Final Inspection for Bell Tower

The Shafer Tower will probably pass one of its final inspections, though there is still some touching up to do, an official said.

David Verdin, the vice president of the Cincinnati-based Verdin Company, personally inspected the bells Thursday. Verdin's inspection could be the final one, but it is likely the tower will need some more minor work, he said, including some caulking and painting.

The results of Verdin's inspection have yet to be released, but the results, he said, would probably be good.

"It could be the final one, but on a big project like this, there are always last-minute things that need to be done," he said. "There are some final adjustments that need to be made. ... We will be back again, one or two times."

"It's a fairly large job, and it's fairly local," he said. "So, we thought that we would come over and check it out. We just want to make sure that everything is okay."

As vice president, Verdin said he rarely inspects projects himself, but because of the magnitude of the project, he made a special trip to Ball State.

"We want to make sure the installation is proper," he said. "It is a large carillon. It's very complicated because you can play it manually and electronically."

The complex bells that accompany the tower are very rare, he said. The tower is more than a bell tower. It is literally a gigantic musical instrument that can be played electronically or manually.

The tower's bells form a carillon, which is an extremely complicated set of fixed bells. They are pitched in a chromatic series of at least two octaves, and they are sounded by hammers that are controlled by keyboards. Each bell is tuned to harmonize with the others.

"It is only the second carillon in the state," said David Verdin, the vice president of the company that provided the bells. "There are only a couple hundred of them in the entire country."

The bells of the tower have about 100 songs already programmed into them, but a musician can actually play the music on an electronic keyboard for playback at a later date. The musicians, Verdin said, can add expression. The harder the key is hit, the louder the bell rings.

Verdin was accompanied by associates who said they were impressed with the tower's completed look.

"I think everyone is going to be really happy," Verdin said. "It's a good installation and a great product."

"It has absolutely amazing craftsmanship," said Bill Laughlin, who also works at Verdin. "It really compliments the school. I can't get enough of this tower."


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