Return of the Bells

The New "Bells" (Click Photo to see the Progression)

Last fall, we received the go-ahead from Session to replace our old worn-out bell system. We determined that the job consisted of the removal of pigeons, nests, and pigeon by-products from the bell tower, repairing or replacing the window screens in the bell tower as needed, and installing the new bell speakers and installing the Carillon System.

The lower tower cleaning was done by Dave Grindahl and Dan Direen. Then, James Welte cleaned out the upper tower of over 80 pounds of pidgeon by-products. Next, in order to keep the pigeons out of the tower, replacements for the five missing window screens were fabricated by Mark Freeman and installed by James Welte.

We ordered and received the new Carillon from a company called Compuchime, in Indiana. The Carillon consists of a custom built computer with special software with bell files, an Atomic Clock (to synchronize the Carillon to the correct time), an amplifier designed for bell systems, and four bell speakers that were designed to accurately reproduce the sounds that were recorded of actual cast bells chiming.

In order to install the new speakers a decision had to be made about where to hang them. It was decided that it was too dangerous for our people to mount the new speakers at the bell tower ceiling. As a safe alternative, it was decided to install a beam 8 feet above the floor of the bell tower, and attach the new speakers to the new beam. This also allows easy access to the speakers if maintenance is needed. The interior of the bell tower functions as a resonating chamber to broadcast the bell tones from the new speakers to the neighborhood, the same way that it did with the ceiling mounted speaker.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 the beam was installed, and the speakers were mounted and hooked up to the Carillon by Dave Grindahl and Dale Showman. The Carillon was then successfully tested with the song of “Auld Ang Syne”. Our bells are alive and well.

There is more to do yet. We need to install the remote control sensor so that the organist can operate the Carillon from the choir loft, and we need to hook up a speaker or speakers so that the Carillon can heard by the congregation in the sanctuary if desired. It has been and is a fun project.
Listen to the Bells…

–Dale Showman