Royal Eijsbouts, 2005


A carillon is a musical instrument composed of at least 23 bells, so tuned as to produce concordant harmony when many bells are sounded together. It is played from a keyboard that allows expression through variation of touch. The keys are struck with the half-closed hand. In addition, the larger bells are connected to pedals (keys played with the feet).

Although bells were first made during the Bronze Age, it was not until the 15th century that Flemish bell founders discovered the process of accurately tuning the bells. The art of making carillon bells almost died out by the 19th century. It is only in the 20th century that carillon bell founding was revived.

The world's greatest concentration of carillon is still in the Low Countries of Europe (Belgium, The Netherlands, northern France and northwest Germany). The art of the carillon has spread world wide, however, with instruments on every continent except Antarctica. Nearly 200 exist in North America, 13 of which are in Michigan. It is unusual to find 3 in such a small area as Bloomfield Hills.

Our Carillon and tower are the gift of the late Wilda King Tiffany. St. Hugo of the Hills Church's 100-foot bell tower houses a 48-bell carillon, which was made by Royal Eijsbouts of Asten, The Netherlands. The bell profile is inspired by that of Pieter and Francois Hemony, 17th century founders whose bells are considered to have an especially beautiful tonal quality. The profile was somewhat modified to allow for equal-temperament tuning. In addition to the main playing keyboard, in a small room 57 steps from the ground level. A computer-based interface allows for various automatic playback functions, as well as recording from the practice keyboard.

Groundbreaking for the tower was on July 12, 2004, the day of Mrs. Tiffany's funeral. The bells were blessed by Msgr. Anthony Tocco, Pastor of St. Hugo's, in November, 2004.

On July 10, 2005 the Carillon Tower Dedication & Recital took place. Milford Myhre, Carillonneur Emeritus, was the recitalist. This beautiful Carillon Tower has been given to the parishioners of St. Hugo's through the generosity and love of Wilda King Tiffany.

The consultant for the carillon was Patrick Macoska, Director of Music and Carillonneur at St. Mary's of Redford, Detroit. The architect for the tower was Anthony Gholz of DiClemente Siegel Design, Inc. The tower was constructed by Barton Malow Company.


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