Last Look

Bells are ringing

Harkness’s carillon turns 50 this fall.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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The 54 bells of Harkness Tower are sounding celebratory as they ring in their 50th anniversary. This summer, the Yale Guild of Carillonneurs, the group in charge of the Harkness carillon, gave itself a 50th birthday present, commissioning 50 new pieces from more than 40 composers for future generations of bell ringers. “A lot of the typical carillonneur music is pretty old,” says Tommy Kilmer ’17, a philosophy major, amateur musician, and one of 16 current undergraduates who play the carillon on a rotating basis. Forty-four bells were added to the original ten in 1966. “It’s nice,” laughs Kilmer, who also plays the piano along with some ukelele, cello, harp, and violin. “If you mess up a little, no one knows who you are.” 

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