A carillon is a set of tower bells played from a keyboard. The bells can be played together in harmony or in a series to produce a melody. Metropolitan United’s carillon was installed in 1922, making it the first tuned carillon anywhere in North America.
The carillon’s original 23 bells were donated by Chester Massey, in memory of his wife, Margaret. Each bell contains the inscription, “May the spirit of the Lord reach the heart of every one where the sound of these bells is heard.” Bells were added to the carillon during the 1960s and 1970s, bringing the total up to its modern-day number of 54 bells.
The bells are housed in the belltower, dating back to 1872, overlooking Queen Street. For nearly 100 years, passersby have heard the bells ring out before each Sunday service and on special occasions.
A carilloneur plays the instrument using a pedal and key console housed in the tower in an insulated cabin just below the bells. The original key and pedal console from 1922 is preserved and is on display in the tower vestibule.
Metropolitan's carillonneur is Roy Lee.
Photos courtesy of S. Nadir and T. Santana.
For more information, download our Metropolitan Bells Brochure (2013):