Posted by Nick Aroutzidis on Aug 10, 2017
August 17, 2017: Dual Program Rodrigo  and Arlene Pol, “Intro New NGE Rodigo.and Sushitoto update on El Artes”.   Jo-Anne Hood Tidman and Arlene Pol will do the introduction.

Head Table:  Our President Linda Bathe, invites, Jo-Anne Hood Tidman, Arlene Pol, Lisa Breault, Harry Brightwell, Norm Briscoe, Colleen Brown and Tine Buechler, to join her at the head table.
 
This Week: If you were to ask children “what do you want to be when you grow up?” perhaps the last answer you might expect would be, “ a professional carillonneur”.  But Gordon Slater’s father played the carillon at Metropolitan United Church in Toronto when Gordon was young, and so it is not so surprising that Mr. Slater grew up and became Canada’s fourth Dominion Carillonneur and for 31 years played the carrillon in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. In Stratford for this summer’s Stratford Summer Music, performing on a mobile carillon from Ohio along with three other professional carrilloneurs , Mr. Slater provided Rotary with a brief, often humorous,  history of the carillon and his own professional life in the Peace Tower.
 
Gordon Slater guest speaker at Rotary  introduced by John Miller SSM.
 
Primitive carillons began appearing in Europe in the late 13th century, after clocks placed in towers in the centre of large towns were able to give local merchants an accurate indication of the time of day.  While clocks could only be seen in the square, bells could be heard well beyond and so, over the years, a single bell, synchronized with the clock, tolling the hour was enhanced by another bell tolling the half hour and so on.  With increasingly sophisticated technology, it soon became possible to control the bells through the use of a keyboard, played by a carillonneur, hired by the town authorities. By the 20th century, the modern carillon was in place and in 1927, The Government of Canada installed the current carillon in Ottawa – 53 bells ranging in size from the bourdon, which weighs 10,090 kg which sounds the note E, to the smallest bell, which weighs only 4.5 kg and sounds the A.  There are only eleven carillons in Canada and the one in the Peace Tower is the most played and best known.
 
Trained as a musician, Mr. Slater is also a conducter, arranger, bassoonist, organist and musical clinician.  He spoke about how a carilloneur controls the carillon’s “voice”, and so is responsible for both what is played and also, in the case of the Peace Tower carillon, ensuring the dignity of the place and the Canadian Parliament.
 
Over the course of his professional career, Mr. Slater estimates that he has played more than 2000 different pieces of music on the Peace Tower carillon.  In the summer he would give a one hour recital five times a week and over the rest of the year a fifteen minute daily recital. Of course, he has also played at many of the momentous events which occur on the Hill – including the funerals of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and Pierre Trudeau (at the latter he had to toll the deepest bell 80 times – one for each year of M. Trudeau’s life – with a precise ten second interval between each toll, quite a feat of concentration).  In addition, he played for state visits by Heads of State, national holidays and celebrations. He is particularly proud of playing for the first recording of the carillon in 1978 with the Canadian Brass, which they had to do at 4:00 am in order to minimize the sound of auto traffic. As he was playing, he was told by his assistant that a RCMP officer on duty at the time could be seen doing a gentle waltz at his post on the Hill.
 
Mr. Slater also described one of the most touching moments for him when, after giving a daily recital, he was descending the stairs from the Tower and encountered a maintenance man going about his job and softly whistling one of the tunes that had just been played.  Mr. Slater reflected on how infectious and moving music can be in one’s life.
 
Carilloneurs may be invisible, hidden in the recesses of towers, but their music, as evidenced by the iconic sounds of the Peace Tower carillon, do much to stir the spirits of all Canadians when we visit Ottawa or watch events on TV.  For thirty years Mr. Slater played those bells and Rotarians are grateful for both his service and for sharing his stories with us.
 
Scribe:  Guy Chadsey
 
Mobile Millenium Carillon in Market Square  with Gordon Slater at keyboard
 
 
The Rotary Club of Stratford is seeking members to engage as paddlers for  our Dragon Boat Team! We have 8 committed members and we need 8 more.
 
Contact our Team Manager, Colleen Brown,  brown.ce60@rogers.com   226-921-6129
to participate.
 
Draw: Today’s prize was donated by Steve Monteith and Roger Black was the winner.
 
Guests: Today we welcomed; Colleen Devine, Mark Tarbush, LISTOWEL RC., Ken Beachler, Lansing MI., Mark Schroedr, Austin Texas, John Woollatt, Doug Brown, John Miller, Steve Weed, Joan Peggs, Victoria and Rodrigo Mohr, NGE Exchange from Mexico.
 
Make-ups: Elizabeth Gaffney, August 2, Vienna and August 4 Berlin.
 
August’s Attendance Committee:  Bob Gulliford (I/C), Nick Aroutzidis, Jim Hayes, Mike Gruszcynski, Bryan Lapier, Arlene Pol, Steve Monteith, Dan Scarborough, Josef Frank, Norm Bird.