Each day, the bells from the Rocca-Rutman Tower resonate throughout the Lower Quad, but are the bells real or a recording?
“Well I hear them, so I just figure it’s real,” sophomore Margo Westhoven said.
“I would guess it’s a recording because they play the same songs in a different order,” freshman Lauren Crawford said.
The bells are actually programmed on an electronic carillon in a small room on the fourth floor of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library.
Information Resources & Technologies Web administrator Dan Strojny has adopted the role of caretaker since 2003. Although programming the bell tower is not part of his job responsibilities, he enjoys doing it and considers it a hobby.
An electronic carillon takes previously recorded midi files and programs them to play throughout the day.
“In this case they actually recorded a real bell, and the system is playing back a real bell of that note,” Strojny said.
Strojny said the tower has enough room to fit real carillon bells, but the system in place works well, and there are no plans of changing it.
“That would be really nice if we could go down that path one day. Maybe if there is some generous donor who wants to donate the money for the bells,” Strojny said. “This is essentially a cheap alternative to hoisting the bells up into the tower.”
Michael Ewen can be reached at email@example.com.