Church plans to hold concert with restored bellsWritten by Sanya Ali | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The music of the Trinity Episcopal Church bells will soon fill its plaza Downtown once again. The church plans to hold a concert using its restored bells at 4:30 p.m. June 1.
“I think it’s great to have them again as part of the soundscape of the city of Toledo,” Rev. Elizabeth Hoster of Trinity said.
Downtown Toledo residents in the 1940s knew the sound of Trinity. The song of the Gardner Chime, a fixture of the church, was familiar and frequent.
From the mid-1980s onward, the bells became quiet. The operating system became obsolete and the church could not fund the repairs alone.
“The electronic system became outmoded to the place where you couldn’t even replace the parts, so they just sort of fell silent,” Wayne North said.
In December 2012, North, a local veterinarian, decided to take action. He started a campaign to restore the bells and bring music back to the Trinity Plaza. His goal was to raise $50,000.
The church received donations to repair the bells almost immediately. In eight months, the $50,000 goal was surpassed. During the fall of 2013, the new bells sounded for the first time. Currently, the bells only ring at each hour with occasional musical interludes.
The new bells come equipped with an updated keyboard. With this, musicians can play them as an instrument live and record songs for future playback.
Kipp Cortez, a graduate student instructor in carillon from The University of Michigan, will play the bells on June 1. Anyone interested can listen for free from Adams Street or the Trinity Plaza.
“We’re starting at 3:30 p.m. with an informal reception on the plaza of Trinity Church for church members and people who were donors,” North said. “Then, at 4:30 the concert will start. We have hired Kipp Cortez to come and play the bells. He’ll be playing from a keyboard which will be inside the main entrance, but the place to listen to them from is the outside.”
The bells themselves are massive in size and North said even the smallest hammer weighs around 175 pounds.
“There’s 9.6 tons of bells, the largest is 4,800 pounds down to the smallest which is 200 to 300 pounds,” North said. “They hang on the bell rack that sits inside the Trinity Tower.”
The history of the Gardner Chime dates back to donor Ellen Gardner, who gave the bells to the church in 1941.
“Ms. Gardner actually was raised in a home on the corner of Madison and Superior where the current Gardner Building stands,” North said. “So I’m sure that her intent was to put these bells up for enjoyment of the people of Toledo.”