June 12, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 19

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    Rockefeller bells playing new tune

    The bells at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel began ringing the new "Blackwood Chime" this month. The new tune honors the retirement of Easley Blackwood, Professor in Music, and will sound every 15 minutes during daytime hours. Blackwood composed the chime tune in 1961.

    "Changing the chime tune is not an everyday event," said University Carillonneur Wylie Crawford. In the last 30 years, only two other tunes have sounded from Rockefeller Chapel's 200-foot tower: the "Canterbury Chime," programmed to honor the Archbishop of Canterbury's visit to Chicago, and the "Cambridge Chime" (known as "Westminster"), which has rung for the past decade.

    In addition to his career as a composer and pianist, Blackwood is well known in carillon circles. He has composed two pieces for the carillon: a chaconne in the 1960s and a sonatina this year.

    The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Carillon was presented to the University of Chicago in 1932 by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in memory of his mother. Housed in the chapel tower, it is the second-largest carillon in the world, with 72 bells ranging in weight from 10.5 pounds to 18.5 tons.

    Rockefeller Chapel's annual Summer Carillon Festival, which features carillonneurs from around the world, will begin on Sunday, June 22 (see story on page 11).