Carillon features will be added this spring
By Annabelle Blair | Echo
The Rice Bell Tower will soon have the ability to project more than music due to a donation of electronic carillon by Dr. Paul Gentile (’52) of Fort Wayne. The carillon, a set of bells in the tower, are played using an automatic mechanism, which is located in the Herman Smith music building.
A new feature of the carillon system will allow campus police to access the bell tower speakers and project emergency warnings. It will also give Lisa Royal, music program assistant, who currently maintains the carillon playlist, access to the selection of available songs from her office computer.
The current carillon were installed by Schulmerich Carillons, Inc. in September 2016, but all its digital features are not enabled. Rediger said the features will be enabled when the carillon port is set up to. According to Nelson Rediger (’66), regional director of development, and Jeff Wallace, chief of police, the carillon is expected to be fully functioning by late spring.
In order to control the carillons from another computer, Gregory Schwartz, engineering manager at Schulmerich Carillons, said the carillons need to have access to the Taylor network. That would require plugging a network cable into the port on the back of carillon. The computer user will then have to download a free app to access the carillon control box.
Dr. Gentile donated the first set of carillon for the tower in the late ’70s in honor of his wife Barb (’50), according to Rediger. When Rediger told him the bell tower was under construction in summer 2016, Dr. Gentile offered to purchase new digital carillon with up-to-date technology.
Dr. Gentile requested The Lord’s Prayer and a patriotic song be played on the new carillon as students are going to class in the morning. He hopes the carillon will encourage Taylor students in their faith as well as ring loudly enough to minister to the Upland community.
“These are things that bring the campus together,” Dr. Gentile said. “I want to always keep Christ at Taylor and in our daily (lives). I thought it would be nice to have those carillons in the morning (for students) to hear The Lord’s Prayer—and just keep in touch.”
Royal said Taylor faculty who live in Upland told her they hear the bells from their homes several blocks away.
The carillon are a valuable supplement to existing emergency notification systems, according to Wallace. “We are always looking into ways we can provide additional layers of safety for our campus community, so the generous donation of the new carillon system is certainly a blessing for Taylor University that we should all be very thankful for,” he said.
In the case of a safety emergency, outdoor notification systems will be limited in their projection due to unpredictable acoustics. Wallace encouraged students to still enroll in TUAlert as the primary means of receive safety messages.
During the 2016 fiscal year, Taylor received $9.3 million in alumni gifts. Rediger said alumni donations have impacted campus much more than many students are aware. “You refer to that as the Rice Bell Tower,” he said. “But the bell part is Gentile; otherwise it would just be two towers with no music.”