Thursday, June 4, 2020

Carillon concert at Beaumont Tower honors veterans, marks Armistice Day

November 12, 2018
	<p>Some of the bells toll Oct. 8, 2013, at Beaumont Tower. <span class="caps">MSU</span>&#8217;s carillon has 49 bells, with the largest one weighing 2.5 tons. Margaux Forster/The State News</p>

Some of the bells toll Oct. 8, 2013, at Beaumont Tower. MSU’s carillon has 49 bells, with the largest one weighing 2.5 tons. Margaux Forster/The State News

Photo by Margaux Forster | The State News

A carillon concert and ceremony was held Nov. 11 at Beaumont Tower to honor veterans and mark the 100th Armistice Day, the celebration of the anniversary of the end of World War I.

The armistice was signed during the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. It's commemorated every year to recognize the peace made between the Allies of World War I and Germany.

At the 11th hour, carillonneurs all around world played a tribute piece titled “A Sacred Suite." Other songs performed included the Star Spangled Banner, European melodies and American patriotic songs.

Management junior Ben Coughlin said he stumbled on the event while giving his neighbors a campus tour.

“It was something I definitely didn’t think would be happening today,” Coughlin said. “It’s a one in a lifetime opportunity and I know a lot of other students have never been inside Beaumont Tower so it was really cool to come and see what it actually looks like.”

A carillon is an instrument consisting of at least 23 cast bronze bells, commonly found in bell towers and churches. It is recognized as the second heaviest musical instrument, ranking behind the largest pipe organs.  

MSU’s carillon, located at the top of the Beaumont Tower, features 49 bells and is capable of playing a full range of pieces for the instrument. The smallest bell weighs 15 pounds and the largest weighs 2.5 tons.

The concert was performed by Assistant Carillonneur Laurie Harkema. She is an organist and choir director at River Terrace Church in East Lansing. Harkema began learning how to play the carillon in 2016 and is a member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. 

There were people observing the concert from the bell tower itself and visitors listening from the West Circle area. 

Locations of other carillons around Michigan include MSU and Central United Methodist Church in Lansing, the University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Oakland University and several churches in the greater Detroit Area. 

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