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Annual carillon concert series to feature musicians from around the world

  • Photo of the Cook Carillon Tower on the Allendale Campus

Posted on June 19, 2017

The melodic chimes of bronze bells will resonate across Grand Valley's Allendale and Pew Grand Rapids campuses during the annual International Carillon Concert Series.

The 23rd annual Cook Carillon International Concert Series will take place on Sundays at 8 p.m. on the Allendale Campus, from June 25-August 20.

June 25 - Amy Johansen, Australia

July 9 - James Fackenthal, Chicago, Illinois

July 16 - Sharon Hettinger, Lawrence, Kansas

July 23 - David Johnson, St. Paul, Minnesota

July 30 - Laura Ellis, University of Florida

August 6 - Sue Bergren, Naperville, Illinois

August 13 - Ray McLellan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

August 20 - Julianne Vanden Wyngaard, Grand Valley university carillonneur

Named for major donors and longtime Grand Valley supporters Peter and Pat Cook, who died in 2010 and 2008 respectively, the Cook Carillon Tower contains 48 bronze bells created in the Netherlands. The size and weight of each bell determines the individual tones. The bells range from 7.5 inches to more than 51 inches, and weigh from 14 to nearly 3,000 pounds. 

Arranged in a chromatic series, a carillonneur plays the bells after climbing 61 steps to the playing cabin, just below the bells and clock mechanism. Cables connect the bells to a keyboard and pedal board that permit loud or soft tones through a variation of either hard or soft strikes by fists and feet.

The 17th annual Beckering Family Carillon International Concert Series brings five concerts to the Lacks International Plaza located at the DeVos Center on Grand Valley's Pew Grand Rapids Campus. These concerts will take place on Wednesdays at noon, beginning July 5.

July 5 - Carol Lens, University of Denver

July 12 - James Fackenthal, Chicago, Illinois

July 19 - Helen Hawley, Grand Rapids, Michigan

July 26 - Jon Lehrer, Vancouver, British Columbia

August 2 - Julianne Vanden Wyngaard

The Beckering Family Carillon Tower was dedicated in Fall 2000 with the support of the Beckering family of Pioneer Construction. The 151-foot bell tower completes the look of a European village square on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The carillon contains 48 bronze bells cast at the Paccard Bell Foundry in France. The largest bell, called the "bourdon," weighs in at 4,500 pounds; the smallest weighs 25 pounds. 

The carillonneur’s playing chamber is located at the level of the tower windows. Thanks to modern technology, listeners are able to see the carillonneur perform without climbing the 112 steps to the chamber. Instead, video cameras transmit live images of the performance to a large monitor located at the base of the tower.

All concerts are free and open to the public. They will take place rain or shine.

For more information, visit, or call Grand Valley's Music and Dance Department at (616) 331-3484.