Campanile events hope to raise funds for model

Clouds cover the sun over the Campanile during the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21.

Finn Hoogensen

ISU students sang karaoke with the Campanile as part of a fundraising event held on Central Campus last week.

The fundraiser was organized by the Student Carillonneur Leadership Council and took place Wednesday through Saturday. The council’s goal was to raise money towards their campanile-carillon model project.

For the karaoke part of the fundraiser, a microphone and speakers were set up at the base of the Campanile, along with a computer monitor to display song lyrics. Karaoke singers chose from a list of 15 songs which included classic tracks such as “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Sweet Caroline,” “My Heart Will Go On” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Tin-Shi Tam, Iowa State’s carillonneur, was on hand to play songs for the event.

In addition to karaoke, the event included other fundraising methods.

A merchandise table sold Campanile related items. Some of these items included posters, Christmas ornaments, ceramic tiles, tote bags and framed art.

Tam offered private and group lessons teaching people how to play the carillon. The carillon is the musical instrument inside the Campanile. It is played using a keyboard made of wooden batons and pedals. A carillonneur strikes the batons which hit the bells to make music.

The fundraiser offered Campanile tours that showed people the inner-workings of the 110-foot tall tower. People could pay to view the brick, clock or bell levels of the Campanile. Each level provided its own unique photo opportunities. Participants were also given the chance to ring the biggest bell of the carillon.

The fundraiser drew the curiosity of many who wandered by and wanted to learn more about the fundraiser and its purpose.

Miranda Tilton, a graduate student in statistics, had never been up inside the Campanile before. She decided to take a Campanile tour when she found out it was being offered at the fundraiser.  

“I went to St. Olaf College for my undergrad, and we have a lot of different music opportunities there, and I started ringing hand bells which are a lot smaller [than the Campanile’s bells],” Tilton said. “So I’m just a geek about bells. This is a really big bell tower so I thought it’s probably just as fun.”

Tilton said it was interesting to see what the inside of the Campanile was actually like.

“It was a lot narrower than I expected. But it’s cool that all the brick is still original. It feels like there’s a lot of history; there’s a lot that’s happened there,” Tilton said.

The event raised funds for the campanile-carillon model project. Through this project, the Student Carillonneur Leadership Council wants to capture the essence of Iowa State’s Campanile by building a one-fifth scale model of it.  The replica will contain a 27-bell playable carillon.

The campanile-carillon model will be mobile. The council intends to use the model for university events and outreach programs. They also envision it being used to accompany orchestras in musical performances. The portable nature of the model will make it the first mobile campanile ever built.

The Student Carillonneur Leadership Council is a university-recognized student organization. Right now, the organization’s sole function is to raise the funds necessary for the model to be built. Eventually, when the model is completed, they will coordinate how it is used through university events and outreach.

Fundraising for the model started in the spring of 2016, and so far they have raised $144,000 out of the needed $210,000. The amount raised covers 25 out of 27 bells for the carillon. Their main fundraising method has been letting people sponsor a bell by purchasing it. In return, those sponsors have gotten their name put on the bell.   

Casey Cunningham, a senior in finance, serves as the president of the council. With his finance background, he has played a major role in bringing in the necessary funds.  

“With the efforts of just getting people aware of it right now, we’re hoping that it will fund itself. The alumni have shown great interest, so if more alumni know about it then more will contribute,” Cunningham said.

Events like the karaoke fundraiser are how they plan to bring more awareness to the project.

Emily O’Connor, a graduate student in statistics, took the Campanile tour with Tilton. By taking the tour, she learned about the campanile-carillon model project.

“I think it’s very cool that it’s [the campanile-carillon model] going to allow anybody to play because not everybody can get up that tiny little stairwell. It’s going to allow a lot more people to play [the carillon],” O’Connor said.

A lot of work has gone into designing the model to make sure it will in fact be accessible and mobile.

Students from the College of Engineering designed the structure of the model. Students from the College of Design are designing the outer façade to be identical to the Campanile. The Student Carillonneur Leadership Council has students that come from majors in the College of Business and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. They’ve utilized the expertise of students from multiple areas to contribute to the project.

“It’s also truly amazing how we can get all the students to be a part of it. The collaboration is huge because the difference between just engineering [majors] doing this and adding all the different colleges is that now everyone can say they’ve been a part of it,” Cunningham said.

He thinks the innovative aspect of the project is what has led all the people to want to get involved.

“It’s the first mobile campanile in the world, so it’s unprecedented. And I think the attraction there is we’re doing something that’s never been done before. So there are a lot of challenges, and I like challenges, but it’s also going to be very rewarding,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham says the Student Carillonneur Leadership Council will continue their efforts in raising money to reach their goal.

“I’ve been with it since the beginning and now we can just close it out. I’m ready for someone to just write a huge check,” Cunningham said.

To find out more information about the campanile-carillon model, or to make a donation towards the completion of the project, visit its official website