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.
Song requests may be submitted via this form.
The Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities in Medicine is committed to providing scores of quality carillon compositions, free of charge, for download. The Lavins Center commissions one new work each year in the Music for Mayo Carillon Music Series, as well as occasional works for special occasions. In 2021, the Center sponsored Mayo Clinic's first carillon composition contest, awarding three prizes to composers from across the United States. All scores can be downloaded via Mayo Clinic Connect.