Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon

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Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon

Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon.jpg

Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon located in Washington Park, Springfield, Illinois, USA
General information
Type Carillon
Architectural style Brutalism
Location Washington Park, Springfield, Illinois, United States
Coordinates 39°47′22″N89°41′00″W / 39.7893333°N 89.6834722°W / 39.7893333; -89.6834722 Coordinates: 39°47′22″N89°41′00″W / 39.7893333°N 89.6834722°W / 39.7893333; -89.6834722
Inaugurated June 1962
Renovated 1978, 1987, 1993, 2000, 2008
Cost $200,000
Renovation cost $90,000 (2008)
Owner Springfield Park District
Height 132 feet
Technical details
Lifts/elevators 1
Design and construction
Architect Bill Turley
Other designers Petit & Fritsen (bell casting)

The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon is a carillon located in Washington Park in Springfield, Illinois. The brutalist tower stands 132 feet and is constructed from concrete, brick and steel. It was dedicated in 1962 and designed by Bill Turley. Each year the carillon hosts the International Carillon Festival which features world-renowned carillonneurs.

Carillon musical instrument consisting of several bells, often in a tower

A carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in the bell tower (belfry) of a church or municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to produce a melody, or sounded together to play a chord. A traditional manual carillon is played by striking a keyboard – the stick-like keys of which are called batons – with the fists, and by pressing the keys of a pedal keyboard with the feet. The keys mechanically activate levers and wires that connect to metal clappers that strike the inside of the bells, allowing the performer on the bells, or carillonneur/carillonist to vary the intensity of the note according to the force applied to the key.

Washington Park (Springfield, Illinois) park in Springfield, Illinois

Washington Park is a park in Springfield, Illinois, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located at 1400 Williams Boulevard, the park features walking trails, a botanical garden, large duck pond, rose garden, carillon, and carillon concerts. The park was purchased for city use in 1900, and construction began in 1901. Substantial drainage and dredging were required to turn the wetland portions of the future park into ponds and grassy space. Washington Park is operated by the Springfield Park District.

Springfield, Illinois Capital of Illinois

Springfield is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city's population of 116,250 as of the 2010 U.S. Census makes it the state's sixth most populous city. It is the largest city in central Illinois. As of 2013, the city's population was estimated to have increased to 117,006, with just over 211,700 residents living in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and the adjacent Menard County.



The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon is located in Springfield, Illinois' Washington Park and was dedicated in June 1962. [1] [2] [3] A trust fund bequeathed by local newspaper publisher Thomas Rees - he published the Illinois State Register from 1881 until 1933 - provided the money for the construction of the carillon. [2] The trust fund provided $200,000 to build and maintain a carillon in Springfield. [3] Rees had traveled through the Netherlands and Belgium where he discovered his enjoyment of the sounds produced by carillons. [2]

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It has the 5th largest Gross Domestic Product by state, is the 6th-most populous U.S. state and 25th-largest state in terms of land area. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in northern and central Illinois, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, contains over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports around the world from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean; as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway on the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Including three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

The carillon has been periodically closed and renovated through its lifetime. In 1978, the transmission system was updated and in 1987 the carillon experienced a major renovation. [4] The 1987 work was done, in part, to install a new transition system for the bells. [4] The Rees Carillon was closed for a period in 1993 while it underwent a major structural renovation. [4] In 2008 the Rees Carillon underwent renovation that replaced seven of the bells' clappers at a cost of $90,000. [3]

Church bell bell in a church

A church bell in the Christian tradition is a bell which is rung in a church for a variety of ceremonial purposes, and can be heard outside the building. Traditionally they were used to call worshippers to the church for a communal service, and to announce times of daily prayer, called the canonical hours. They are also rung on special occasions such as a wedding, or a funeral service. In some religious traditions they are used within the liturgy of the church service to signify to people that a particular part of the service has been reached. The ringing of church bells, in the Christian tradition, was also believed to drive out demons.


The Rees Carillon is a free-standing open tower which features 67 bells that have a total weight of 82,753 pounds (37,536 kg). [3] The tower was designed by architect Bill Turley, who had several other Springfield commissions including the present-day Hoogland Center for the Arts and the Springfield YMCA. [5] The bronze bells vary in size with the largest bell, the G-flat, weighing 7.5 short tons (6.8 t) and the smallest bell weighing 22 pounds (10.0 kg). [3] [4] The tower stands in the park surrounded by gardens and a reflecting pool. [1] The carillon originally featured 66 bells but a 67th bell, B-flat, was added in February 2000. [3] [6] The bells were cast by Petit & Fritsen in Aarle-Rixtel from the Netherlands. [3]

Bronze metal alloy

Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility, or machinability.

G(G-flat) or sol bémol is the seventh semitone of the solfège.

Reflecting pool water feature found in gardens, parks, and at memorial sites, consists of a shallow pool of water, undisturbed by fountain jets, for a reflective surface

A reflecting pool or reflection pool is a water feature found in gardens, parks, and at memorial sites. It usually consists of a shallow pool of water, undisturbed by fountain jets, for a reflective surface.

