Sunday, March 16, 2008

Twenty-five Russian-ringing tons...

Yesterday, I participated in the ringing of the Lowell House bells with the Klappermeisters and Klappermistresses. Every Sunday at 1pm, the bells ring for about 15 minutes and, what I didn't know, is that anyone can be a part of it, and ring the bells too! The bells actually come from Russia and are one of the five complete sets of pre-Revolutionary bells in existence around the world. Altogether, the bells weigh 25 tons. These bells are not finished after they are cast, in the Russian tradition, so their resonances have many more pitches in them. The bells actually come from Russia's equivalent of the Vatican and were saved from destruction. Lowell house acquired these monumental instruments during the house's construction in 1930 and has proudly rung them since Easter 1931.

The bells though, are actually going back to Russia this summer. In June the bells will be taken down and shipped back to their motherland. Silicon casts were made of some of the bells and Harvard will be getting exact replicas when the bells are taken down. So up until the last ringing of the bells at Commencement, I can happily participate every Sunday at the top of Lowell House belltower and ring bells like the one below (I actually did ring it!). When the motherbell rings, the resonance lasts a good minute afterwards, as if the air vibrates. All in all, a great way to finish off a weekend of post-thesis celebrations.

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