Featured Carillon Projects

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

This carillon of 36 bells was cast partly by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London, England, and partly by Paccard, Annecy, France, and was installed by Harry Van Bergen, Sr. in 1976. This installation was never completely satisfactory and the instrument had deteriorated to a point where it was nearly unplayable by the time the bells were removed to storage in early 2004 during the restoration of the stonework of the bell chamber and domed tower top section. (It is interesting that 12 of the larger bells of the carillon bear the inscription “Van Bergen Bellfoundries”; in all printed references to this instrument, it was said that the 15 largest bells were cast by that foundry. However, in actuality, when we brought the bells to our foundry for the refitting project to begin, we discovered that twelve bells in question had been cast by the Whitechapel Foundry in London, England; and that, in fact, there were no bells made by the Van Bergen firm in the instrument, as all the remaining bells were cast by the Paccard firm.) In the Fall of 2004, we received the order to completely rebuild this instrument, furnishing new bell frame, new clappers and fittings, new manual action and playing and practice keyboards; this restoration included enlarging the compass by seven new bells, bringing it to 3 1/2 octaves, 43 bells; two of the Paccard bells were replaced, and several more received corrective tuning while in our foundry. Reinstallation of the carillon was completed in early September of 2005. The following month, the instrument was formally rededicated during the Texas Regional Gathering of carillonneurs of that year, with a recital by George R. Gregory, Carillonneur of Central Christian Church, San Antonio. (www.ttu.edu/traditions/carillon.php)

An unusual view: photo taken from the carillon tower atop the Administration Building at Texas Tech University, showing the twin tower (containing two swinging bells known as the “Victory Bells”), which tower is a mirror image of the carillon tower; downtown Lubbock appears in the distance
The original Van Bergen playing keyboard
The new playing keyboard in final assembly in our keyboard shop at the foundry
The new playing keyboard in the process of installation in the tower
The new four-octave practice keyboard in final assembly in our keyboard shop
A glimpse of the original Van Bergen action prior to disassembly
A section of the new MW&Co. radial transmission system in process of installation
One of the new treble bells in the process of tuning in our foundry
Other new treble bells, some finished and some waiting for tuning, in our foundry
Some of the larger Whitechapel bass bells mounted in the new bell frame
Several treble bells on the upper levels, including two of the new trebles; note the new clappers, and the design of the frame which was designed to fit around the chamber walls to make the most of the space available