The Middlebury College
Summer Carillon Series

The Carillon Series treats audiences to free performances on Friday evenings at 5:00 P.M. from early July through mid-August, in and around Mead Memorial Chapel. Each year, musicians from around the world come to Middlebury to perform in the Chapel’s bell tower high above the College campus. All of the concerts are free and open to the public, and can be enjoyed inside Mead Chapel or on the surrounding lawns.

30th Annual Summer Carillon Series 

The 2015 Summer Carillon Concert season features a fine group of musicians, performing from the soaring tower of Mead Chapel. The melodic sounds of the carillon bells are a staple of summer life on the Middlebury campus. Free


July 3, Friday

George Matthew Jr., carillon

5:00 PM, Mead Chapel and surrounding lawns

Mr. Matthew is Carillonneur at Middlebury College and Norwich University.  Free


July 10, Friday

Gordon Slater, carillon

5:00 PM, Mead Chapel and surrounding lawns

Mr. Slater is Canadian Dominion Carillonneur Emeritus. Free 


July 15, Wednesday*

George Matthew Jr., carillon

5:00 PM, Mead Chapel and surrounding lawns

Middlebury College carillonneur George Matthew Jr. will perform a special All-Beethoven program to help kick-off the Language School's Centennial celebration. Free

July 17, Friday

John Widmann, carillon

5:00 PM, Mead Chapel and surrounding lawns

Mr. Widmann is Municipal Carillonneur, Frederick, Maryland. Free 


July 24, Friday

Sergei Gratchev, carillon

5:00 PM, Mead Chapel and surrounding lawns

Mr. Gratchev is Instructor and Carillonneur in Hulst, Netherlands, and at the Middlebury Summer Russian School. Free 


July 31, Friday

Elena Sadina, carillon

5:00 PM, Mead Chapel and surrounding lawns

Ms. Sadina is an instructor at the Middlebury College Language Schools and the Royal Carillon School, Mechelen, Belgium. Free


August 7, Friday

Tatiana Lukyanova, carillon

5:00 PM, Mead Chapel and surrounding lawns

Ms. Lukyanova, a former Instructor at the Royal Belgian Carillon School and St. Petersburg Conservatory, is now carillonneur at the First Church of Christ Congregational in New Britain, CT. Free 


August 14, Friday

Commencement Prelude
George Matthew Jr.

4:00 PM, Mead Chapel and surrounding lawns

Middlebury College carillonneur George Matthew Jr. will announce the start of Middlebury's Language School commencement procession. Free

About Middlebury's Carillon

  • A carillon is set up like a keyboard, with black and white keys and foot pedals that can help produce different kinds of sound. Each key is connected by wire to a bell clapper so different bells are rung depending on which key is struck.
  • It is a 75-step climb up to Middlebury's bell tower, atop Mead Memorial Chapel. The Middlebury Carillon is considered a traditional carillon of 48 bells.
  • The pitch of Middlebury's heaviest bell is E in the middle octave. It is a 2,300-pound bell; roughly the same weight as the Liberty Bell.
  • In 1915, the instrument was begun with eleven bells by the Meneely bellfoundry in Watervliet, NY. Nine bells remain from that work.
  • In 1986, the instrument was enlarged to its present size with bells made by Paccard-Fonderie des Cloches in Annecy, France. The enhanced carillon was presented as a gift from then Chairman of the Board of Trustees Allen Dragone '50 (and his wife Jane) in 1986. 27 bells remain from that work.
  • In 2001, 12 bells were recast or replaced in 2001 by Meeks & Watson of Georgetown, OH.
  • bells-2The bell on the left of this picture of Middlebury's carillon is inscribed with the following quote by Lord Alfred Tennyson: “Ring in the valiant man and free the larger heart, the kindlier hand! Ring out the darkness of the land, ring in the Christ that is to be!”
  • Learn more about our college carillonneur, George Matthew Jr.





Ringing in the New Year

September 4, 2013
6:15 p.m.
September 13, 2013
5:45 p.m.
Mead Memorial Chapel

George Matthew, Jr, Middlebury College’s Carillonneur, will again be performing a Carillon Prelude to the Erev Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre High Holiday Services on Wednesday evening, September 4 and Friday evening, September 13. 

Each  program will start about 45 minutes before the service and end about five minutes before the service begins.  The Carillon is best heard on the lawns surrounding the chapel.




Carillon Concert in Honor of the People of Japan

Monday, March 21, 2011

6:00 p.m.

On Monday, March 21st, at 6:00 p.m. Middlebury College Carillonneur George Matthew Jr. will perform a carillon concert of Japanese music in Mead Chapel in honor of the people of Japan.  The bells will be heard ringing across the campus, and our community is encouraged to pause for a moment of reflection and prayer.

Please click here for more information on other campus activities related to Japanese disaster support.


