The Altgeld Chimes resonating across the Quad has become a familiar sound to faculty, students and alumni alike. This weekend, campus has the opportunity to interact with the students who perform music on the chimes and together form the organization Altgeld Ringers.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, the bells will be transforming into a modern day jukebox around the Quad and the Alma Mater sculpture, playing tunes like the soundtrack from the video game “Zelda,” television hit “The Office” theme song, Disney’s Mulan anthem “I'll Make A Man Out of You,” and Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon.” The public will be invited to request songs from a catalog of more than 100 selections covering a variety of genres and eras.
The focus of the event is to promote the significance of the Altgeld Chimes, chimesplayer Amy Liu said, with the hopes of adding to the longevity of the tower in the future. In addition, it is the goal to get the campus community excited about the bells through awareness of the chimes’ history and ongoing special events.
Altgeld Hall has had an extensive history since 1897 and endured many transformations over the years. In the past, it was utilized as the University Library and the College of Law and is presently known as the home to the Department of Mathematics. In 1920, the bells of Altgeld Hall were installed as a gift from the classes of 1914 through 1921 as well as the U.S. School of Military Aeronautics.
The chimes have played an integral part during its time at Illinois. Aside from the physical state of the bells, there is one individual whose position is worth a notable mention. For more than 40 years, Sue Wood has served in the role of the chimesmaster by playing tunes from 12:50 to 1 p.m. every day class is in session. Wood, along with student chimesplayers, have shared a variety of songs ranging from “Hail to the Orange” to “Hedwig's Theme" from Harry Potter.
The community has the chance to see Wood and the chimes up close during the open tours hosted Monday through Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
If you want learn more about the chimes or even how to play them, attend the Altgeld Ringers’ first informational meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1 in the Illini Union (Room 405) at 6 p.m. For additional information, visit Altgeld Ringers or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.