Bill Monroe was not only an early president of the Bell Tower Community Foundation, but he has also served as the tower’s Music Man for more than 20 years. Bill has been the man behind the scenes, choosing musical selections and running the equipment to make the music play. Previously, Mike Piepel filled that role as the county auditor. Monroe chooses and programs pre-recorded music pouring out from the bell tower from 8 am – 8 pm daily for five minutes after each hour. He’s still fulfilling that role today.
How does Bill decide on what to play? Floyd Mahanay spelled that out in his will: “I further direct that sacred and patriotic music shall represent 50% of the music to be played on this carillon”. He also specified that special music be played for Easter, Christmas seasons, and for the Fourth of July.
In December of 2013, the Verdin Supreme, a new digital music system, was installed. It had the capability of playing any number of real bells. It could store and play up to 10,000 bell songs. A musician on the keyboard could play and record any amount of special tunes to be played later.
In May of 2019, the additional bells were installed so now 47 bells make up the carillon. A digital keyboard was installed with the capability of striking and thus playing the actual bells for those hourly concerts. After 20 years, Bill Monroe continues to select the songs that play automatically throughout the year.