History

Having toured throughout the United States, Carillon performs a wide range of handbell literature consisting of familiar church hymns, traditional classical arrangements, and original compositions for handbells.

Founded in 1985 by Dr. Larry D. Smith, the Carillon Handbell Choir consists of 10-14 ringers selected annually by campus-wide auditions. The group performs 20 to 25 concerts annually for local, regional, national, and international audiences. Noteworthy performances include the opening concert for the Directors Seminar of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers in Reston, Virginia, in the summer of 1991: a featured concert in 1992 at the MENC National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana: a 10 day performance tour of England in May 1992, under the auspices of the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain. Additionally, in 1992 Carillon rang for the Church Music Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, while in 1993 the group performed as featured ensemble at Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. In June 1994 Carillon performed on the island of Bermuda and again presented the opening concert of the Directors Seminar of the AGEHR in Mobile, Alabama. At the invitation of handbell ringers in Germany, Carillon performed concerts throughout Germany in June 1996, and, in May 1998, performed three concerts as the guests of the Kaetsu Educational Foundation in Tokyo, Japan.

In June 2000 Carillon returned to Europe to ring by invitation on the concert series of the beautiful American Church in Paris, France, situated in the Quai d’Orsay. After Paris, the choir played concerts in Lucerne, Switzerland, and in Salzburg and Vienna, Austria.

In May 2001 Carillon performed concerts in Tennessee and North Carolina, and in Williamsburg, Virginia, where they rang in the historic Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg. Later in July 2001, Carillon visited California for the first time, where they performed the opening concert of the AGEHR Handbell Spectacular in Palm Springs.

In 2002 Carillon performed the opening concert for the national handbell event, Handbell Exploration, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In May 2003 Carillon performed by invitation for the 1958 Alumni Class Reunion of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. They also performed at the famous Riverside Church in New York, New York.

In school year 2004 Carillon performed over 20 concerts in Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and in July 2004 attended the European Handbell Festival 2004 in The Netherlands and Germany and played solo concerts as well as festival programs.

In the spring of 2005 Carillon performed concerts in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama before again traveling to Europe in July to perform in the 2005 European Handbell Festival – Italy.

In the spring of 2006, at the invitation of the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, Carillon played solo and joint concerts with the University’s handbell choir and jazz band.

In July 2007, Carillon attended the European Handbell Festival in Scotland, playing solo concerts as well as participating in festival concerts.

In July 2008, Carillon attended the European Handbell Festival in Prague and Vienna, playing solo concerts and participating in two festival concerts.

In July 2009, Carillon performed at the opening concert for the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers National Directors Seminar in Tuscon, Arizona. They performed concerts in Louisiana, Texas and Arizona on their way to the national event in Tuscon.

In June, 2010 Carillon toured Ireland. They played concerts at Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin and at St. Laserian’s Cathrdral in Old Leighlin, Co. Carlow.

In June 2011, Carillon will perform at the AGEHR AREA VI Handbell Festival in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They will also give concerts in Mufreesboro, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; Knoxville, Tennessee and Chattanooga, Tennessee.