The bells of the Redwine Carillon at Midwestern State University will ring out more than usual Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12. The carillon will be hub for the 21st Texas Regional Carillon Conference that will bring carillonneurs from across the country and Canada to the campus.
MSU carillonneur Jim Quashnock said that the group is not one with a registered membership, but for anyone who plays or is interested in the carillon. The public is invited to bring chairs to the Hardin Administration Building lawn to enjoy the informal performances and the recitals free of charge.
During the two-day event, those attending will have the opportunity to play the carillon. “It’s all for fun just because we love to play,” he said. The event gives those from outside the area a chance to experience another instrument besides the one they might be accustomed to playing. Although the event is for anyone, those with no or little experience with music will benefit from the accomplished carillonneurs who will perform and speak at the event.
Registration begins Friday from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Hardin Administration Building foyer. The Hardin tower will be open for guests and the public to see the carillon. At approximately 5 p.m., guest recitalist Karel Keldermans will play eight pieces, including a piece from Beethoven and an original composition. Keldermans is one of the preeminent carillonneurs in North America.
After Keldermans’ concert, a banquet will be held in Clark Student Center. At approximately 7:15 p.m. after the banquet, Austin Ferguson, director of the Guild of Student Carillonneurs at the University of Texas, will perform. His program will include selections from Handel, folk songs such as The Streets of Laredo, and his own arrangement of The Eyes of Texas. The group will meet for dessert at Quashnock’s home and tour his and his wife, Kathy’s, collection of automated musical instruments.
Saturday will begin with refreshments at 9 a.m. in Clark Student Center Wichita rooms I & II. Keynote speaker Dr. Andrea McCrady will speak about “Carillon Programming: A Conversation with your Audience” from 9:30-10:15 a.m. A brief business meeting will follow. After a group photo on the front steps of the Hardin Building, members will play the carillon from 11 a.m.-noon and end the day with a box lunch at Clark Student Center.
The idea for the conference came about after several with a love for the carillon wanted to meet. This is the second time the group has met in Wichita Falls. The first was in 2004 after the restoration of the Redwine Carillon. Approximately 30 attended that meeting.
A carillon is a series of tuned bronze bells, played by striking stick-like keys with the fists and by pressing pedals with the feet. These keys and pedals are connected to the clappers inside the bells and strike when played. The intensity of the note can be varied depending on the force with which the key is struck.
A 35-bell carillon was first placed in the Hardin Administration Building’s bell tower in 1952, funded by the Mabee Foundation. It was the first true carillon in Texas. Dr. Frederick Marriott, carillonneur at Chicago University, gave the dedicatory recital on September 16, 1952. The bells were cast by Royal Petit and Fritsen Bell Foundry in the Netherlands. Although the bells were of good quality, other factors in the installation were flawed, such as the distance between the bells and the keyboard.
With funds from Bruce Redwine in memory of his parents, John and Esta Redwine, MSU’s carillon was renovated in the early 2000s. A new climate-controlled level was built to support a new console, moving it closer to the bells. The bells were tuned and given a new frame and clappers. A practice console was placed next to the new console. The bottom C, F, G, and A bells also have electronic strikers so that the time can be struck by computer. Two additional bells were funded by MSU’s former carillonneur Don Owens and his wife Jane, and John Sjostrom in memory of his wife Frieda. Arla Jo Anderton gave the dedicatory recital for the newly named Redwine Carillon on October 16, 2003.
Quashnock said there are fewer than 200 carillons in the United States which meet the definition set by the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA), with 13 of those in Texas.
For more information, call Quashnock at (940) 642-0155.
Karel Keldermans has been carillonneur for Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., since 2000, and retired in 2012 from being the full-time carillonneur for the Springfield Park District in Springfield, Ill. He also served as director of the International Carillon Festival for 36 years. He has given carillon concerts around the world for the past 40 years and released six solo carillon CDs. Keldermans and his wife, Linda, owned American Carillon Music Editions, the largest publisher of new music for the carillon in the world. He was president of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America for five years and served on the board of directors for nine years. He and his wife co-authored Carillon: The Evolution of a Concert Instrument in North America, published in 1996. In 1998, he and his wife were awarded the Berkeley Medal for distinguished service to the carillon art. Keldermans graduated with great distinction from the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium, then earned a master’s degree in carillon performance and campanology from the University of Illinois. He also has studied at the Netherlands Carillon School in Amersfoort.
Dr. Andrea McCrady is the Dominion Carillonneur in Canada and plays each weekday and on request to serve Canada’s Parliamentarians. She began playing the carillon in 1971. She has studied at carillon schools in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. She also played while in medical school and while a family practice physician in Spokane, Wash. In 2006, she retired from medicine to further her study of the carillon, and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Denver. She is now a faculty member at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, in the first carillon studies program in Canada. McCrady has served on the board of the GCNA. In the 1990s, she served as secretary for the World Carillon Federation. She has played recitals at international carillon festivals in Europe and North America.
Austin Ferguson is a junior at the University of Texas majoring in music theory and government with a pre-law track. After 14 years of piano and organ lessons, he began carillon study his freshman year of college and is now student director of UT’s student carillon guild. He teaches carillon and is the most frequent performer on the 56-bell Kniker Carillon housed in UT’s tower. His repertoire for concerts and recitals includes music from Bach to Disney classics. Although he hopes to open up his own law practice in the future, he plans to continue his carillon playing and educating others on the carillon.