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Carillon on campus: For SDSU the bells toll

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 22nd, 2013

John Walker, SDSU keyboard studies professor, prepares to play a song on the keyboard attached to the digital carillon in the university’s Campanile. The Campanile originally used real bells to play its music, but since 1995 it has relied on a ditigal system. Photo by Charis Prunty/Register / Chimes that made up the SDSU Campanile’s original carillon are now in storage at the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum. The carillon has been changed twice since the Campanile was first built. S.D. Ag Heritage Museum photo / The SDSU Campanile

BROOKINGS – If you spend time on or near the campus of South Dakota State University, you could set your watch by it. Every hour, and every half-hour, the bells inside the Campanile ring with a piece of the Westminster Chime.

During morning class breaks, the Campanile chimes – a system called a “carillon” – play a piece of music, often classical. During afternoon breaks, the selection tends to be more pop music. At Christmas and on the Fourth of July, though few students may be around, the Campanile rings with holiday and patriotic songs.

It sounds like a set of real bells. And it was, when the tower was first built. Michelle Sage, a Facilities and Services Department employee who watches over the carillon, said the system has been changed twice in the Campanile’s history.

For the complete article see the 01-22-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-22-2013 paper.

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