The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial


   Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
   University of Chicago
   E. 59th Street and S. Woodlawn Avenue
   Chicago, Illinois, USA
   LL: N 41.78860, W 87.59686
Site locator map


   Alex Johnson,   (C)
     University Carillonist
*Past carillonists:
   1932-53 Frederick L. Marriott   (d.)
   1953-60 James R. Lawson (1919-2003)
   1960-69 Daniel Robins   (d.)
   1969-84 Robert Lodine   (d.)
   1984-2015 Wylie Crawford,   (C)
     University Carillonneur
   19??-2015 James Fackenthal,   (C)
     Assistant Carillonneur
   2015-22 Joseph (Joey) Brink   (C)


   Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
   University of Chicago
   5850 South Woodlawn Avenue
   (or 1156 East 59th Street)
   Chicago, IL  60637-1628
   T: 773-702-2100


   Noon and 5pm Mon-Fri and 5pm Sunday,
   when school is in session; tours of
   the tower (free) begin 1/2 hour before.
   Summer series normally 6pm Sundays
   from mid-June thru August.
   Quarter & hour strike currently silent.


   Second-heaviest carillon in the world.
   The bourdon (C#) was cast at 365-2-23
   (40959 lbs); after tuning it was
   shipped at 330-1-2 (36990 lbs).  The
   commonly reported weight of 38080 lbs
   is exactly 340 cwt, or 17 tonnes,
   an approximation.  Swinging bells are
   do1 (bourdon), fa1, sol1, la1, do2
   (relative to bourdon).  Original
   pedalboard had bourdon at F# position.
   Renovation of 2007-9 removed 46 bells
   from tower; some were re-tuned; new
   playing & practice keyboards built
   to WCF 2006 design with max keyfall
   (old practice keyboard retained);
   transmission completely re-oriented.
   Original electro-pneumatic mechanism
   survives, though not its control drum;
   original clock survives; both disused.
   New automatic control by Apollo for
   quarter-strike & original hour strike.
   Three practice keyboards in basement.

*Technical data:

   Traditional carillon of 72 bells
   Pitch of heaviest bell is C# in the bass octave
   Transposition is down 4 semitone(s)
   Keyboard range:     G F 71/    F C 31
   There is one missing bass semitone
   Some bells were re-tuned in 2008
     by Eijsbouts   
   Prior history:
     In 1932, the complete instrument of 72 bells was installed
       with bells made by Gillett & Johnston
   Auxiliary mechanisms: S5E9Q 
   Tower details not available
   Year of latest technical information source is 2015
Additional information on the technical history of this instrument can be found in a database printout.

The Chapel Website has a section about the carillon. A campus map facility provides both customized locator maps and building photos for the Chapel as well as Mitchell Tower with its 10-bell ring.  (Click the main photo to see another page of photos.)

A news article (3De'18) on a forthcoming festival of Christmas music also has background information about the carillon, and nine large photos.

Article about Wylie Crawford, with videa at the playing keyboard and photo at the practice keyboard; it gives some of his history at the UC carillon in the last half century.

Historical photo of Wylie Crawford at the keyboard of Rockefeller Chapel, c.1984.

Sample announcement of the tower tours which are available in conjunction with twice-daily carillon recitals (see Schedule above)

A Waymarking page for these bells has 3 photos.

Photo of the tower shrouded in scaffolding during the recent renovation

Where this work lies in the sequence of output of the Gillett & Johnston bellfoundry, in this region and in the world.

Ranking among all North American traditional carillons by weight.
Ranking among all North American traditional carillons by size (number of bells).
Ranking among all North American concert class carillons by year of completion.

Other grand carillons with similar keyboard ranges.

The eight bass bells of this carillon are among all great bells in North America.

Index to all traditional carillons in IL.

Index to all tower bell instruments in IL.

   This page was built from the database on 28-Feb-23
   based on textual data last updated on 2023/02/15
   and on technical data last updated on 2015/07/20

(none available)

Explanations of page format and keyboard range are available.

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