Bells to ring in homecoming

The McLane Carillon bells located in the top of Pat Neff Hall will ring out at 5 p.m. today in celebration of Baylor’s homecoming.  (Lariat File Photo)
The McLane Carillon bells located in the top of Pat Neff Hall will ring out at 5 p.m. today in celebration of Baylor’s homecoming. (Lariat File Photo)
By Paula Ann Solis
Staff Writer

As Baylor Bears stomp back into town for the oldest homecoming traditions in the nation, they will be marching to beat of the – bells?

The McLane Carillon bells of Pat Neff Hall Tower will ring out as part of the annual Homecoming Recital at 5 p.m. today. The performance is free and open to the public.

The recital can be best heard and enjoyed by bringing a lawn chair or blanket and sitting on the grass of Founders Mall with some snacks and drinks in hand, said Baylor alumna and university Carillonneur (pronounced CARE-uh-lahn-oo-er) Lynette Geary.

Geary said these homecoming recitals have been a tradition on Baylor’s campus since the Drayton McLane family donated the 48-bell carillon to Baylor in 1988. Geary said she has participated in the recital for the past 17 years.

The recital will open with “Doxology,” arranged by Baylor’s first carillon performer, the late Dr. Herbert Colvin, a Welsh tune “Men of Harlech,” Claude Debussy’s “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” “Toccata No. 10” by Johan Franco, a Yiddish folk melody “Tumbalalaika” and “Sarabande for Twenty-Six Bells” by John Courter.

“Men of Harlech’ is a march,” Geary said. “It is just this great rousing piece and it always, when I hear it, makes me think of the Bears marching into town.”

It is a fitting tune certainly as Baylor Bears return to Waco from around the nation for homecoming. The recital is expected to last between 20 and 30 minutes, which will leave plenty of time for those also planning to attend the homecoming extravaganza/bonfire at 6 p.m. today on Fountain Mall.

“The performance is just a nice mix of styles and it is not heavily academic,” Geary said. “It is a lighter and less formal recital.”

The final songs will be some classic Baylor favorites, “Saints Fight,” “Old Fight” and “That Good Old Baylor Line.” Herbert arranged all three for the carillon.

In the event of rain, Geary said the recital can still be enjoyed by standing under the walkway of Draper Academic Building. Printed programs will be handed out before the performance.

Homecoming guests will also have the chance to enjoy a performance by prominent carillonneur Karel Keldermans at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, also outside of Pat Neff Hall, serving as an additional treat for those that have trekked back to Waco.

Keldermans has served as the carillonneur for Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., for 13 years, has played in concerts around the world and is the former president of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, according to the Missouri State University website.

“He is absolutely fabulous and just wonderful,” Geary said. “Anybody who comes to hear him will be glad that they did.”

The performance by Keldermans will also be free, open to the public and can be enjoyed by sitting on the Fountain Mall lawn. His pieces will include “Chant and Jubilation,” “Romance,” “Waltz,” “Ballade Mistral” and “Concerto.” The performance is expected to run between 40 and 50 minutes.

For more information, call the Baylor University School of Music at 710-3991.