Carillon - Arts - McDonogh School


***Friday, July 19 Concert canceled due to global Tech Outage***


During the summer of 2024, McDonogh will host the 46th Annual Summer Carillon Concert Series. The free concerts will be held rain or shine. Guests are invited to picnic on the grounds surrounding Tagart Memorial Chapel or enjoy the recitals from inside. Tours of the tower will be given after each concert. The Lower School playground is closed for renovation this summer.

To enjoy a livestream of the concerts, go to

Summer Series Carillon Recitalists

Friday, June 28: Jesse Ratcliffe

Jesse Ratcliffe is a native of Hinton, West Virginia, a graduate of Concord University, Athens, WV (BA); Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA (MM); and the North American Carillon School, Springfield, IL (Performance Diploma). Additionally, he has completed post-graduate studies at Westminster Choir College. In June 2019, he became a Carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA). His work as a recitalist has been heard in numerous venues, most notably during the 2014 Edinburgh International Music Festival and the 2018 Thomas Rees International Carillon Festival in Springfield, IL. Jesse is the Director of Music and Organist at All Saints Episcopal Church in Frederick, MD. 

Jesse Ratcliffe Concert Program


Friday, July 5: James Brinson

James (Jim) Brinson, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, joined the faculty at Mercersburg Academy in 2003 and was named Mercersburg’s fourth carillonneur in 2009. Preceding Brinson were Carillonneurs Anton Brees (1926–1928), Bryan Barker (1928–1981) and James W. Smith (1983– 2009). Brinson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and a Master’s in Sacred Music from the School of Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Before coming to Mercersburg, he served as Organist and Choirmaster at Church of the Holy Communion and St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis. He also served at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and School in Winter Haven, Florida, in addition to teaching organ and music history at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

James Brinson Concert Program


Friday, July 12: David Hunsberger

David Hunsberger grew up in southern New Jersey. He holds the Bachelor of Music cum laude from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, OH, the Master of Music and PhD in music from Washington University in St Louis, MO, the Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Associate certificate from the American Guild of Organists, which he attained at age 20. He was admitted to the California bar in 1987. He has taught music at the Thailand Theological Seminary in Chiang Mai, Webster College in Webster Groves, MO, and Washington University. Since age 13, he has been the organist at Methodist, Episcopal, Congregational, and Presbyterian churches. Currently, he is organist/director at Zion Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Piedmont, CA. He practiced law in Berkeley for eight years before assuming an administrative staff position with the University of California. He studied Carillon with James R Lawson at the Riverside Church in New York City and with Raymond Keldermans in Springfield IL. Since 1983, he has been an Assistant Carilloner at the Berkeley campus. He has given carillon recitals widely in the U.S., Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. For 30 years he was the legal counsel to The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and for 25 years its treasurer.

David Hunsberger Concert Program

Friday, July 19: Gerald Martindale (CANCELED DUE TO GLOBAL TECH OUTAGE)

Since 2016, Gerald Martindale has been playing weekly at the Exhibition Place Carillon after serving for almost two decades as Carillonneur of the historic Metropolitan United Church of Toronto. He earned a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Windsor and holds Associate Diplomas in Organ from the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto and the Royal Canadian College of Organists. He studied Carillon with Dr. Sydney Shep, former Carillonneur of the University of Toronto. On a private basis, Mr. Martindale teaches piano and organ and sings in two community choirs. For the past 20 years, he has been active as a background performer, having acted in 360 movie and television productions. In July 2023, he concluded his 21st annual Carillon concert tour of the United States. At the end of August 2023, he concluded his 10th tour of Europe performing 11 carillon recitals in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

Gerald Martindale Concert Program


Friday, July 26: Edward M. Nassor

Edward M. Nassor is the Cathedral Carillonneur of Washington National
Cathedral and the Director-Carillonneur of the Netherlands Carillon in Arlington,
Virginia. He began his carillon studies in Richmond, VA, at Virginia
Commonwealth University, then continued his studies with Frank P. Law, of Valley
Forge, PA, before earning a Practical Diploma from the Netherlands Carillon
School, in Amersfoort, NL, as a recipient of a Fulbright grant. A member of the
Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, he has served on the board of directors,
and the student advancement committee. Currently, he serves on the Barnes
Scholarship and the music publication committees. Mr. Nassor enjoys playing at
the McDonogh School, saying, “The combination of the perfectly manicured
grounds and the beautifully tuned Dutch bells make for an unforgettable listening

Ed Nassor Concert Program

Photo Credit: Matt Mendelsohn

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.

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