Carillon Concerts Postponed Indefinitely
Carillon recitals by a trio of carillonneurs on Mercersburg Academy’s Swoope Carillon have been postponed until further notice due to the closure of campus surrounding the nationwide/worldwide outbreak of coronavirus.
During the academic year, recitals are scheduled to take place on the carillon on most Sundays; performances typically begin at 3 p.m.
Recitals can be heard from the Prentiss-Zimmerman Quad on campus or the Irvine Memorial Chapel, which includes the Swoope Carillon and its Barker Tower. There is no admission charge.
Academy Carillonneur Jim Brinson gave recitals February 16 and February 23. Ed Nassor of Washington, DC, was scheduled to perform March 22, and Doug Gefvert of Valley Forge, PA, was scheduled to give the March 29 recital. (Due to the school’s spring vacation, there were no recitals scheduled March 1, March 8, or March 15.)
Brinson has been a member of Mercersburg’s music faculty since 2003, and also serves as the Academy’s organist, directs Magalia (the school’s female student a cappella ensemble) and the Chapel Choir, and works with the Chorale. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, the American Choral Directors Association, and an associate member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA). Brinson is a graduate with distinction of both Union Theological Seminary’s School of Sacred Music and Rhodes College; he is experienced in choral arts, organ performance, and music history.
Nassor is the cathedral carillonneur at the Washington National Cathedral, where he has been a member of the music department since 1990. Nassor was previously the director-carillonneur of the Netherlands Carillon in Arlington, VA, and has continuously performed and scheduled guest carillonneurs for the annual carillon recital series sponsored by the National Park Service since 1987. He has been a member of the GCNA for more than three decades and has served as a juror on the guild’s student advancement committee.
Nassor earned master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at the Catholic University of America. While working on his doctoral degree, he became the first American to be awarded a Fulbright grant to study carillon in the Netherlands.
Gefvert serves as carillonneur of the Washington Memorial Chapel National Carillon, which is located within Valley Forge National Historical Park near Philadelphia. He began studying the carillon as a student at Westminster College, and later studied the instrument with Frank Péchin Law. Gefvert is a carillonneur member of the GCNA.
Gefvert earned a bachelor of music degree in organ from Westminster and a master's degree in music history from Temple University. He spent 21 years as bellmaster at historic Old Christ Church in Philadelphia; Gefvert has written and arranged numerous pieces for carillon and has given recitals in the U.S. and Canada. He is a branch manager for the Verdin Bell Company of Cincinnati, selling bells and clocks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Mercersburg’s Swoope Carillon is one of 163 traditional carillons in the U.S. and includes 50 bells. The carillon series is funded in part by a generous endowment established by Robert M. Kurtz Jr. ’52 in memory of his parents, Robert M. and Dorothy Betts Kurtz.