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.
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 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.
A new clavier has been ordered from the Christoph Paccard Bell Foundry and is under construction in Belgium. It will be installed in late 2019, bringing the renovation process of the instrument to completion.
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 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.
2020: Diptyque: Bells of Healing, composed by John Gouwens (available mid-September, 2020)