Library clock tower bells annoying, need improvement in variety, sound

April 25, 2017

Jasmine Nelson

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     The El Pomar Center carillon, better known as the bells in the library clock tower, chime twice daily for what seems like the longest sequence of off-tune arrhythmic verses that have ever assaulted human ears.

     The jumbled mess of incoherent tones playing on top of each other disrupt conversations and break any remaining concentration a student might have had writing their stressful final essay.

     The bells are distracting to students walking to and from class and to those who spend hours working in the library on long assignments.

     The bells play songs that are set to chime during peak foot traffic times when students and teachers are walking to class.

     But the bells should be lowered to a volume that human ears can comfortably process; this may even better coordinate the jumbled mess of incoherent tones playing on top of one another.

     One of the melodies plays every day at 12:07 p.m. and 4:26 p.m., according to a 2014 Communique article.

     This affects the maximum number of innocent, unassuming UCCS campus students, visitors, faculty and staff.

     “God Bless America” plays alongside the CU Alma Mater, which has a striking resemblance to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

     But these songs, which are played repeatedly, get old quickly.

     It costs about $350 for the rights to play an original song, so it is unlikely that we will hear musical variety any time soon.

     University archives report that when the carillon was installed in the fall of 2000, more songs were played, including “Here Comes the Sun,” by The Beatles and “You are the Sunshine of My Life,” by Stevie Wonder, among several others.

     If those songs are ever played today, the notes would be too loud and uncoordinated to be able to distinguish and comprehend the famous melodies.

     The clock tower was part of a $28 million project to construct the El Pomar Center and renovate the Kraemer Family Library in 2000, according to the university newsletter announcing the center’s completion.

     The most relevant historical significance of the carillon comes from F. Lamar Kelsey, the architect that designed Cragmor Hall, and what is Main Hall today.

     When the clock tower was installed in the ‘90s, Kelsey thought it should have a campanile, a relatively expensive addition and donated the funds to accomplish this, according to Communique.

     The Westminster chimes that toll on the hour and half hour are charming, albeit unnecessary, but they can make a student suddenly feel transported to London, or Hogwarts.

     But the other songs don’t have the same effect.

     With a little creativity, the carillon in the El Pomar clock tower could be an asset to the student body.

     Students studying computer programming could team up with engineering students to improve the system and even look into automating the daylight saving time changes.

     Music students could compose their own short tunes to play, at reasonable volumes, on the bell tower system.

     The Student Government Association could even facilitate an annual contest for the most popular melody, and the winner’s melody could be played throughout the academic year.

     The expensive, gifted construction cannot be tossed out of the university, but it should be substantially improved, melodically and mechanically.

     In the 21st century, the daily tunes of the bell tower should be made far less obtrusive to passersby.