Santa & Mrs. Claus visit kids on Dec. 6.

Santa & Mrs. Claus will arrive in Jefferson at 6:15 pm on Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Thomas Jefferson Gardens.  Everyone is invited to watch this annual tradition!  They will light the community Christmas tree in the Gardens at 6:30 pm. This tree will remain lit through the Christmas holidays.  Santa & Mrs. Claus will then make their way to the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower to visit with youngsters and their families from 6:45 – 7:30 pm. With the lights of the bells in the observation deck, this is a special location for kids to tell Santa their Christmas wishes.  The admission to the Tower is free for all during this special evening!

Christmas Tower Tunes Live Concerts

Local musicians will play the Mahanay Memorial Carillon during the Christmas season.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas, special Tower Tunes Live Concerts will be played from 5:15 – 5:30 p.m.  Musicians involved are Rick Morain, Pat Richards, Danille Curtis and Bonnie Orris.  Each musician will select their own music so expect a great variety of wonderful holiday music.

Happy Birthday to the Bell Tower  Link to GreeneCountyNewsOnline story.

The Bell Tower Community Foundation treated the county supervisors to Deal’s apple cider donuts with birthday candles to mark the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower’s 52nd birthday Monday. The supervisors were game enough to sing the birthday song in return for the donuts.

Foundation president Carole Custer also presented the board with a framed certificate commemorating the dedication of the 47-bell carillon two years ago.

Supervisor Pete Bardole, ex officio member of the foundation, accepted the certificate. He and supervisor Dawn Rudolph are both the same age as the bell tower – 52.

Pictured are Bell Tower Community Foundation board members (from left) Bob Schwarzkopf, Carole Custer, Don Van Gilder, Pete Bardole, Peg Raney and Nancy Gerken.

52 yrs old

On Oct. 16, the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower is 52 yrs. old.  To celebrate, the Tower will be open on Oct. 13 & 14 will be open from 10 – 4 with all persons 52 yrs old admitted free.  Youth 18 and under are always free courtesy of Jefferson Hy-Vee.  On Tuesday, Oct. 16, “Happy Birthday” will be played on the carillon right after each hour to celebrate.

The Mahanay Bell Tower will be open weekends in October from 10 -4 and is the perfect place to view the beautiful fall colors of rural Iowa from the 120 ft. Paul Nally Observation Deck accessed by elevator.  The bells play the Westminster Chimes each quarter hour and 3 songs after each hour.

ISU carillonneur to play in Jefferson on Sept. 1

A special carillon concert to conclude the Tower Tunes Live summer series will be performed on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. by Iowa State University Carillonneur Dr. Tin-Shi Tam and five of her students.  The Mahanay Memorial Carillon was expanded to forty-seven bells from fourteen in May of 2017 to allow for a larger repertoire and the ability for musicians to play the digital keyboard.  The Foundation is pleased to announce this amazing opportunity of this concert partnering with the Thomas Jefferson Gardens Board of Directors.  The Gardens and the Courthouse Square  are perfect places to hear the concert and concert-goers are invited to bring a lawn chair to sit back and enjoy the music.  A light lunch will follow at the Welcome Center in the Thomas Jefferson Gardens with attendees having a chance to listen to Dr. Tam and her students share their thoughts on playing the carillon. The public is invited to attend this free event. 

The keyboard that Tin-Shi Tam plays at Iowa State University is a traditional carillon played by  striking the batons with fists and pressing the pedal keyboard with feet.  Dr. Tam and other musicians climb the stairs to the top of their carillon to play the instrument.  The Mahanay Memorial Carillon is played with a traditional keyboard much like an electronic piano and it is located one level above the lobby accessed by a shorter set of stairs.  Over 40 musicians with two years of piano experience through professional musicians have played the local carillon since the installation of the additional bells for a four octave carillon.  This will be the first time that Dr. Tin-Shi Tam will play this instrument.  

Bell Tower Community Foundation President Carole Custer explained, “Dr. Tin-Shi Tam is world-renown as a carillonneur.  There are only four carillons in Iowa and Jefferson is fortunate to attract this caliber of expertise to our Mahanay Memorial Carillon.”

Thomas Jefferson Gardens Board member and one of the Mahanay Maestros, Becky Greiner shared, “Jefferson has had a long history of hosting outstanding musicians and bands. We look forward to featuring our first carillonneur. What an opportunity!”

Tin-Shi Tam, a native of Hong Kong, is the Cownie Professor of Music (University Carillonneur) and the Chair of the Keyboard Division.  She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ from The University of Michigan. At present, she is a jury of the Associate Carillonneur Examination Committee of The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America.

A celebrated artist on carillon and organ, TAM has given recitals in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States. As an active clinician, TAM has given master classes, lectures and education programs extensively. Her carillon compact disk “The Bells of Iowa State” was released in 2004.