chimes sound again in Royce Quad
POWELL: After repairs to equipment, melodious music
in bell tower
that has graced the ears of UCLA students since 1952 has
come back to Royce Quad after a year of silence.
chimes of the Powell Library Building, which resound from
speakers in the bell tower, returned last week following
repairs and the installation of new equipment.
The carillon, an eight-octave
organ-like instrument which is responsible for the chimes, is
kept in a basement room in Schoenberg Hall. The carillon sends
the tones through electronic bellrods and solenoids, which then
travel through cables in underground steam tunnels across to Powell.
Jeff Richmond, electronic
technician for the Department of Music, said that of all his jobs,
he likes caring for the carillon the best.
"This is something
that's an honor to be a part of," Richmond said. "When
the older carillon was broken, it was disturbing to me."
"It got to the
point where the melody chimes just wore out ... the whole thing
was so outdated, finally we just had to turn it off," Richmond
Purchased with university
funds during the summer, the new carillon equipment is digitalized,
and replaced all the recording and playing equipment. In addition,
repairs were made to the carillon itself, so that it would sound
better and require less maintenance.
The new equipment
is good news for students who rely on Powell's chimes.
"I like the chimes
(because) I never wear my watch," said Kavita Tekchandani,
a third-year political science student. "They add to the
antique atmosphere of the campus."
The carillon began
as a donation of a few small chimes by Frederic Thorne-Rider,
a Bel Air resident, in 1939. In 1952, the equipment that had served
UCLA since 1939 was moved to Schoenberg.
Over the years, many
Carillonneurs, or "chime mistresses," have played the
instrument, including past faculty members Laura Brown, a member
of the theater department, and Peggy Sheffield, a member of the
music department and the last to play it on a regular basis.
an art to be able to compose a piece on the carillon," Richmond
Before leaving UCLA,
Sheffield, who played the carillon daily at 11:50 a.m. and 5 p.m.,
recorded many of her songs on tape. These songs are currently
being transferred to disks for the new equipment.
Despite the taped
music, the carillon can still be played live.
graduate adviser for the School of Art and Architecture, has played
the carillon for many past occasions, including spring commencement,
memorial services, and Chancellor Albert Carnesale's inauguration.
She has even been heard practicing on the carillon when she thought
it had been turned off. "People came up to me saying they
enjoyed the concert," Crawford said. "It was very embarrassing."
Although a relatively
minor part of campus life at UCLA, the chimes have their share
of history. Weird Al Yankovic recorded them for an album, and
USC students have tampered with them as practical jokes.
When a mishap occurred
in 1988 and the chimes failed to play, a professor kept his students
20 minutes past the class' scheduled time.
The chimes also have
some myths surrounding them, including the false story that they
were recorded from Berkeley's Campanile bell tower.
Because of their history,
many people missed the chimes last year.
"I had a lot
of calls wondering about the bells," said John Hayes, manager
of technical services for the School of Arts and Architecture.
carillon adds a certain 'university' atmosphere on campus,"
Hayes continued. "I'm glad they're fixed."
1999 UCLA Daily Bruin Online