Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Ringing the Changes Church Gets Electronic Carillon

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Ringing the Changes Church Gets Electronic Carillon

Article excerpt

Jeff Senesmeier has been hearing bells for weeks. He's been spending most of his free time at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Darmstadt, Ind., programming its new electronic carillon, running wires through its floors, walls and out the roof, reading the manual and teaching himself how to play the electronic bells.

Traditional carillons are formed of a tower of bells of different sizes.

The electronic carillon replicates the sound of eight different cast iron bells and without a single moving part and takes up no more than two feet of space in the church.

"It's something that I am no expert at," Senesmeier said. "It's been a learn-asyou-do experience, and I still have a lot of learning to do. Every day I'm amazed by what this little machine can do. The possibilities are great and it's a big upgrade from our previous bell."

The carillon is taking over the duty of alerting Darmstadt of the time every hour, and calling them to worship when the church meets. Every hour from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. the carillon will play through four speakers stationed in the steeple of the church. It will play the Westminster Hymn followed by a steady number of rings signifying the time of day.

The carillon isn't only limited to the sound of eight cast iron bells. It can also play hymns and songs, harp bells, and replicate the sound of rifles and bagpipes. Altogether it has 289 songs already programmed into it. It can add any song that can be played on the electric keyboard that can be plugged into the machine.

"The possibilities are nearly endless," Senesmeier said. "It can play anything from a simple chime of a bell to the complete 'Star Wars' theme."

The carillon doesn't need an operator to control it every hour; it runs on an autopilot mode that has been programmed by Senesmeier. Unlike a manual carillon, the electronic carillon can be programmed to play a hymn on a certain minute of an hour, on a specific day of the month. …

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