A handmade carillon with 49 bronze bells will ring out on the new Village sidewalks during Walk Around Wiscasset on Thursday, Aug. 27, 5-6:30 p.m. The carillon will be played by Mike Everett of Dresden who designed and fashioned the instrument about 30 years ago.
This unique carillon, which looks most like a xylophone or marimba, is made up of circular bells and has a four-octave range. Everett plays on the edge of the bells, laid sideways, by striking them with a xylophone mallet. He compares the sound of the carillon to a glass harmonica or church bells with a lasting ring.
Everett’s first step on his carillon path may have been the marimba lessons he took in high school in Illinois. He also began repairing antique music boxes at an early age. These machine-shop skills brought him to the Wiscasset area where he worked at the Musical Wonder House for 33 years doing repairs on the museum’s collection of antique music boxes and for private collectors.
To fabricate the carillon, Everett first made wooden forms of the bells, turned on a lathe, then had them cast in a Lewiston machine shop, now gone, out of bronze. It’s the size of the bells and their thickness, he said, which results in the different notes.
Everett currently specializes in repairing antique clocks, but occasionally makes appearances with his carillon at churches and weddings. His favorite tunes to play are hymns and popular songs of 100 years ago, like “Why Do Roses Fade?” “Spring Gentle Spring” and “Stars Trembling Over Us.”
To acknowledge the end of the MDOT construction project downtown and the inaugural year of the newly expanded sidewalks, Sarah’s Café will be distributing grab and go tidbits during the Walk Around. Additional music and an interactive community project will add to the low-key, safely distancing activities. Waving and masks required. Village shops and galleries will be open at the owners’ discretion.
During the Walk Around, Wiscasset joins the state and the nation in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote; the 19th Amendment became part of the Constitution on Aug. 26, 1920. Walk Around strollers are invited to wear white clothing to honor the suffragists who frequently wore white at their demonstrations during the more than 70 years of lobbying for women’s suffrage.
The final Walk Around Wiscasset, replacing Wiscasset Art Walk during summer 2020 due to coronavirus concerns, is Thursday, Sept. 24, 5-6:30 p.m.