The Peddie News

Class of ’62 Donates Carillons for Ayer Chapel

The carillons were installed at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. Photo courtesy Morikeoluwa Ayodeji '20

The carillons were installed at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. Photo courtesy Morikeoluwa Ayodeji '20

Morikeoluwa Ayodeji '20

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The chiming of new bells greeted students this fall. The bells were installed at Ayer Memorial Chapel at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. They currently ring on weekdays at 8 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., as well as before and after chapel on Mondays and Fridays. Finally, they ring at 10 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m. on weekends. Yet the bells serve to signify more than simply certain times of the day.

According to Head of School Peter Quinn, members of the class of 1962 decided they wanted to do something to honor their classmates that died in the Vietnam War. They initially suggested that their memorial should be something that everyone would see on campus. The class of 1962 first thought of erecting a statue; however, a statue did not have as much of an omnipresence as they sought. Over this past summer, during the reunion for the class of ’62, a member of the class presented the idea of a carillon to his classmates. Peddie had had a carillon bell installed at Peddie in 1951, but it long ceased working. In late August, a single donor gave the funding for the carillon, and it was immediately set up.

“Carillons are contemplative, the sound is supposed to be a sound that doesn’t overwhelm you. If you are not paying attention to them, you don’t hear them. If you are in class in a lecture, they just go off and you don’t know it – unless the windows happen to be open. It’s supposed to be a sound that causes reflection and you hear it when you’re in repose,” explained Quinn. There are certain songs (e.g. Peddie, To Thee) the bells play specifically to honor alumni who died in the armed services during wartime. The carillon plays them on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m.

According to Nicholas Gordon ’18, most of the time, the sound heard on campus is produced by a music box located in a closet in the chapel. The box is connected to speakers that are placed in the bell tower of the chapel. There is a large selection of about 750 songs in the music box. There is a rope in a closet in the balcony that is directly connected to the carillon. This rope, when pulled, rings the actual bell.

Gordon is usually in charge of ringing the bells when the music box is not in use. He said, “Carillon bells are traditionally used to play church hymns or other secular music as well as to announce the time. Here at Peddie we have been using the bells to announce the time at regular intervals using the common melody of the Westminster Chimes.”

A chapel service on October 9 is scheduled to inform the community about the history of the bell.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Class of ’62 Donates Carillons for Ayer Chapel”

  1. Ms. Caffrey on October 5th, 2017 9:38 pm

    I like the bells on Sunday evening!

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Class of ’62 Donates Carillons for Ayer Chapel