SEATTLE - On Thursday April 5, 2018, the new carillon of the University of Washington in Seattle was inaugurated. A playing cabin and steel structure supporting the bells were built on top of an about 20 meters high brick ventilation shaft of Kane Hall, one of the buildings of the university located at Red Square. It is intended that the bells are visible to anyone.
The carillon is a donation of 92-year old Dr. Gordon S. Peek, an alumnus who later on taught history at the University of Washington. Peek has always been fascinated by the sound of bells. With the installation of the new carillon a dream came true. As a child his father took him in the early 1930s to listen to bells that hung in a water tower, a tradition that ended when this water tower burned to the ground in 1949. Peek believes that the addition of bell music will enhance the beauty of the campus of the university.
Royal Eijsbouts from The Netherlands was responsible for the installation of the new carillon and added a WCF standard keyboard. The 47 bells were also cast by Royal Eijsbouts, but already in the late 1960s. They were originally part of a non-traditional carillon in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The instrument transposes up a fifth. Its largest bell sounding G weighs 1,530 pounds and the smallest 15 pounds. The total costs of the project amount to about one million dollars, all paid for by the Gordon Stuart Peek Foundation.
In 2008 Peek already donated a set of eight bells that are hung for full-circle change ringing in the tower of Gerberding Hall, a building across the square from the carillon. These bells are rung by the members of the Change Ringing Society of the university to celebrate local, state, and national events.
The inauguration concert was played by visiting carillonneur Wesley Arai, who lives in Los Angeles. The university has not yet decided when performances will take place and who will be invited to play recitals. Arai not only played a prelude from Matthias Vanden Gheyn, but also the "Ode to Joy" from Symphony no. 9 of Beethoven and ended with the rousing fight song of the university: "Bow Down to Washington".