Inspired by a love of music and the desire to honor American soldiers following the First World War, the original 23 bells were the gift of Drs. William J. and Charles H. Mayo. They were cast in the foundry of Gillett & Johnston in Croydon, England, and consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury before shipment to the United States. The largest bell is almost six feet tall and weighs 7,840 lbs.
Thirty-three bells, along with a new clavier (keyboard), practice console and glass-enclosed performer’s cabin, were added to the carillon in 1977. These enhancements were made possible with gifts from Mrs. Frances G. Sheets and Mrs. Isabella Gooding Sanders, descendants of Alphonso Gooding, a Rochester pioneer. The smallest of these bells weighs a mere 19 pounds.
The new bells were cast at the Petit & Fristen Foundry in Aarle-Rixtel, Holland. Now at 56 bells, the Rochester Carillon covers a 4.5 octave range and is the largest musical instrument in the state of Minnesota. Mayo Clinic is the only medical center in North America to have a carillon.
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A variety of music is played during each carillon concert to reflect the diversity of Mayo Clinic patients, staff and visitors. The carillon is an example of how the performing arts support the healing mission of Mayo Clinic. Carillon music is featured in eight weekly concerts at 4:45 p.m. each weekday, 7:00 p.m. each Monday, and 12:00 p.m. each Wednesday and Friday.
The programs for all concerts are posted under the Events tab. Song requests may be submitted via this form.
Music for Mayo
The Music for Mayo Carillon Music Series, sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities in Medicine, is an annual initiative that commissions one new composition for solo carillon each year. The work, when completed, is premiered at Mayo Clinic and then made available to carillonneurs around the world. The program seeks not only to expand the repertoire of quality modern compositions for the carillon, but to ensure they remain accessible to all members of the carillon community. Composers come from varied backgrounds across the world, making each piece unique and highlighting the diversity of patients, staff, and guests at Mayo Clinic. The scores for each Music for Mayo piece may be found below.