ALTON, Ill. – The bells have been silenced for now at Gordon Moore Park in Alton. Memorial Day weekend has become the traditional kickoff for carillon season at the Nan Elliott Rose Garden. But concerts are on hold after a storm damaged the instrument’s amplifier.
A carillon is not something you often see or hear inside a city park.
“We have it set up where, every hour on the hour, it plays a song. We also have carillon concerts on Sunday evenings,” said Alton Parks and Recreation Director Michael Haynes.
But in Gordon Moore Park, you‘ll hear it on the golf course or the ball field. It’s a musical instrument consisting of bronze bells in a tower, played using a keyboard. Volunteers bring Alton’s carillon to life throughout the summer.
“A lot of folks look forward to it on Sunday evenings,” Haynes said. “This was supposed to be the first one of the year, but we’ll just have to wait another week or two.”
Alton was forced to cancel Sunday’s first concert of the season after last week’s storms caused a power outage.
“Whenever we got the power up and running again, we noticed the bells weren’t going off,” Haynes said. “Upon further investigation it looked like one of the amplifiers was fried. So we’re in the process of getting a new one.”
He says they have a call in for parts and they hope they comes in soon.
“It might get her later this week, but it might be next week,” Haynes said. “And then we’ll get it installed as soon as possible. There’s limited technicians on this sort of work as well.”
The carillon was purchased in 1982 by Dr. Robert Elliott who donated it to the community, adding it to the rose garden established in honor of his wife.
We’ll have to see if repairs are done for Sunday’s June 5 concert. Alton will post an update on social media. Carillon concerts do run Sundays now through September starting at 5 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy.