Chapel Music

The Organ

Culver has a very fine pipe organ in the Chapel, with admirable acoustics. It is particularly effective for Romantic literature and orchestral transcriptions, but has the necessary resources to handle nearly any organ literature. It was originally built in 1951 by the M.P. Möller company of Hagerstown, Maryland. It has undergone several tonal modifications over the years, but work done since 1980 has been directed toward making the instrument an effective reflection of its original romantic character (but without attempting to copy it exactly). Since 1978, the organ has been under the able care of Fabry, Inc. of Antioch, Illinois. In the early 1980s, Chimes and a Harp stop were added to the organ, as were two Zimbelsterns. Over the summer and early fall of 2006, major work was undertaken on the organ (carried out by Fabry, Inc.), including re-leathering internal chest action parts. The deteriorating switching and stop action system was recently replaced with a Peterson ICS-4000 system ("Integrated Control System"), which offers multiple memory levels, and numerous other features. In 2007-2013, five new ranks of pipes were added also, bringing the total number of ranks to 59, and the number of pipes to 3,698.

More details about the organ may be found at


The Carillon

The carillon in the tower of the Memorial Chapel consists of 51 bells, ranging in weight from 11 1/2 pounds (pitch=d4) to 6,496 pounds (B). The instrument transposes down one semitone (key of B). This carillon was the last North American carillon installation by the Gillett and Johnston foundry of Croydon, England. A matching practice console is situated in the tower as well. The carillon has undergone restoration work by the John Taylor Bellfoundry of Loughborough, England in 1982 and 1998. Annual maintenance is carried out on the instrument directly by John Gouwens. Major work is scheduled for 2015, including fitting the lower 18 lower bells with new adjustable clappers, carrying out the innovative design that was included in the upper ranges of the carillon from the time it was first built.

The carillon is played after Sunday morning services in the Chapel and in recitals throughout the warmer months of the year. Culver Academies hosted annual congresses of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 1953, 1961, 1985, and 2004. A distinguished roster of international artists have played guest recitals on the Culver carillon over the years, representing Belgium, Canada, France, and The Netherlands, as well as many noted American carillonneurs. John Gouwens, Carillonneur of the Academies since 1980, is well-known in the carillon field, having performed in recital at nine congresses of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, and at a congress of the World Carillon Federation. In 2012, he made his seventh carillon recital tour in Europe, performing in France, Spain, Belgium, and The Netherlands. Mr. Gouwens has also produced two recordings of the Organ and Carillon of Culver, available on Compact Disk. They may be most readily purchased on

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