Pictured here is one of the sixty-seven bells which make up the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon in Springfield, IL. Among my summer's highlights was a visit to the carillon with Gabriel, then a rising seventh-grader from Southern Illinois, and his family. Of course, any time spent with Gabriel and his family is a joy. I am told that I mentor him, but as with all of the young people in my life, I find Gabriel to be a blessing and an inspiration to me.
Carillonneur Patrick Knox designed a VIP hands-on tour of the carillon. He showed both Gabriel and me a variety of bells that are part of the bell collection kept inside the building. We were able to touch printed scores of carillon music and could feel aspects of some of the music notation which seemed to be engraved into the pages.
After learning a little carillon history, we stepped into the elevator and were lifted into the carillon's bell tower. We stood under two of the large bass bells, a G and a B flat. We were able to strike the side of the bell manually with the clapper as we stood beneath it and could feel the vibration of the bell as it rang.
Then, it was back onto the elevator and up to the level which houses the carillon's keyboard.
We learned the proper way to strike the keys and touched the keyboard mechanisms which control the playing of the bells
After Gabriel and I experienced the keyboard, Patrick played a small concert for us. We enjoyed walking out onto different balconies and listening to the music from different points in the bell tower. The music was absolutely beautiful and it was quite a sensation to be up there among the bells as they were being played.
If you (or someone you know) are blind or visually impaired and if you are in the Central IL area, I highly recommend a private VIP tour of the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon. Visit the Carillon's Web site to learn more about it.
My thanks to Gabriel's mom, and his Aunt Karen for meeting me in Springfield so that I could surprise Gabriel in the sharing of this memorable experience.
On the subject of mentors, before flying out of Illinois, I was blessed to also spend a little time with the lady who served as my own mentor when we were much younger. I would like to thank my "big sister in Christ" Vivian and her entire family for helping to make that possible.
My Thanks also to Imboden Creek, Decatur, IL, Zion Hill United Methodist Church, Mattoon, IL, and Locust Grove Church, Assumption, IL for making Music By Laurel Jean part of the schedule during my time in the area. The ongoing prayers and support of people like you make it possible for me to continue to reach out on behalf of God's kids of all ages and especially my brothers and sisters in the blindness community.
Stay tuned for more posts like this one. Until next time, God bless you and keep His Song in your heart.
© 2015 by Laurel Jean Walden
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