AU Press Releases

Summer series concludes with program by Missouri State carillonneur

The final performer in Alfred University’s 2009 Wingate Memorial Summer Carillon Recital Series is Dr. Jeremy Chesman, university carillonist and assistant professor of music at Missouri State University, Springfield, MO. The program is set for Tuesday, July 28, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Davis Memorial Carillon on the AU campus.

Admission is free and the event will go on rain or shine. Guests may sit on the lawn adjacent to the carillon. Feel free to bring along chairs and blankets to enhance your listening pleasure.

Chesman’s program is built around the concept of the carillon as the music of the people. Early in the life of the carillon the instrument was intended for the public, with carillonneurs often serving as civil servants.

Included in the evening’s performance will be a number of folksongs from America and the British Isles. The program begins with “Suite No. 1” by John Courter, who is described as one of the most prolific carillon composers alive today.

Next, “Five Folk Songs” are representative of the song tradition of North America. “Poor Wayfaring Stranger” is a white spiritual, published first in Kentucky Harmony in 1816. John Jacob Niles, a pioneer of American folk music, wrote “Go Way From My Window.” Artists as diverse as Peter, Paul, and Mary and Kenny Loggins recorded the lullaby “All the Pretty Little Horses,” that possibly had its origins from African slaves. “Shenandoah” is a song from the early 19th century. Finally, “The Wonderful Crocodile” was first collected in Nova Scotia, where the sea-faring people of that region told it as a tale.

The folk songs will be followed by ‘Cello Suite No. 4 in E-flat Major” by Bach, and then some tunes thought to be originally from the British Isles, and well known to most Americans. “Londonderry Air” and “Slane,” better known respectively as “Oh, Danny Boy,” and “Be Thou My Vision,” are originally Irish tunes. “Scarborough Fair” dates back to the bards of the medieval times, though it was most popular in the version sung by Simon and Garfunkel.

The concert ends with a piece originally written for carillon by the Flemish carillonneur and composer, Staf Nees. The title translates into English as “Rhythm Dance.”

Chesman is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he was the first person to earn a master of music degree in carillon performance.
While there he studied carillon with Margo Halsted and Todd Fair.

As a fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation, he studied carillon with Eddy Mariën and composition with Geert D’Hollander at the Royal Carillon School of Belgium, where he earned a Final Diploma with Distinction.

His performances have been broadcast in the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan, and he has performed throughout the United States, as well as in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Portugal, where he played a recital of American music at the National Palace in Mafra on the European Union’s day of mourning for the events of Sept. 11.

Alfred University’s Wingate Memorial Carillon Series honors Dr. Ray Winthrop Wingate (1886-1968), who was a professor of music at Alfred University for 56 years. After the installation of the bells in 1937, he was appointed the University carillonneur and continued in the position until his death. He arranged more than 5,000 selections for the carillon and composed nine suites. The Margaret Merrill and Ray W. Wingate Memorial Carillon Foundation funds the series.

The carillon at Alfred University is made of a double row of rounded oak levers, called batons (which are struck with loosely clenched fists), with a pedal board (octave and a fifth). The ground floor display by the carillon has information on its history. Guests are welcome to climb the 69 steps to the top to enjoy the view and watch the guest artists at work.

For more information on the Alfred University Summer Carillon Recital Series, contact Laurel Buckwalter, University carillonneur at 607.587.8090.