University carillonneur speaks about Pat Neff tradition

Christina Soto | Broadcast Reporter

Pat Neff has been a symbol of Baylor for years. The gold-plated dome is an icon for the university. As you’re walking around campus, you’ll be able to hear the chimes that have been considered a tradition for many years now.

In the late 1980s, the bells needed to be replaced and a committee was formed to get funding for new bells. Drayton McLane heard about the issue and his family donated the entire carillon to Baylor. The carillon was the first gift Baylor received from the McLane family.

“He and his family gave the entire instrument because the chimes had meant so much to him as a student here at Baylor that he missed them and he wanted us to continue the tradition,” said Lynette Geary, university carillonneur.

Many students have wondered who is the face behind the chimes. Geary is a Baylor alumna who has worked at Baylor for 39 years. After Herbert Colbin, the first carillonneur at Baylor retired in 2006, she has served as the university carillonneur.

“His story was is very similar to every carillonneur I know — including me. You heard the bells and you just had to learn to do that,” Geary said.

Geary said that she first fell in love with carillon on her visit to St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Waco.

“A lady was playing this thing I have never seen before and I thought it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen,” Geary said.

Geary said she enjoys playing the carillon at Baylor because she feels it’s her way of giving back.

“People can’t see you and so it is very important that you play musically so that it communicates something to your audience or people just passing by. I love this place and it’s something I can do for her,” Geary said.

Geary is able to teach one to two students each semester to play the carillon. She is hoping to ignite passion in her students to play the carillon the way her mentors did for her.