Carillon Concert Series returns to Allendale Campus

The top of the carillon tower is set against blue sky and wispy clouds with some green tree leaves in the foreground.

The Grand Valley Carillon Concert Series is returning to the Allendale Campus this year, allowing the public to enjoy music played by talented musicians during free, open-air concerts.

Members of the public are invited at 8 p.m. each Sunday in July to find a place on campus to listen to the concert played from the Cook Carillon Tower. Concerts take place rain or shine.

And in terms of the right spot to sit, retired GVSU carillonneur Julianne Vanden Wyngaard, who will play the first concert in the series, has advice: Resist the urge to use the seating areas surrounding the base of the carillon and sit a little farther way so you can fully appreciate the resonance of the instrument.

Vanden Wyngaard organized this year's series, which she said will involve favorite selections from each carillonneur. She said since her concert is July 3, she is planning some patriotic pieces in recognition of the Fourth of July holiday.

The musicians will aim for variety, with some pieces written specifically for a carillon and others that are more generally familiar to an audience, she said. She noted a carillon is a public instrument that has a tendency to create a natural connection with people.

The underside of bells in the carillon tower.
The bells will ring out each Sunday in July during the concert series.

"I like to educate the audience, but I also want them to go away humming a tune," Vanden Wyngaard said. "I try to play something that the audience can identify with."

Vanden Wyngaard is also grateful that after an interruption by the pandemic audiences can once again enjoy the carillon in its full glory as its 48 bells ring out music from the carillonneur's fingers.

"People see the bell tower and they think of Grand Valley immediately," Vanden Wyngaard said. "It’s familiar, it’s a landmark, it’s a part of our institution."

Schedule for the Carillon Concert Series

July 3 

Julianne Vanden Wyngaard

GVSU carillonneur, retired

July 10

Helen Hofmeister

Grand Rapids, Michigan

July 17

Eva Albalghiti

Ann Arbor, Michigan

July 24

Laura Ellis

Professor of organ and carillon, University of Florida

July 31

Jim Fackenthal 

Chicago, Illinois


Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.