The Rees Carillon stands 132 feet (40 m) and features three observation decks within its open interior. [6] [7] [8] The tower is constructed from concrete, brick and steel. [8] The Rees Memorial Carillon is claimed to be one of the world's largest; the Springfield, Illinois Convention & Visitor's Bureau claims it is the 3rd largest, while the local public television affiliate simply asserted it as "one of the world's largest" in 1997. [1] [2] Additionally, author Don Davenport stated it was the world's 5th largest carillon in 2002. [7] The Rees Carillon was also featured in a slideshow on Midwest Living's website where it was called "one of the world's largest carillons". [9] The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon is an example of brutalism. [10]

Observation deck

An observation deck, observation platform or viewing platform is an elevated sightseeing platform usually situated upon a tall architectural structure such as a skyscraper or observation tower. Observation decks are sometimes enclosed from weather, and a few may include coin-operated telescopes for viewing distant features.

Concrete Composite construction material

Concrete, usually Portland cement concrete, is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens over time—most frequently a lime-based cement binder, such as Portland cement, but sometimes with other hydraulic cements, such as a calcium aluminate cement. It is distinguished from other, non-cementitious types of concrete all binding some form of aggregate together, including asphalt concrete with a bitumen binder, which is frequently used for road surfaces, and polymer concretes that use polymers as a binder.

Brick Block or a single unit of a ceramic material used in masonry construction

A brick is building material used to make walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Traditionally, the term brick referred to a unit composed of clay, but it is now used to denote any rectangular units laid in mortar. A brick can be composed of clay-bearing soil, sand, and lime, or concrete materials. Bricks are produced in numerous classes, types, materials, and sizes which vary with region and time period, and are produced in bulk quantities. Two basic categories of bricks are fired and non-fired bricks.

Festival and tours

The Rees Memorial Carillon hosts a week-long international carillon festival each summer, typically held during the week that concludes with the first full weekend in June. [1] [3] [11] The International Carillon Festival is typically held in June and features concerts during the evenings of festival week. [1] [3] [11] World class carillonneurs come to the United States to play the International Carillon Festival. [11] The 2011 festival was held from June 5–12 and was the festival's 50th anniversary. [3] Though the carillon was dedicated in 1962, the first International Carillon Festival at Washington Park was in 1961. [12] In the 2007 edition Chase's Calendar of Events called the Rees Memorial Carillon's International Carillon Festival "the world's best known carillon festival." [12] Tours of the carillon are available during the spring and summer; [9] The Springfield Park District's website includes tour and concerts times. Winter tours are available by appointment only. [11] Entrance to the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon requires paying a nominal fee. [1] [11] Visitors to the carillon can travel to the top by elevator where a scenic view of Springfield awaits. [1]

Festival organised series of acts and performances

A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or cultures. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, mela, or eid. Next to religion and folklore, a significant origin is agricultural. Food is such a vital resource that many festivals are associated with harvest time. Religious commemoration and thanksgiving for good harvests are blended in events that take place in autumn, such as Halloween in the northern hemisphere and Easter in the southern.

Chase's Calendar of Events is an annual American publication, started in 1957 by brothers William (Bill) D. Chase, and Harrison V. Chase. It includes special events, holidays, federal and state observances, historic anniversaries, and more unusual celebratory traditions. Bill Chase worked as a newspaper librarian and saw a need for "a single reference source for calendar dates, and for authoritative and current information about various observances throughout the year".

Elevator vertical transport device

An elevator or lift is a type of vertical transportation that moves people or goods between floors of a building, vessel, or other structure. Elevators are typically powered by electric motors that either drive traction cables and counterweight systems like a hoist, or pump hydraulic fluid to raise a cylindrical piston like a jack.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon", Springfield Illinois Convention & Visitor's Bureau, official site, retrieved January 22, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Thomas Ress Memorial Carillon in Springfield", (video), Prairie Fire, episode #542, WILL ; PBS , May 8, 1997, retrieved January 22, 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Nevel, Jason. "Carillon festival will show off new lighting system", State Journal Register , June 3, 2011, retrieved January 22, 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "History", "Carillon" - Springfield Park District, official site, retrieved January 22, 2012.
  5. "Hoogland Center for the Arts", Springfield, Illinois: Historic Sites Commission, official site, retrieved January 22, 2012.
  6. 1 2 "On the Cover", Illinois Parks and Recreation, 05, July/August 1984, retrieved January 22, 2012.
  7. 1 2 Davenport, Don. In Lincoln's Footsteps: A Historical Guide to the Lincoln Sites in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, (Google Books link), Big Earth Publishing, 2002, p. 132, (ISBN   193159905X).
  8. 1 2 Volkmann, Roberta and Volkmann, Carl. Springfield's Sculptures, Monuments, and Plaques, (Google Books link), Arcadia Publishing, 2008, p. 75, (ISBN   0738551651).
  9. 1 2 "Springfield, Illinois: Lincoln Country", (slideshow), Midwest Living , retrieved January 22, 2011.
  10. "Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon", Emporis , retrieved January 22, 2012.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 "International Carillon Festival", Springfield Park District, official site, retrieved January 22, 2012.
  12. 1 2 "Chase's Calendar of Events 2007, (Google Books link), McGraw-Hill, 2006, p. 304, (ISBN   0071468188).