AllChimes.org ..... All Tower Bells ..... Chimes our specialty.
Letter sent to Philadelphia Chimers and other installations on July 11, 2011
Please make copies for the Pastor, Music Director and all Bell Chimers. July 2011
After visiting over 300 chime towers, maybe you don't see it, but I see the value of starting a formal chimers organization. Chiming or hosting a chime tower is of unique historical value. WHAT AN HISTORICAL CRIME IT WOULD BE to let a century or two of this unique art eventually fade away.
As a North American chime historian going on 19 years and both of us being chimers, Gayle and I visited 10 Philadelphia bell towers in June. My previous visit was back in 1994. The bell landscape in the Philadelphia area has almost every variation of bell tower inhabitant ever made IN THE WORLD, including chimes.
There are guilds of change ringers (NAGCR.ORG) and carilloneurs (GCNA.ORG) nationwide and worldwide, but none of chimers. ALLCHIMES.ORG is a result of historical research.
We would like to see Philadelphia area chimers form a roaming band which might eventually play most all of the local chimes. You might well model yourselves after the change ringing bands of the world.
North American Guild of Chimers (NAGCH.ORG) is a suggestion that is not used.
Some of these institutions already have chimers, so it would just be a matter of those who choose to band together, familiarize themselves with other towers and become a rather satisfying collegial group. An added attraction and incentive is playing wildly different physical instruments 100-250 years old, sometimes using unique musical notations that were developed so that most anyone could play them.
You have European style chimes which were used to play simple hymns to the American style which were expanded to play more complex hymns and secular tunes.
These bell towers are now in various conditions. Some are not regularly used, owing to being an institutional instrument, where people might no longer exist who could play them.
Today's thinking is that there are MANY people, if they knew about them, would love to play these instruments that the institution so thoughtfully provided for the benefit of those who could hear them.
It is long overdue that fellow chimers form our own North American Chimers Guild.
“Let's do it”. By e-mail, cell phone and another visit in September. Let's see if it makes sense!!!
This idea has been talked about for years. PLEASE, let us hear back from you.
Joe Connors and Gayle Q. Walrath