Ring, Ring, Boo: Guild of Carillonneurs Holds Halloween Open Tower and Concert

Students dressed in costumes play the carillon.
Image credit: Macy Lipkin ’23
October 31, 2019

When the 32-bell carillon was installed in Wellesley’s Galen Stone Tower in 1931, the students in the Guild of Carillonneurs probably weren’t concerned with what to play on Halloween. But 88 years later, things have changed. On October 26, the guild held a Halloween open tower and invited students up to the top of Green Hall for a behind-the-scenes view of the instrument, which is often heard but rarely seen in action.

In preparation for the event, guild members dug out spooky tunes from the files and spent a month learning them for the performance. Events Manager Abby Pan ’22 arranged for goodies for trick-or-treaters who braved the tower stairs—about seven dark flights up from the fifth floor of Green Hall. She and Sarah Gonzalez ’20, president of the guild, arrived early to set the ominous scene at the highest point on campus: string lights, plastic pumpkins, and the words “Trick or Treat” strung out in front of the keyboard.

The set list included supernatural and mystical tunes like Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter and music from Phantom of the Opera and Game of Thrones. Carillonneurs came in costume. Pan quickly figured out that being dressed as a ghost was not very conducive to playing an instrument that requires both hands and feet. She brushed her white sheet out of her face to play alongside Gonzalez, who was more practically attired in a wreath and a velvet cape, and Eleanor Willard ‘20, dressed as Crowley from the TV show Good Omens.

With their history and grandeur, the bells seem serious, untouchable. But inside the tower, up all those flights of stairs, Wellesley students are hanging out and practicing their craft all year round. (Though not during winter break, as the bells will be undergoing repairs due to storm damage.)

By Macy Lipkin ’23