Bell Tours

Our next tour will take place on Saturday, September 23rd, organized by Soho House Chicago. This tour is for Soho members only, but please check back soon for more dates. Or become a member of Soho House!

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The Chicago Bell Advocates are teaming up with WendyCity Tours to show you the fascinating world of Chicago’s tower bells. These hidden treasures are the sound of the Chicago skyline, yet few people get to see them. This is your opportunity to play Quasimodo and visit the massive musical instruments high above the Chicago streets. We’ll travel together by van to three bell towers and learn about the history and significance of these singing towers.

St. Michael Church-St. Joseph Bell

Ever since the middle ages, tower bells have been essential to civic life in European and Chinese cities. They rang to tell the time, alarmed the residents of fire and approaching invaders, and called the faithful to worship. Their modern descendants notify you too: think of the bells at your door, telephone, the L train, and elevator. Bells have been used continuously for over a millennium as audio signalers, a distinction unmatched by few other man-made sound makers.

St. Chrysostom's carillon console

Today the tower bells in any major city are more than functional ring tones. Over time, these sonic signals evolved into means of artistic expression. Familiar, simple tunes on bells eventually gave way to virtuosic music on tuned bells rivaling the sophistication of a piano’s. Other means of ringing produce dynamic rhythmic patterns, while still other ringing methods create complicated sets of melodic patterns. All of these ringing methods are still done today—right here in Chicago. During our tour, we’ll explore bells that function as signals and music, tapping into our shared centuries-old traditions that thrive today.

By RSVPing for, and participating in, any Chicago Bell Advocates event, you waive your right to hold Chicago Bell Advocates liable for any injuries sustained on the tour, and agree to be photographed. Read full liability statement and waiver.