Carillons Bring Music to Campus

Over the past several weeks the melodic sounds of bells have been heard throughout the campus, leaving many wondering what they are and where they come from.

The recorded carillons are a set of bells timed to go off at designated hours, adding a pleasant background to the hustle and bustle of the day.

Many colleges and universities have such bells, some even have their own bell towers, to mark the passing of hours. UCLA, USC, and Occidental College are among the local bell ringers, said Larry Serot, GCC vice president of administrative services.

This campus heard carillon music for many years, up until 1995 when it was curtailed by the remodeling of the library.

“We decided to start the bells playing again when somebody asked about it and thought it would be nice to have them back,” said Serot. “The old piece of equipment wasn’t working anymore and a new one had to be purchased.”

The computerized carillon, Serot said, “is made to sound like bells and the sounds are being broadcast from speakers behind the library.” The program contains 120 songs, which are randomly played at 8 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Chimes are played every hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to mark the passage of the hours.

“We don’t play the sounds before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. because we don’t want to disturb the neighbors,” said Serot.

“It has been playing for three weeks and there have been no complaints,” he said. “People like it.”