Featured Chime Projects

Wesley United Methodist Church, Morgantown, West Virginia

The Mary-Jane English Bells. In 1904, when the present church was built, a chime of 11 bells was cast for this church by the Cincinnati bell foundry Van Duzen & Tift. Apparently, no playing stand or keyboard was ever furnished, and the bells were chimed by a row of ropes from a lower floor. Perhaps 25 to 30 years ago, this space was remodeled for a sound system/television control room, and those ropes pulled up out of the way, above a dropped ceiling. The bells were forgotten until church member the late Dave Tavaglione began a campaign to restore them to use; the family of the late Mary-Jane English, wife of Dr. Clyde English, retired organist and professor of organ at West Virginia University, came to the fore to provide major funding of the project in memory of Mrs. English. The bells were removed from the tower to our foundry for tuning, and three additional bells were made to extend the range to 14 bells; we designed and built a new bell frame, new clappers and fittings, a new radial carillon-type action, and a new baton keyboard to play the bells. In 1904, the 1847 Meneely & Company bell from the previous church building was mounted atop the chime frame, and rung for many years as a call to worship. During the chime renovation, we provided this historic crowned bell with all new swinging mountings, and a place in the new bell frame, where it has resumed its traditional office. The chime was rededicated in a moving service on Mothers’ Day, May 9, 2004, after which Richard Watson, partner, presented a recital on the chime. The chime has since been very actively played by Dr. English and by present church organist Marguerite Bostonia. (www.wesleymorgantown.org)

One of the smaller bells being tuned
Several of the Morgantown bells after tuning
Larger Van Duzen bells showing general view of radial action
A row of smaller bells on second frame level; one of the new bells at left
Baton playing keyboard located in tower room off sanctuary balcony