“All the Bells You Need”: Wellesley’s Carillon Reopens to Visitors after Renovation

A student sits at the bench of a carillon with a teacher standing over her.
Photo provided by Macy Lipkin ’23
February 24, 2020

On February 7, 26 mph winds walloped Galen Stone Tower. But that didn’t stop members of the College’s Guild of Carillonneurs from striding up flight after flight of stairs to play Wellesley’s 32-bell carillon for the first time since a March 2018 windstorm caused significant damage to the iconic tower.

Over winter break, the College renovated the carillon. “All the railings were raised, the interior holes were screened, unused antennae were removed, and the performance platform was widened to facilitate both teaching and keyboard maintenance,” said Margaret Angelini ’85, director of the Guild of Carillonneurs. The result? A cleaner and safer space for bell-ringers to practice and share their craft.

The student performances rang out across campus to thank those who made the renovations a success. Two project managers from Facilities Management were at the top of the tower to hear the music up close as, one by one, students cranked the wooden bench to their preferred height and took turns at the instrument, cycling through their favorite scores from last semester.

“You have all the bells you need,” Angelini reminded a student, acknowledging that it might feel strange to play for the first time in a while—and with people watching!

Guild member Ely Willard ’20 is excited to once again share the carillon with family, who haven’t been able to venture up into the tower for two years. Willard noted that the Open Tower events are popular with local Wellesley families. “It’s especially cool to see kids visit and get excited to be in the tower,” she said.

Guild president Sarah Gonzalez ’20 is looking forward to welcoming her family and other members of the community to the bell tower at graduation. At reunion 2019, she and other carillonneurs “had to turn away alums who had such a personal connection to the bell tower and the carillon.”

Now that the renovations are complete, the public is again invited to Galen Stone Tower for a series of upcoming events, where they can hear music from the inside, learn how the carillon works, and even try their hands (and feet!) at playing the largest instrument on campus.

 

Thursday, March 12, 12:45 to 2:15 pm

Community Time Open Tower

Bring your professor to the highest office on campus!

 

Saturday, April 4, 2 to 4 pm

Spring Concert

Carla Staffaroni ’13, Michelle Lam ’14, and Isabelle Chen ’17 will perform the first all-alumnae carillon concert at Wellesley.

 

Saturday, May 2, 2 to 4 pm

Change Ringing Open Tower

Visitors can play the bells under the guidance of the guild members.

 

With reporting by Macy Lipkin ’23.