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Historic sounds return to Plummer Building carillon

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The carillon atop the Mayo Clinic Plummer Building once again tolls Westminster chimes on the quarter hour.

That ability, along with the Mayo brothers' favorite songs played at 6 and 9 p.m., were made possible by a gift from John and Lillian Mathews of Chicago.

On Monday, many gathered below the bell tower to drink in the sound of a concert by carillonneur Jeff Daehn.

"Just sitting here today, for us, waiting between appointments, what a wonderful thing for us to sit in the sun with the…flowers and the music," said Jeremy Wahlstrom of Dodge Center.

"The arts are great for touching the spirit of our patients and staff," said Mayo historian Matt Dacy. He remembers hearing the Mayo brothers' songs when he first joined Mayo and missed them.


"The bells really mean a lot to people in different ways," he said. The bells are dedicated to the American soldier.

Every carillon concert since 1928, Dacy said, has begun with "My Country 'Tis of Thee."

The Mathews also commissioned a work by Lee Afdahl, music director and organist at First Presbyterian Church in Rochester.

He composed "Variations on Sicilian Mariners" for Daehn to play Monday.

Both Daehn and Afdahl were pleased with the result.

Afdahl said the return of traditional tones via computer, lost when mechanical triggering of the Rochester carillon bells ceased to work many years ago, is a "great opportunity to serve the community with wonderful carillon music again."

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