Cleveland Classical's Daniel Hathaway Chats with George Leggiero

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The McGaffin Carillon at 50: a chat with carillonneur George Leggiero

by Daniel Hathaway

As a high school student, George Leggiero enjoyed collecting chiming clocks. When he arrived as a freshman at Case Western Reserve University, he couldn’t help but notice the mammoth chiming timepiece in the tower of the Church of the Covenant — especially when he moved next door into Mather House for his junior and senior years. “My room overlooked the tower, so you either got to love the bells or you moved,” he said in a telephone conversation.

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George Leggiero highlighted in CWRU Think Magazine

PROVIDING A CAMPUS SOUNDTRACK

 The Bells of the McGaffin Carillon Photo: Nancy Hribar Matz

The Bells of the McGaffin Carillon
Photo: Nancy Hribar Matz

McGaffin Carillon's Pealing Bells Mark 50 Years
Starting in his junior year at Case Western Reserve University, George Leggiero lived in Mather House next to the Church of the Covenant, which rang its 47 carillon bells daily on the quarter hour.
"You either learned to love the bells or you moved," he said.
Leggiero (CIT '72; GRS '77, music) stayed. And decades later, he's still enamored. 
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Ideastream's Carrie Wise spent time at the McGaffin Tower and filed these reports

During the past week or so, Ideastream's Carrie Wise visited the tower several times. She took a lot of video both inside and outside of the tower and interviewed both George Leggiero and Denise Horstman. The result was an audio report that will run on WCPN and WCLV as well as video reports that will run on WVIZ's Applause and IDEAS programs.

Link to Carrie Wise's reports on the Ideastream website

Friends of the McGaffin Carillon Visits the 75 Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America

 The Thomas J. Emery Memorial Carillon, Mariemont, OH

The Thomas J. Emery Memorial Carillon, Mariemont, OH

During the congress we heard 14 carillon concerts on two different instruments and six presentations about carillon, music, and history. There were four Guild business meetings. We attended evensong at an Episcopal convent and a duo organ concert at a church in Cincinnati. During a trip to a bell foundry watched a bell being cast. 

Covenant and University Circle Carillonneur, George Leggiero with Board President, Denise Horstman, and Board Member and frequent guest carillonneur, David Osburn, attended the annual congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. The congress took place in Mariemont Ohio June 18-22, 2017. We also visited carillons Dayton and Cincinnati. 

 David Osburn, Denise Horstman, and George Leggiero. 

David Osburn, Denise Horstman, and George Leggiero. 

 The Deeds Memorial Carillon, Dayton, Ohio

The Deeds Memorial Carillon, Dayton, Ohio

 Sister Jacquiline welcomed us and told us about the history of the order and the chapel. Later we joined the sisters for evensong. 

Sister Jacquiline welcomed us and told us about the history of the order and the chapel. Later we joined the sisters for evensong. 

 The impressive 175th anniversary bell designed and cast by Verdin. 

The impressive 175th anniversary bell designed and cast by Verdin. 

 Preparing the mold for the new bell.

Preparing the mold for the new bell.

Wednesday was a day with four concerts, four presentations, and a business meeting. We learned about discoveries in the Guild Archives and about the discovery of carillon music composed by Gian Carlo Menotti and Rosario Scalero. We also heard the prize winning compositions in the Guild's Johan Franco Composition Competition. 

Tuesday we traveled to Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio to hear several concerts on the fine carillon there and to tour the grounds. The museum chronicles the impressive history of the creativity and milestones in Dayton history. After lunch and concerts we boarded busses to visit the chapel of the Episcopal Convent of the Transfiguration in Glendale, Ohio. 

 The Chapel of the Transfiguration, Glendale, Ohio. Ralph Adams Cram, architect, the same man who designed the McGaffin Tower..

The Chapel of the Transfiguration, Glendale, Ohio. Ralph Adams Cram, architect, the same man who designed the McGaffin Tower..

After evensong, we bussed into Cincinnati where we visited the Verdin Company who  were celebrating their 175 years of casting bells. After a "Taste of Cincinnati" dinner, we toured the factory and watched the casting of a bell on the company's mobile foundry. 

 The Verdin Mobile Foundry

The Verdin Mobile Foundry

 The bronze reaches 2000 degrees F and is ready to be cast into a new bell.

The bronze reaches 2000 degrees F and is ready to be cast into a new bell.

 The molten bronze is poured into the mold. The mold will be opened in a few days. 

The molten bronze is poured into the mold. The mold will be opened in a few days. 

Leon Bibb Visits The McGaffin Tower

Leon Bibb spent a recent afternoon at the tower with his videographer and producer. He was inspired to include the tower as one of his "My Ohio" segments on Cleveland's WEWS Channel 5.

 
 Leon Bibb visits The McGaffin Tower and Carillon as one of his "My Ohio" segments

Leon Bibb visits The McGaffin Tower and Carillon as one of his "My Ohio" segments

CLEVELAND - "When do the bells ring for me," sings the great American singer Tony Bennett.  He is among my favorite singers.  I thought of him when I heard bells ringing in University Circle.  But the bells reverberated not only for me, but for thousands of other people who were within earshot of 47 bells being played at the highest point of Church of the Covenant, an iconic building in the area.

Ringing the bells was George Leggiero, Covenant and University Circle Carillonneur........

Click here or image above to read the entire story and view his 5 1/2 minute view of the tower.