a total weight of over 30,000 pounds (13.636 kg), the carillon boasts a bourdon of nearly 2,000 pounds (909 kg) and is playable from a mechanical keyboard and, for simple tolling and pealing, a remote electronic programmable keyboard. As the carillon is at present heard optimally only from the foot of the tower, the church hopes to eventually install a moveable louver system.

Bob Holmes has organized the Bryn Mawr Carillonneurs from amongst the congregation and Senior Choir to play the carillon at Sunday services, special services, and fine arts events. The group has grown with the guidance of Doug Gefvert, carillonneur of Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge National Historic Park, and its members range in age from seventeen to over seventy. They hope to eventually extend membership beyond the congregation to create an artistic meeting point for the community.

Upon its dedication, the carillon immediately joined the regional summer concert series. Last year's slate of recitalists included established international artists such as Ann-Kirstine Christiansen and new American faces such as Lara West.

The Bryn Mawr Carillonneurs are involved in planning for the 2009 Congress of The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America at nearby Longwood Gardens and are enthusiastic to host events at their 1,200-seat church. With the involvement of local carillonneurs such as Doug Gefvert, Lisa Lonie, and Janet Tebbel and the energetic efforts of Bob Holmes, this new instrument is poised to become an integral part of the country's treasury of carillons in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Additional information about the Middleton Family Carillon and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church is available online at [].