Center for Humanities in Medicine

The Center for Humanities in Medicine supports Mayo Clinic’s primary value, the needs of the patient come first, by integrating the arts and other expressions of human culture into the healing environment.

The Center engages interconnected communities of patients, families, staff, learners, and the public to promote the artful and compassionate delivery of healthcare. Humanities in Medicine activities are open to Mayo Clinic patients, staff, visitors and community members and are made possible by the generous donations of grateful benefactors.


The Rochester Carillon

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, 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 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.

Through late 2018 and early 2019, the playing action of the carillon was completely rebuilt by the Christoph Paccard Bell Foundry of Charleston, South Carolina. The roller-bar mechanism for ringing the bells, installed in 1977 and worn down by 41 Minnesota winters, was replaced with a new directional-square system, bringing the carillon into the 21st century. New springs were added to the treble bells, and the highest 17 bells were taken off the frame and mounted in a new, more secure position.


Carillon Daily Program

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 "Heritage Rings" every Monday at 7:00 p.m. and every Wednesday and Friday at 12:00 p.m. Additionally, music can be heard during "Daily Rings" each weekday at 4:45 p.m.

The programs for all concerts are posted under the Events tab. Song requests may be submitted via this form.


The Carillonneurs of Mayo Clinic

Mayo Carillonneurs

There have been four official carillonneurs of Mayo Clinic:

  • James Drummond – Served from the installation of the carillon in 1928 until he retired in 1958. He said his goal was to play music as a way to give “peace and inspiration and a lift of spirit to Rochester visitors, which was the intent of the carillon’s donors, Drs. Will and Charles Mayo.”
  • Dean Robinson – A Rochester native, he served as carillonneur from 1958 until his death in 2004. He studied music at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and MacPhail College of Music in Minneapolis. His career included performing and teaching carillon, organ and piano.
  • Jeffrey Daehn – Originally from Chicago, he studied music at Valparaiso University in Indiana and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He came to Rochester in 1977 as organist and music minister at Zumbro Lutheran Church, studied carillon with Dean Robinson and other well-known carillonneurs and served as carillonneur of Mayo Clinic from 2004 through 2016.
  • Austin Ferguson - A native of Longview, Texas, he served as carillonneur at the University of Texas at Austin from 2011 to 2015, performing half-hour concerts seven days a week and teaching carillon lessons to graduate and undergraduate students.  Mr. Ferguson has been a featured recitalist around the country and is an active member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America.  He was named the fourth carillonneur of Mayo Clinic in February 2017.

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