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AU carillonneur to perform at international festival
5/29/09

Laurel Buckwalter, Alfred University carillonneur and technical specialist in the Performing Arts Department, has been invited to perform two recitals on the Rees Memorial Carillon in Washington Park, Springfield, IL, at the 48th International Carillon Festival, which runs from Sunday, May 31 through Saturday, June 6.

The festival will include a variety of free concerts every night, except Wednesday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Buckwalter will perform on Monday, June 1 and Tuesday, June 2 at 7.

Also playing during the festival will be George Gregory from San Antonio, TX; Jan Bezuijen, Ouddorp, the Netherlands; Juliane vanden Wyngaard, Grand Rapids, MI; Peter Langberg, Logumkloster, Denmark; and Karel Keldermans, Springfield, IL, the Rees Memorial carillonneur.

A graduate of Houghton College with a major in music, Buckwalter earned a master of science degree in education from AU. In addition to her carillon and music specialist duties, Buckwalter is often the piano accompanist for recitalists and choral groups on campus and throughout the area.

There are 67 cast bronze bells covering a range of 5 1/2 chromatic octaves hanging in the Rees Memorial Carillon. The total weight of the bells is 82,753 pounds; the largest (bourdon) bell, a G-flat, weighs 7 1/2 tons, while the smallest weighs 22 pounds. The carillon was cast by the 300-year-old bell foundry of Petit & Fritsen, Ltd., in Aarle-Rixtel, The Netherlands. All of the bells are played manually by means of the keyboard located in the carillonneur's cabin. The newest bell, the B flat bell, was installed in February 2000, bringing the total number of bells to 67.

Thomas Rees was the publisher of the State Journal Register from 1881 until his death in 1933. During the period between 1910 and 1920, he and his wife traveled extensively. It was while visiting in the low countries of Belgium and Holland that he developed an intense interest in the carillon as a musical instrument and the art of playing bell music. This interest was revealed in his bequest to the Springfield Park District of a trust fund of $200,000 for the construction and maintenance of a carillon and tower. The completed instrument was dedicated in June 1962.