The summer of 2017 our Tower sustained electrical damage in a storm. Since then, the bells have been silent. The Stephen Foster Citizen Support Organization has been diligently researching and seeking proposals on what is needed for the bells to ring clear again. They have found the Verdin Company, who have been creating and repairing bells and carillons for over 170 years.
The 97-bell carillon, one of the largest musical instruments ever produced in the Western Hemisphere, and the world’s largest tubular carillon in number of bells, was installed during the summer of 1958. It was built by the carillon division of J.C. Deagan, Inc., Chicago.
More than a year was required by Deagan craftsman to build the huge set of bells, the greatest single manufacturing project in the firm’s 78- year history of originating and producing a variety of percussive musical instruments well-known throughout the world.
Because Stephen Fosters melodies speak of a uniquely American epoch of society and are so fundamentally American in mood and expression, the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center on the Suwannee River stands as a monument to our country’s native musical greatness.
To augment the visual experiences and to deepen the appeal to the heart, the memorial to Stephen Foster has the majestic music of bells which play magnificent Foster melodies in the setting he made famous. The carillon is a marvel and is housed in an impressive, lofty campanile. Florida’s first tribute to Stephen Foster is heard through the enduring music he gave the world.
The Restoration will have multiple phases but one step at a time. Phase One of our project is to complete an extensive service and repair to all 97-tubular bell strikers, relay panels, control clock and roll player.
Repair short in the wire between the control panel and clock.
Check all 97 chime’s striker assemblies and perform maintenance.
1. Check support cables and repair if needed.
2. Check thimbles and repair if needed.
3. Check striker heads (rawhide tip) and repair if needed.
4. Clean and service all 97 strikers
5. Clean and lubricate all 194 rollers
6. Clean and check all striker relays
7. Check and service control clock
8. Clean and service roll player
9. Clean contacts with contact cleaner
SOLENOID COIL ASSEMBILIES
Verdin is to manufacture 12 new sets of solenoid coil assemblies to be used as need. We know that at this point two assemblies are needed. We also feel that as many as four will be needed for this servicing. Verdin will manufacture 12 new set to have on hand for this servicing and any future servicing needs.
With your generous support and tax-deductible contribution, we hope to have phase one of the bells completed by July 2018.
We are ready for PHASE TWO! New Striker Covers!
Our deepest gratitude,
The Stephen Foster Citizen Support Organization, Inc.