I will be the first to admit, I have not always been a big fan of the Carillon. Partially, it has to do with the years in which the instrument and missle-like structure sat incomplete and seemingly abandoned. Then there were the days of intense public debate over the future of this most visible community feature which at one point placed into question whether or not the instrument and structure should be dismantled given financial difficulties. Finally, as a musician/composer who explores a myriad of music genres and plays a number of instruments in creating music for independent film, I’ve struggled to develop an appreciation for the tonal qualities of the instrument.
Today, I’m pleased to report the Carillon has finally touched my soul. After a morning of baseball, football and soccer at Rotary Hill with my three-year old, we walked over to the base of the tower. As he glanced upward at the intimidating structure, I explained to him the aspects of the instrument pointing out the larger outer bells resting within the tower. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stick around for tour hours, but I certainly plan to take the boys to tour the Carillon soon.
I must confess today was the closest I had gotten to the Carillon since the final phase of construction was completed, despite the fact we make many trips to Rotary Hill. Nonetheless, I must say the finished product is truly magnificent and now a complete landmark reflecting the uniqueness of our community. Even more, I am actually finding some of the music to be rather pleasant. I guess the reason I’ve struggled to enjoy the sound of the instrument is the fact it’s overall tonal range seems to be stuck in a minor key which places a strain on pieces of music written in a major key. Clearly, certain pieces of music sound better than others and I find myself enjoying performances of songs that are well-suited for the instrument.
Regardless of whether or not you care for the sound of the instrument, it’s hard not to appreciate the uniqueness and scale of this particular Carillon. According to the official Millenium Carillon website (www.naperville-carillon.org), it stands at 14 stories (160 ft.) and is slightly taller than the Statue of Liberty (151 ft.). With a total of 72 bells, the Millenium Carillon is among the largest of its kind in the world. Admission is $3.00 (kids under 5 are free) and you climb from bottom to top via a staircase. The Carillon is equipped with an elevator which will take you half way to the top, but still requires a few more flights to ascend to the top observation deck.
In the near future, I plan to go up for a visit and take some photographs as well as shoot some video of the view from the top which I plan to post.
Kudos to the many Naperville residents and leaders who worked tirelessly and transcended plenty of adversity over the past 9 years to see their vision become a reality for our community. Your hard work and conviction has truly paid off and future generations of Naperville residents are indebted to you for the gift of this proud icon.
If you would like to learn more about the Millenium Carillon, visit the website at: www.naperville-carillon.org