A “Silver Bell” Anniversary 

By Christopher Wells, Director of Music & Organist

This Sunday, Jenny King, Christ Church Cranbrook Carillonist, will present the second carillon recital in the 2020 Summer Carillon Series. The recital is free and open to the public in-person following the 2020 Carillon Series Guidelines and is also available as a livestream broadcast.

A graduate of Oberlin College, King studied with Bill De Turk at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church and played her GCNA (Guild of Carillonneurs in North America) examination recital in 1991 at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Since the mid-1990s, she has split her time as carillonist between Christ Church Cranbrook (Bloomfield Hills, MI) and Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church (Detroit, MI). 

At Christ Church she began as Interim Carillonneur beginning in the fall of 1995 and was appointed to the re-instated position of Carillonneur in 1996.  She has played the 50-bell Wallace Carillon twice each month on Sundays, as well as for over a thousand weddings, funerals, and other special services. In addition, she has curated Michigan’s longest-standing summer carillon series begun at Christ Church in 1928 and has led Sunday School worship for children as well as countless tours of the carillon for the young and older. 

At Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church King founded an annual summer carillon series in 1995 for the church’s 23-bell Gillett and Johnston instrument, the oldest carillon in Michigan installed in 1925 and to date the only carillon in Detroit. She became the official carillonist at the church in 1996, likewise playing before and after Sunday worship, for special events, and in recital.

In addition to her ministry as carillonist, King has worked as a freelance reporter covering small business, real estate, the arts, and aspects of the auto industry including classic cars for newspapers, trade publications, and newsletters. 

Her July 12 program will be a mix of classical music arranged for carillon, as well as folk tunes, hymns, and other works composed for carillon. For any musician who has not had access to their instrument for over four months, presenting a full recital on one-week’s notice is commendable. To a musician who has enriched the lives of so many for over 25 years, we become even more in debt and are beyond grateful for the privilege of hearing her again. 

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