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Former Carillonneur Back on Campus


Guest Carillonneur Margo Halsted to Play March 7 in Honor of Founding Faculty Member William H. Reynolds

Annual Concert Honors William Reynolds, the Professor Who Guided the Installation of the Carillon, dedicated in 1966

(February 13, 2004)

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William Reynolds inspects the carillon keyboard at the French foundryEnlarge

William Reynolds inspects the carillon keyboard at the French foundry

RIVERSIDE, CA (www.ucr.edu) — Margo Halsted, professor and carillonneur emeritus of the University of Michigan and the UC Riverside carillonneur from 1977-1987, will perform the annual William H. Reynolds Memorial Carillon Recital at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 7.

The free concert is especially meaningful this year, the 50th anniversary of the campus' first classes on Feb. 16, 1954. Reynolds was a Professor of Music at UC Riverside from 1954 until his death in 1995. He served as the musical advisor for the installation of the carillon, a 48-bell instrument with bells forged in the Paccard Foundry in France.

The concert will last about one hour and will include original music for carillon, transcriptions of familiar music written for other instruments, and arrangements of show tunes and folk melodies. Composers include Rodrigo (Theme from "Concierto de Aranjuez"), Albeniz (Prelude from "Cantos de Espana"), Charmichael ("Star Dust"), Loewe (songs from "My Fair Lady"), Cohan ("You're a Grand Old Flag") and others.

Margo Halsted will greet listeners at the bottom of the tower following the recital. At that time, those in the audience who wish will be able to tour the playing room and see the bells.

William H. Reynolds served as professor and chair of the UC Riverside, Department of Music and Associate Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. In 1964, Reynolds was appointed musical advisor to select a suitable carillon for the campus. He chose bells to be made by the Paccard Foundry of France. The 48 bells in the bell tower are considered some of the finest in the world. The largest bell weighs almost two and one half tons. All the bells are played from a keyboard in a room atop the tower. The tower and bells were the donation of Philip and Dorothy Boyd, long-time University supporters.

Margo Halsted has been active in the carillon world for the past 40 years. Her carillon positions have been at Stanford University, the University of California, Riverside, the University of California, Santa Barbara (sabbatical visiting appointment), Michigan State University, and, for the past 16 years up to her retirement, the University of Michigan. Under her supervision, the University of Michigan had the only carillon masters degree program in the country.

Halsted has received many honors over the years. She was awarded the UC, Berkeley, Medal for service to the carillon art and she has been honored by the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America with the organization's Certificate of Extraordinary Service. The World Carillon Federation cited her for research and publications of early carillon manuscripts and for her encouragement of fine new instruments in the United States. She has served as a consultant for 20 different bell installations and renovations. She was a finalist in the only carillon performance competition for North Americans. Five of her carillon compositions have been published.

However, Halsted's greatest joy has been teaching students to play and love the carillon. Twenty-nine of her students have passed the exam to become full members of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and quite a few hold carillon positions at prestigious institutions.

Halsted said that she is greatly pleased to play a recital honoring Bill Reynolds. "Professor Reynolds was a great supporter of the carillon and a wonderful friend and tennis buddy. I feel honored to be asked to play a special recital in his memory. I also look forward to renewing friendships with former colleagues and old friends after the recital."

David Christensen is the present UC Riverside carillonneur. Parking on campus costs $4 and permits are available at dispensers in Lot 2

Margo HalstedEnlarge

Margo Halsted

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