Naperville Millennium Carillon summer concerts return

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The Tuesday night Naperville Millennium Carillon summer concerts have returned to Moser Tower.

Naperville City carillonneur Tim Sleep starts up the season

Naperville’s City Carillonneur Tim Sleep kicked off the summer series on June 6. The evening’s offerings included selections from Scott Joplin, Edith Piaf, and West Side Story.

Sleep, who is a North Central College graduate, was appointed as the city’s carillonneur in 2007. He has performed carillon recitals at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, University of Chicago, and the Chicago Botanic Gardens. 

Naperville’s Carillon has been closed since the spring of 2021 due to construction work on Moser Tower. 

Carillonneurs reflect on the unique quality of the instrument

Carillon devotees were out Tuesday night for the return of the music. Among them were two carillonneurs, Jim Fackenthal and Sue Bergren, who spoke to the unique quality of the instrument.

“It’s a really distinctive instrument. It’s an instrument that has an overtone series that allows you to express musical ideas in ways you can’t with other instruments or other combinations of instruments…it’s music that sort of gets mixed with air, and it reaches a public audience. It’s a very public instrument, and we love it,” said Jim Fackenthal.

The 16-story structure itself holds the musical instrument consisting of 72 bells, with a combined weight of nearly 33 tons. Naperville’s Carillon is actually the fourth largest in North America, with the tower standing taller than the Statue of Liberty. Fackenthal and Bergren say playing the instrument is an experience unlike many others.

“It’s like going up into a tree house because you’re way up off the ground, and, and here at, in Naperville, we are so far off the ground, no one can really tell who it is, who’s playing,” said Sue Bergren. She said she loves the experience, especially, “just sort of being on my own, picking what I want to play and…hearing the bells echo out. I like to have all the doors and windows open and to really feel what it sounds like,”.

Fackenthal and Bergren have played at Naperville’s Carillon in the past and are looking forward to returning back to Moser Tower to take their own turn.

Free carillon concerts throughout the summer

The free concerts typically last about 50 minutes. The public is invited to gather on Rotary Hill at 443 Aurora Avenue with blankets and chairs to enjoy the music.

The concerts will continue on Tuesdays most weeks each week through August 15. The full schedule is available on the Naperville Park District website. The tower itself is still closed for tours but will reopen later this summer.

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