That Rings a Bell Part II

Where are those bells playing hymns in downtown Chicago coming from? From here:

First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple
First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple

It’s the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple. It looks like a cross between a skyscraper and a church, doesn’t it? It’s right across the street from the Daley Plaza, a site of many downtown events, so no wonder the church has to be mindful about when and how much they play their bells.

Erik Nussbaum, the church music director, took me on a tour of their bells. In fact, the bells here are digital reproductions played from an electronic device. Thousands of pre-programmed selections are available.

electronic bells by Verdin
electronic bells by Verdin

The bell sounds are played out of these gigantic speakers.

speaker for electronic bells
speaker for electronic bells

The church used to own a forty-tubular-bell instrument by Deagan. Tower Bells Supersite writes that it was installed in 1935 and scrapped in 1955, but no one at the church was able to confirm or deny these dates. We even poked around in the storage facility to see if the old Deagan bells were laying around somewhere, but no luck. (You know how most places have basement storage? They had the opposite–their storage area was at the top of the tower!)

I am a little disappointed that the most prominent bells in downtown Chicago are not even real bells. It’s nice to hear the sound of bells while in the Loop, but in my opinion, the sound of real bells is much more satisfying, even if just a couple of bells.

Thank you, Erik Nussbaum, for showing me around!

3 Replies to “That Rings a Bell Part II”

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