The Carillon: An Alfred University treasure


“Long cherished dream – oldest carillon in the country – most honored and ancient makers – a monument to Alfred’s cultural life – a living memorial to the living Davises.” Such were the comments made at the blessing of the carillon bells (thought to have been from the 17th-century) before they were hoisted into their tower on the University campus in 1937. 

The carillon symbolized “Alfred’s glorious past and challenging future” as it was built around the university’s centennial and the quality of the bells gave voice to “the aspiration and tradition which together are the spirit of Alfred.”

Over 400 alumni and friends of President and Mrs. Boothe C. Davis contributed hard-earned money and worked ceaselessly to overcome the obstacles of bringing a carillon to the University campus. Original poems were recited and songs were sung. People came by the hundreds to watch the progress and hear the first recital.

The event made the “big news” of the day by appearing in articles in the New York Times, The Saturday Evening Post and Time Magazine. As it flooded “the whole valley with music” it was considered one of western New York’s great attractions. Today there are many competing attractions but to the folks of the late 1930s, the carillon was a dream come true and probably nothing since then has been such a work of love and dedication.

The carillon is a true treasure for Alfred University and we cherish the memory of those who made it happen.


1 response to “Story of the AU Carillon”

  1. Bob Morrison Says:
    My late wife and I attended a Choristers Guild workshop at Alfred Univ some years ago. I remember the carillon well. This video was most impressive!

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