The Smith Chapel’s bell tower contains the forty-eight-bell Floyd and Juanita Smith Carillon. The bells were installed in April 2002.
The largest of the forty-eight bells weighs 1,344 pounds and has a forty-inch diameter at the mouth of the bell. The smallest weighs fifteen and one-quarter pounds and measures six and five-eighths inches in diameter at the mouth.
The carillon bells are hung “dead” in a steel framework; that is, they are not swung by a wheel and rope when played. The clappers are brought to the bells using levers, a system of counterbalanced transmission bars. In a small room below the carillon is the hand clavier, a mechanism connected directly with the clappers. The bells are played from this manual in the chapel’s tower room, which is accessed through the chapel coordinator’s office. A practice clavier is located in the conference room.
The carillon bells were cast by Meeks, Watson, and Company, bell founders located in Georgetown, Ohio. The bells are made from “bell metal,” a bronze consisting of eighty percent copper and twenty percent tin. The same alloy has been used for carillon bells since the 1600s.
Most of the music published for the carillon can be played on forty-eight bells, or four octaves. A forty-eight bell carillon permits teaching and practice of almost the entire literature of carillon music.
If you look closely, you will see that the Floyd and Juanita Smith Carillon was constructed separately from the chapel itself. At the base of the carillon tower is the dedication chapel, an area designed for quiet personal contemplation and prayer.
One of the granite wall panels in the dedication chapel lists the names of all people who have given gifts of property to Penn State Behrend.
Smith Carillon Concert Series
Check back for 2019 Schedule.
All concerts begin at 7:00 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Free hot dogs and snacks will be served during the performances.
Seating for the Smith Carillon Concert Series is on the lawn of Smith Chapel; audience members are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets. In the event of rain, seating will be offered inside the chapel.