GVSU carillonist to perform Christmas Eve concert

By Carmen Smith | 12/11/16 10:22pm

GVL / Kevin Sielaff - The Cook Carillon Tower offers free tours while university carillonneur Julianne Vanden Wyngaard plays the instrument on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 in Allendale.
by Kevin Sielaff and Kevin Sielaff / The Lanthorn

As the holidays draw near, sounds of the season will be spread throughout the streets of downtown Grand Rapids with a special Christmas Eve performance by Grand Valley State University carillonist Julianne Vanden Wyngaard.

The Christmas Eve carillon concert will be held at the Carillon Tower on the Pew Campus Saturday, Dec. 24, beginning at 9:30 p.m. and concluding at 10:15 p.m.

Vanden Wyngaard has been performing this concert and other songs on the carillon at GVSU since 1994. She has a degree from the Carillon School in the Netherlands and serves as professor of carillon and the fundamentals of music at GVSU.

A carillon is a set of bells controlled by a piano, students can hear it hourly as they roam around campus.

Vanden Wyngaard plays the anthem that plays promptly at noon on campus along with a few other melodies. She said that you can’t play a carillon if you don’t have one, and most people don’t have one because it is a very public instrument.

Vanden Wyngaard will be performing a variety of classic holiday songs on the carillon to ring in the season in downtown Grand Rapids.

“I enjoy the holidays very much as a time for renewing friendships and having a lot of fun socially,” Vanden Wyndgaard said. “It’s a time for introspective thought, and the music that I play on the carillon usually sparks memories for people as they hear them.”

Along with the carillon concert, there will be other holiday festivities happening in downtown Grand Rapids to commence the holiday cheer.

On Friday, Dec. 23, there will be live, local holiday music performances at both Flanagan’s Irish Pub and the Pyramid Scheme. Rosa Parks Circle also welcomes guests for an open skate session at skating rink from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

To complete the live music and ice skating, there will be an array of holiday light hung around the city to walk through or drive by.

“Anyone who would like to have 45 minutes of quiet, relaxation and some settling down after all of the hustle and bustle that accompanies the holidays, I would invite them to come down, sit in their cars and listen to the carillon on Christmas Eve,” Vanden Wyndgaard said.

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