On October 1, 2018 the Cleveland Italian-American Heritage Committee held a ceremony at Cleveland City Hall to open Italian-American Heritage Month. Among this year’s honorees was George Leggiero, Covenant and University Circle Carillonneur. This was in recognition of his contributions to the Cleveland Music scene including his forty-five years as carillonneur at the Alexander McGaffin Memorial Carillon. Attending the ceremony were FMC donors and Board Members including Denise Horstman, Rod Keen, David Osburn, and Paul and Kate Williams. See photos and videos from the event.
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.
PROVIDING A CAMPUS SOUNDTRACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.