Ringing the Williams Bells

Ringing the Williams Bells

This May, senior Will Slack climbed into Thompson Memorial Chapel’s tower to take the helm at the chimes for his farewell recital. Listen to the entire concert in (reasonably) high fidelity below. (It starts about 20 seconds into the recording.)

Slack (who hails from Decatur, Ga.) played pieces by Talcott Banks, George Alfred Grant-Shaefer, George Harrison, Robert Wadsworth Lowry, Richard Rodgers, and Howard Shore, as well as some of his own original compositions. Students, staff, and faculty enjoyed the concert from picnic tables, dorms, and offices across campus.

During his years at Williams, Slack had served as a leading figure for the Guild of Carilloneurs, a campus organization that ensures the chapel’s bells are played three times a day and on relevant special occasions. Slack and the other ringers use the Thompson bells to play everything from “The Mountains” to the Harry Potter theme music.

While the Thompson Memorial Chapel tower is one of the most recognizable figures of the Williams campus landscape, its bells are undoubtedly a staple in its soundtrack. To see a section of Slack’s performance and an inside look at the chapel’s chimes, watch the video below. To learn more about Williams bells and their ringers, read this 2005 Alumni Review article.