Carillon - Arts - McDonogh School



All are welcome to the 45th Annual Summer Carillon Concert Series which will take place on Friday evenings, June 30-July 28 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at McDonogh School’s Tagart Memorial Chapel. The free concerts will be held rain or shine and guests are invited to picnic on the grounds surrounding Tagart Memorial Chapel or enjoy the recitals from inside. Children are welcome to use the Lower School playground behind Elderkin Hall. Tours of the tower will be given after each concert.

Watch the livestream here.

Carillon Recitalists

June 30: Laura Ellis

Laura Ellis, Associate Director and Professor at the University of Florida School of Music in Gainesville, is performing at McDonogh for the first time. She holds a DMA degree in organ performance and is very active in the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. In addition to playing the harpsichord and carillon, she gives lessons on these instruments. View the concert program.

July 7: Annie Gao

Annie Gao hails from sunny Southern California and will be performing for the first time at  McDonogh. She learned to play the carillon from Ellen Dickenson at Yale University and was a  member of the student-led Yale University Guild of Carillonneurs as well as its Co-Chair in her final year. View the concert program.

July 14: Dina Verheyden and Richard de Waardt

Dina Verheyden from Belgium and Richard de Waardt from The Netherlands are a husband and wife duo who are involved in many aspects of the carillon. Both studied and graduated from the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn” in Mechelen, Belgium, and each is a City Carillonneur. Their performance will include a duet entitled “Paranoid Android.” View the concert program.

July 21: Buck Lyon-Vaiden

McDonogh School’s resident Carillonneur Buck Lyon-Vaiden will start his program with some patriotic pieces, followed by some transcriptions of pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, and Schumann. Next, he will share two original compositions for carillon in very different styles and play some familiar, popular tunes. He will round out the program with four hymn tunes. View the concert program.

July 28: John Widmann

John Widmann has played many times at McDonogh and is a Carillonneur in Frederick, Maryland, at the oldest of the three manually-played carillons in Maryland. He completed a master of music degree from Towson University in 2011 and spent 2021-22 studying for his diploma from the Royal Carillon  School “Jef Denyn” in Mechelen, Belgium. He recently retired from a career teaching general/vocal music in the Frederick County Public School system. View the concert program.

McDonogh's Carillon

A carillon consists of 23 or more cast bronze bells connected with mechanical wires to a keyboard and a pedalboard. The keyboard is similar to that of a piano; it is split into two rows of spindle-like wooden keys that are struck by half-closed fists. The pedalboard, similar to that of an organ, controls the two lowest octaves. Repertoire ranges from original compositions to arrangements of classical music, hymns, and popular melodies.

The McDonogh Carillon, one of approximately 180 in North America and only three in Maryland, includes 48 bells weighing a total of nearly 10 tons. The smallest is 24 pounds and has a diameter of 7 ½ inches; the largest weighs more than 1.6 tons and has a diameter of 53 inches. The bells were cast and tuned in The Netherlands by the Petit and Fritsen Foundry, which dates back to 1660. Additionally, there is a practice keyboard in the bell tower that is attached to a set of tuned bars, similar to a xylophone.

Throughout the year, the carillon chimes the Westminster Quarters and Hours. When school or camp is in session, 23 bells are programmed to play a hymn or familiar tune every weekday in the morning and again in the afternoon.

Buck Lyon-Vaiden is McDonogh's resident carillonneur. He learned to play at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Lyon-Vaiden plays for many events during the school year, including Dedication Day, the Alumni Memorial Service, Head of School Day, and Commencement. By request, he will play for weddings and other ceremonies on campus.

Carillon Featured in Amerika Woche