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UNI’s Guild of Carillonneurs playing daily concerts during pandemic

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) – These are stressful times for some people, but a group of musicians at the University of Northern Iowa want to help relieve some of that stress with a special kind of concert.

Members of the Guild of Carillonneurs have been putting on daily half-hour concerts since late March per the request of UNI President Mark Nook.

"Music, especially live music, is such an important part of the University of Northern Iowa, so I'm delighted that our students have been able to continue a UNI musical tradition while observing social-distancing guidelines," said UNI President Nook. "The resilience and adaptability of our students, faculty and staff during this difficult time is inspiring."

“I think the carillon is being played probably more than it has since I've been a part of the guild, which is really impressive,” said Dakota Andersen, a member of the Guild.

The carillon is housed inside the campanile, or the clock tower, at UNI. A large keyboard at the top is connected to a series of bells. The Guild members climb to the top to play songs ranging from hymns to pop songs during their concerts.

“If there's a song you really like and want to hear one of us play it, feel free to reach out,” Andersen said.

Playing the instrument requires a lot of steps and a stomach for heights.

“It's basically just one giant spiral staircase. The third room is the tallest and no matter how many times I climb it, there's always a point towards the top of it where my hands start to sweat a little bit,” he said.

Finished in 1926, the campanile and carillon have been a part of UNI for nearly a century. The live concerts hopefully boosting people's spirits that a brighter future is around the corner.

“It's tradition for us to begin our concerts with the fight song and end with the alma mater,” added Andersen.

You can request a song here.

The schedule for the daily concerts is here.

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Collin Dorsey

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