McDonogh's Carillon

A carillon consists of 23 or more cast bronze bells connected with mechanical wires to a keyboard and a pedalboard. The keyboard is similar to that of a piano; it is split into two rows of spindle-like wooden keys that are struck by half-closed fists. The pedalboard, similar to that of an organ, controls the two lowest octaves. Repertoire ranges from original compositions to arrangements of classical music, hymns, and popular melodies.

The McDonogh Carillon, one of approximately 180 in North America and only two in Maryland, includes 48 bells weighing a total of nearly 10 tons. The smallest is 24 pounds and has a diameter of 7 ½ inches; the largest weighs more than 1.6 tons and has a diameter of 53 inches. The bells were cast and tuned in The Netherlands by the Petit and Fritsen Foundry, which dates back to 1660. Additionally, there is a practice keyboard in the bell tower which is attached to a set of tuned bars, similar to a xylophone.

Throughout the year, the carillon chimes the Westminster Quarters and Hours. When school or camp is in session, 23 bells are programmed to play a hymn or familiar tune every weekday in the morning and again in the afternoon.

Summer Recital Series
Since 1979 McDonogh has hosted an annual summer carillon recital series which features recitalists from the USA as well as abroad. The recitals begin on the last Friday in June and continue for five consecutive Fridays from 7-8 p.m. at Tagart Memorial Chapel. They are free of charge and open to the public. The tower will be open for tours after the concerts on June 29, July 6, 13, and 20.

2018 Summer Carillon Concert Series
June 29 Buck Lyon-Vaiden, McDonogh School Carilloneur Owings Mills, Maryland
July 6 Tiffany Lin, Carillonneur Washington, DC
July 13 Geert D'hollander, Carillonneur Bok Tower Gardens
Lake Wales, Florida
July 20 Philippe Beullens, Carillonneur Leuven, Belgium
July 27 Doug Gefvert, Carillonneur Washington Memorial National Carillon
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania


McDonogh's Carillonneurs

William Lyon-Vaiden is McDonogh's resident carillonneur. He learned to play at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Lyon-Vaiden plays for many events during the school year, including Founder's Day, the Alumni Memorial Service, Headmaster's Day, and Graduation. By request, he will play for weddings and other ceremonies on campus.

From time to time, Lyon-Vaiden trains interested students on the carillon. Alumni Eric Mulligan ’04 and Talley Berry ’06 learned to play the bells for their senior projects.

Audio Sample

Click the link to hear McDonogh's own carillon playing an arrangement of the hymn "Joyful, Joyful."

Joyful, Joyful

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McDonogh School | 410.363.0600 |
8600 McDonogh Road | Owings Mills | Maryland | 21117