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Premiere gift of two centennials subject of another inaugural recital
Netherlands Centennial Carillon upgraded
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
VICTORIA, BC - Forty years after then Queen Juliana laid the cornerstone of the tower for The Netherlands Centennial Carillon, another inaugural recital has been planned for the carillon. The 5:10pm recital on August 1, 2007 will celebrate the restoration of a crucial part of the carillon, the keyboard. The replacement clavier was installed by Royal Eysbouts, the well known Dutch carillon foundry, and paid for by a private, as yet unidentified –non-Dutch-Canadian- donor.
The restoration became an urgent matter when the aged keyboard started to fall apart and the automatic roll player became detached from the carillon. The restoration follows the criteria of the world carillon federation standards, which are different from those adopted in North America. At the time they were introduced, the Dutch carillonneur guild unanimously endorsed the world standards.
The carillon, which was the Dutch community’s gift to British Columbia on the occasion of Canada’s Centennial in 1967, was expanded from 49 to 62 bells as part of the centennial of British Columbia’s entry into the Confederation of Canada. In making the donation, the Dutch community particularly recognized Canada’s role in liberating the Netherlands in 1945. The Dutch community financed the purchase of the bells in two different centennial campaigns, making the instrument the largest in Canada in 1971. In addition, the expansion included an automatic roll playing mechanism which allowed the carillon to serve as an important time telling device. The expansion also was marked by a special recital.
The Netherlands Centennial Carillon sits on the property of the Royal BC Museum, near the buildings of BC’s Legislature in Victoria. In 2003 it was transferred to the museum by the provincial government. The tower was built by BC’s then Department of Public Works.
From 1968 until 1992, Dutch immigrant Herman Bergink served as both Provincial Carillonneur and caretaker for the carillon. With the Royal BC Museum in charge, the carillon continues its tradition as an entertaining element of Victoria's Inner Harbour and an important part of Canada's cultural history. Carillonneur Rosemary Laing has since Bergink’s retirement been under contract for the recital program of the carillon, which is one of the largest in North America.