Why carillonneurs from all over the map were here in Dayton today

Carillonneurs from all over the map descended upon Dayton today.

The 75th Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America convened today around the 75-year-old Deeds Carillon.

Carillon Historical Park hosted the 75th Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA) for two special Deeds Carillon concerts.

Fittingly, Deeds Carillon is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

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Founded in 1936, the GCNA is dedicated to developing new carillonneurs, building new carillons, improving existing installations, and composing and distributing carillon music.

Here are 5 things to know about the Deeds Carillon, and the 75th Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America concert:

What on Earth is a carillon anyway? 

Since the Middle Ages, the toll of carillon bells has rung out across the world. Consisting of at least 23 tuned bells encompassing at least two octaves, modern carillons are played from a keyboard inside a console, allowing for dynamic musical expression. Everything from classical selections to popular music can be performed on a carillon.

Why does Dayton have a carillon? 

During the 1930s, while listening to the beautiful sound of carillon bells in Bruges, Belgium, Edith Walton Deeds was inspired to build a carillon for the city of Dayton. Edith wished for the carillon bells to be exposed to ensure the purest, most unrestricted beauty of tone, and construction began on Deeds Carillon in 1940. The first official concert was held on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1942.

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Which famous NYC landmarks share a lot in common with Deeds Carillon? 

Deeds Carillon was designed by Reinhard, Hofmeister and Walquist of New York, the same architectural firm responsible for New York City’s Rockefeller Center. The Olmsted Brothers, the famed landscape architects responsible for Central Park, completed the original green space surrounding the carillon.

With 57 bells, Deeds Carillon is Ohio's largest. Constructed of Indiana limestone, it stands at 151-feet tall. In 2005, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Who knew there was a Guild of Carillonneurs in North America? 

After a 1934 meeting at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, the 1st Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs of North America was held at the Peace Tower, Houses of Parliament, Ottawa, Canada in 1936. Due to a number of factors, including World War II, there were only two meetings from 1936–1946. Since then, GCNA congresses have been held annually, and this year marks the 75th congress.

Carillon Historical Park’s very own carillonneur, Dr. Larry Weinstein, is a past GCNA president. Dr. Weinstein plays over 25 original concerts on Deeds Carillon throughout the year.

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Who performed at the 75th Congress of the Guild of Carilloneurs of North America? 

Acclaimed carillonneurs Dennis Curry and John Gouwens performed at the 75th Congress of the GCNA. Dennis Curry, a Michigan resident and Mariemont High School graduate, has served as Kirk in the Hills carillonneur for nearly 30 years, and was appointed Oakland University’s first carillonneur in 2015. John Gouwens was appointed organist and carillonneur of Culver Academies in northern Indiana in 1980. Gouwens has also served as Culver’s choir director, and teaches and plays at Ball State, Indiana University, and the North American Carillon School.

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