TWU campus bell tower chimes to participate in global musical marathon spanning New Zealand to Canada

On June 26 at 11:30am, the TWU bell tower chimes will participate in an around-the-world musical marathon that begins in Timaru, New Zealand and travels through places in the U.K., Ireland, and South Africa, before completing in Vancouver, British Columbia. The event involves more than 50 churches and towers worldwide, and it celebrates the 200th anniversary of the invention of the Ellacombe Chimes – technology that allows just one person to ring all the bells in a tower. Music major Chloé Thiessen has been comissioned to compose the music and play the chimes for this event.

TWU Chime Concert in Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Ellacombe Apparatus for Playing Bells

Date & Time:          June 26, 2021  | 11:30 am
Location:                Norma Marion Alloway Library, TWU Langley campus
Livestreamed:        TWU Library Instagram           

The 17-minute concert will feature a wide selection of tunes played by TWU music major Chloé Thiessen, including pop, classical, and hymns, plus three versions of the hymn tune Ellacombe

While some church bells around the world stopped ringing during the long months of the global pandemic, the chimes at TWU’s Norma Marion Alloway Library continued their faithful songs.

Shawn Brouwer has worked at the Alloway Library for over 25 years.

He said, “The TWU chime sounds every day throughout the year at 10:55AM, just before chapel (gathering), as well as at 2:55PM and 5:55PM, in correspondence to the ancient canonical calls to prayer at the hours of nones and vespers.” 

TWU’s chimes were a gift from the Alloway family and are housed in a campanile, an iconic bell tower that stands in front of the Alloway Library.

“Our campus chime is controlled by an APOLLO II controller,” said Brouwer. The APOLLO II device is an electronic system, a digital version of the manual Ellacombe apparatus to play the campus bells. 

Brouwer explained that TWU’s chimes are a 16-bell set of chimes. The bells are fixed in suspension and tuned in chromatic order, so that they can be played together in harmony.

TWU’s APOLLO II systems has some 50 tunes in its memory, including tunes recorded by TWU students.

For the Ellacombe global marathon on June 26 2021, TWU music major Chloé Thiessen has been commissioned to prepare and perform an arrangement of the hymn tune Ellacombe. When completed, her arrangement will be a transposition to match the chime's 16 available notes. The music will be played on an electronic keyboard and then uploaded into the controller's memory to become part of the chimes playlist.
During the seasons of Advent and Christmas, familiar seasonal tunes are played. Every spring on TWU’s graduation weekend, the chimes sound to precede events on and off campus. 

The bells also mark some of the statutory holidays, such as Canada Day and Remembrance Day. Brouwer adds that the chimes “can be played on request, to mark a birthday or even a wedding!”

See also: How Chloé Thiessen composes choral music, bringing virtual choirs to life:
Chloé Thiessen leads virtual choirs

 About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has five campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, Ottawa, and Bellingham, WA. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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