YMCA Carillon

For those who have been following this blog, you might remember that on Sundays we take students to play the carillon which is located in the top of the YMCA tower. It is located on David Street directly across from the King David Hotel. Every time we go, we enjoy ourselves immensely and those who come along say that it is such a fun experience. When I have encouraged students to come and I get the comment, "I don't read music," I always tell them they will not be sorry. And . . I have yet to hear anyone who has gone that thinks it was a waste of their time. As long as they can count, it is possible to play the carillon. We ring in the hour at 11 AM and then the students practice an assortment of easy solos. These are photos from the past few trips on Sunday.


Photo: Driving to the carillon. It is the tall tower with the rounded top.

We park our car and walk through this outdoor hallway and continue walking past this outdoor restaurant at the hotel.


When we arrived on Sunday, the students were just walking up to the YMCA and Garth was there to greet them. It is a 30 minute walk from the Jerusalem Center but this group arrived early.



This is the lobby inside. Surprised? We certainly were the first time we walked in. The YMCA is actually a very lovely hotel.

I love this stained glass window in the lobby.
To get to the carillon, there is a very narrow stairwell that winds up 142 steps to the level where the carillon is located.
To view the bells, you must climb many more stairs to the top where they are located and also a nice place to view the city. Two weeks ago we found another doorway which led up two more levels of stairs to the very top of the dome where we found a small chapel. It was beautiful!

Photo: New students this semester.

Photo: Stairwell down to the 5th level where the carillon is located.
View from the level where the bells are located. This past week a dignitary told me that soon a huge renovation project is planned to upgrade the carillon.


It is always fun to take photos on the stairwell by the bells.

Now it's time to play the carillon. There is a practice carillon in the same room so students are able to practice their music before is is broadcast; after a couple of times to rehearse, the pressure is on to play. However, this photo is not the practice carillon but the one that broadcasts all over the city. Notice there are foot pedals. These also ring lower bells.


The carillon has levers you push rather than keys to ring the bells. Each lever has a letter name on it but if you have perfect pitch, you can't listen to what is ringing because the sound that rings is a minor 3rd higher. This completely discombobulates me so I cannot listen to what I am hearing and have to concentrate on looking at letter names rather than music notes on the paper.


A couple of weeks ago when we had no students at the Jerusalem Center, Professor Muhlestein's family came and we had a blast! Julianne's parents, sister and husband were visiting so they brought them along too. As Julianne's family was leaving for the airport, her sister said that playing the carillon was one of the highlights of their trip!

Photo: We did it!! Give me five!

Photo: The whole Muhlestein gang. The Jerusalem students were anxious to play and here are some photos from our Sunday visits.

Photo: I am ringing in the hour and each student is getting to take a turn as we count eleven bongs.



To help the students build their confidence, we have one person play the melody and the other plays the left hand. Cody and Nate have a musical background so they were more confident than the others and did a great job without practice.


It is always fun to know the students were successful in their efforts to play and this is an experience I am sure they will never forget.


Photo: Courtney and Kat, new students this semester.

Photo: Dane and Austin.


After everyone had a chance to play and we had rung in the hour at noon, we went downstairs to the basement where there is a little chapel. The acoustics were so nice that the students wanted to stay a while a sing a few songs. Because most of them were from the choir, their singing was beautiful.



After we finished, we headed back up to the first level through a small arched doorway and the students were off with their sack lunches to explore the city for the rest of the afternoon. Garth and I were headed back to the Jerusalem Center to prepare for the Sunday night concert.



One more wonderful day in Jerusalem!