Carillon Profile: Massey/Drury Memorial Carillon

November 19, 2022
Rededication ceremony
Rev. Jason Meyers presides over the rededication ceremony. Credit Joan Shaw.

Carillon Profile: Massey/Drury Memorial Carillon

Metropolitan United Church of Toronto, Canada

The Massey/Drury Memorial Carillon of Metropolitan United Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has undergone a renovation for the 100th anniversary of its installation. When the original 23-bell carillon was installed in 1922, it was the first modern carillon in North America, starting a wave of post-World War I installations on the continent. The initial 23 bells were cast by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon, England. Twelve more mid-range bells were added in 1960, cast by Petit & Fritsen of Aarle-Rixtel, the Netherlands. In 1972, 19 more bells were added at the top range, cast by Paccard of Annecy, France, bringing the total number of bells to 54.

The initial 23 bells were a memorial gift from Chester D. Massey in honor of his wife, while the second set of bells was donated by Dr. Charles Drury. The Massey foundation donated the third set of bells.

The recent renovation work on the carillon was performed by Meeks, Watson & Company of Georgetown, Ohio. All the bells from the three founders remain, although the Petit & Fritsen bells have been retuned to ring more harmoniously with the others. Other improvements include a new keyboard, new transmission system, new bell frame, new clappers and headpieces, and the relocation of the Paccard bells to a position for better sound egress and playability from the keyboard.

The renovated carillon was rededicated on October 16. Before the Sunday morning service, Roy Lee, Metropolitan’s carillonneur since 2016, performed a 30-minute recital. After the service, Rev. Jason Meyers presided over the rededication ceremony, and carillonneur Margaret Pan performed a short rededication recital, premiering Bells United by Naoko Tsujita, which was commissioned for the occasion. On October 15, special events were held for 29 local and guest carillonists, including two recitals, four presentations, and two masterclass sessions led by Margaret Pan.

Roy Lee performs Sunday mornings before the worship service, while occasionally these preludes are played by other local performers and guest recitalists. A summer series of three recitals is held in June, resuming in 2023.

—Kimberly Schafer, PhD, Carillonist and campanologist, Chicago, Illinois

sites.google.com/metunited.ca/metcarillon100/carillon

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