High in the Kirk tower is the 77-bell carillon, the world's largest in number of bells (tied with our sister tower, Hyechon College in Korea). The carillon was cast by the 300 year-old royal bellfoundry of Petit and Fritsen, The Netherlands. The instrument was the gift of the Fruehauf family, designed by Dr. Frederick L. Marriott, longtime Kirk organist and carillonneur, and installed in 1960. The largest bell, the Bourdon, is 6' 10" in diameter and weighs over six tons, and the smallest is only 6" in diameter and weighs fourteen pounds. While thirty-six of the bells may be played electrically (and therefore without dynamic nuance) from the sanctuary organ console, the full 77 bell compass is playable only (with dynamic nuance) from a mechanical keyboard called a clavier, located in a cabin in the belfry. Five of the large bells (G, B, D, E and G) form a peal which swing freely; these five also sound in combination each quarter hour as directed by the instrument's computerized clock mechanism.
Midway up the tower is the Marriott Library, which serves as both a repository of Dr. Marriott's music library and his many compositions (including his works for carillon) as well as the home to a practice clavier of the same design as the carillon's clavier.
The instrument is normally played each Sunday before worship, for recitals on Sundays after worship (during the Summer Carillon Series featuring carillonneurs from around the world), before other concerts during the year, and frequently for weddings. Tours of the tower can be scheduled by calling (248) 973-8018.
2018 Summer Carillon Series Schedule Coming Soon!