Ohio’s Majestic Carillon Welcomes a New Musician

by Madonna

Nestled within the serene surroundings of a park stands the remarkable Deeds Carillon, a towering musical instrument with a unique charm. Its entrance, adorned with cast bronze letters spelling out Henry Longfellow’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” serves as a testament to its artistic allure.

Standing at an impressive height of 151 feet, the carillon boasts four sturdy legs that gracefully arch towards the sky, supporting a collection of colossal bells suspended beneath. Among them, the largest bell weighs a staggering 7,000 lbs, adding to the instrument’s grandeur.


Hidden beneath the bells lies a spacious chamber, akin to a studio apartment, where the carillonneur brings the instrument to life. Accessible only by a small, eerie elevator reminiscent of a scene from a horror film, this chamber offers breathtaking views of the city skyline to the north and the tranquil Great Miami River to the south.


Dayton-native Bowman, the carillon’s newly appointed musician, brings a wealth of experience from his years as a church musician in Florida. Inspired by a conversation with Larry Weinstein, Bowman embarked on a journey to Europe to study the art of carillon playing, eventually returning to assume his role as the carillonneur.


Unlike traditional pianos, the carillon features wooden handles, or batons, and floor pedals for playing the bells. Bowman emphasizes the importance of using his feet to play the largest bells, some weighing up to three and a half tons.

As Bowman’s melodies resonate throughout the park, visitors are captivated by the instrument’s majestic sound, often unaware of the skilled musician hidden within. For Larry Weinstein, who has spent decades playing the carillon, it’s a rare opportunity to enjoy its music from the outside.

With approximately 200 carillons across the country, the Deeds Carillon stands out as a unique gem, offering the public a chance to experience its enchanting melodies amidst the tranquility of the park, a true testament to the beauty of music in nature.


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