Private Music Lessons

Fall 2015 Private Music Lessons
Online registration: September 15-19

Lessons begin: September 21




Bagpipes and Celtic Whistle,
Irish and Scottish Harp

Timothy Cummings, bagpipes,
Irish whistle

Dominique Dodge, Celtic harp


Russ Lawton, drums

Fiddle, Banjo,
Beginning Mandolin

Peter Sutherland


Paul Asbell,
acoustic/electric guitar

Dayve Huckett, acoustic/electric
guitar and ukulele

Eric Despard, classical guitar


Mark Lavoie, harmonica

Piano, Harpsichord,
and Organ

Sadie Brightman, piano

Diana Fanning, piano

Emory Fanning, organ

Dick Forman, jazz piano

Cynthia Huard, piano, harpsichord

Natasha Koval Paden, piano




Paul Reynolds, viola

Katherine Winterstein, violin

Dieuwke Davydov, cello

Glendon Ingalls, bass


Carol Christensen

Dick Forman, jazz voice

Susanne Peck

Beth Thompson

Winds, horns and reeds

Miles Donahue, saxophone

Mia Fritze,
french horn

Dan Frostman, oboe

Glendon Ingalls, trumpet

Bear Irwin, trombone

Anne Janson, flute

Steven Klimowski, clarinet

The History of Mead Memorial Chapel


This beautiful white marble structure rises on the highest point of the campus, its spire symbolizing the aspirations of the College. The light which shines here nightly is seen in the entire valley. Over the portal are carved the words from Psalm 95:4, "The Strength of the Hills is His Also."

When John Thomas became president in 1908, the chapel room in Old Chapel had become inadequate and unattractive. Other needs had to come first, but in 1914 Thomas persuaded Dr. John A. Mead '64, to contribute up to $60,000 for a new chapel. Mead was a Rutland, Vt., physician and industrialist, a former Governor of Vermont, and College Trustee. When his gift proved to be insufficient for a marble structure, Mead and his wife later contributed another $15,000, which also covered the cost of a chime of eleven bells in the tower. Even then, the rear or west end of the chapel had to be constructed of wood. As Mead requested, the chapel was located on the high point of land, and became the center of the west side of the new campus quadrangle.

The style of architecture was a matter of controversy, which ended in compromise. The floor plan follows the New England meeting-house style, with the door at the front end. The façade is a Greek Revival temple colonnade of marble; the doors and the windows in the marble sides are Georgian; the spire is Federal. The interior is a tasteful Georgian- inspired panelled sanctuary in stained wood.

The chapel services were then an essential part of the students' day. They were held at 10:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and served as a general College meeting. Attendance was taken by monitors, with penalties for more than three absences per semester. Men sat on one side of the aisle, women on the other, no mixing. Official and student notices for the day were read by the senior class president. President Moody or some senior faculty member presided. The service consisted of two hymns, scripture reading, prayer, and a five-minute talk. Sunday Vespers were held at 5:00 p.m., attendance also required unless excused to attend church in the village. A visiting clergyman usually preached. During the 1920's and 1930's, the chapel added greatly to the cohesiveness of the College as "I'll meet you on chapel steps" served as a way of confirming an engagement.

As the College grew, changes were inevitable. The balconies were added in 1938, increasing the seating capacity to 715. The war years and the presence of the Navy V-12 Unit changed the schedules. By 1950, with the student population approaching 1200, attendance was required of only half the College one day a week on an alternating basis. Occasional "Assemblies" on academic business required attendance on Friday or Saturday. All requirements have now been dropped.

An altar replaced the original armchairs at the back of the chancel in 1952. The little Sunderland Chapel was created at the right, and is used for small prayer meetings. The original organ was replaced in 1971 by the large Gress-Miles organ. The tower now holds a wonderful 48-bell carillon, gift in 1986 of Allen Dragone '50 and his wife Jane, cast and tuned in France from the original bells and other sets. It is played regularly in the late afternoon. 

Beginning in 1937, a Chaplain was appointed to lead the chapel services, organize the Sunday Vespers with their visiting clergymen, and encourage the religious life of the College. The Rev. Charles Scott served with distinction from 1951 to 1986. The current chaplain, the Rev. Laurel Jordan, began her duties in 1996.  Rabbi Ira Schiffer was appointed Associate Chaplain in 2001.

Mead front with students

Mead Memorial Chapel is still the center of great activity. The academic year is framed by Convocation in September and Baccalaureate in May. Though its origins lay in the Protestant tradition, the College now welcomes students of all religious faiths and from all parts of the globe. The Chaplain's Office sponsors worship services, dinners, lectures and other events. Newman, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Hillel, the Islamic Society are among the many student religious organizations that are active on campus. The College Choir and the Chamber Choir present a broad repertory of sacred and secular music throughout the year. The Chapel also hosts lectures, concerts, and other major public events. It continues to serve, despite changing times, as the place where the College community comes together on occasions of significance.