UNK Today | August 2014 - page 65

By UNK Communications
KEARNEY —A University
of Nebraska at Kearney student
walking across the quad on
campus suddenly stopped.
He lifted his phone, pointed
it at the bell tower and began
recording as Lady Gaga’s “Bad
Romance” chimed.
“I think having music on
the bell tower is a refreshing
experience when you’re walk-
ing across campus. It’s enjoy-
able. People enjoy hearing the
music,” Dean of Natural and
Social Sciences John La Duke
Since La Duke took responsi-
bility for the music a year ago,
the list of songs that ring from
the Peterson-Yanney Memorial
Bell Tower has expanded.
The bell tower plays “Hey
Jude,” “Here Comes the Sun”
and “Eleanor Rigby” by the
Beatles; “Bad Romance” by
Lady Gaga; “Billie Jean” by
Michael Jackson; “Born in the
U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen;
“Stairway to Heaven” by Led
Zeppelin; “Hotel California”
by the Eagles; “Set Fire to the
Rain” by Adele; and the theme
song from Harry Potter.
“We try to come up with
music that students would
recognize,” La Duke said.
“Some of the music that was
on there before was from the
’50s, and if you’re old enough
to remember those songs that
would be appropriate. But the
students that we have maybe
don’t remember that music or
don’t appreciate it, so we have
been trying to find some things
that they would appreciate.”
Seasonal music also plays,
such as the “Addams Family
Theme Song” during Hallow-
een, and “Pomp and Circum-
stance” during commencement
ceremonies. All music is
approved by Vice Chancellor of
Business and Finance Barbara
The 66-foot tall Peter-
son-Yanney Memorial Bell
Tower, a gift in memory of the
George and Venetia Peterson
and Elias and Mary Yanney
families, was erected in 1986.
The bell tower was designed
as a memorial to UNK’s Old
Administration building that
housed the campus auditorium.
The design includes replicas of
friezes that once galloped along
the wall of the auditorium, as
well as the four columns that
stood at the entrance of the
The tower features 24 bronze
bells cast by the Paccard Bell
Foundry in France. The bells
weigh a total of 5,790 pounds.
The smallest weighs 48 pounds
and is 11.5 inches in diameter.
The largest weighs 1,477 pounds
and has a diameter of 41 inches.
“My office overlooks the
quad where the bell tower is
and, to me, it was an under-uti-
lized resource. It has 24 bells,
and we were only using a few
of them,” said La Duke, who
discovered some bells needed
repair in order to play songs.
When La Duke arrived on
campus, the bell tower simply
rang each hour. “I decided that
it probably had more capability
than that.”
Today, the bell tower plays
music daily at 8 a.m., noon and
5 p.m.
The bells actually went silent
in 2002, and were restored
in 2005 by students Brett
Chloupek, Dustin Kozal, Aaron
Graddy and Davin Jones. All
computer science information
systems students at UNK, they
created new software to get the
tower in working order.
The bell tower is controlled
by an automatic electronic
keyboard, which can also be
played manually.
“Getting the music set to the
bell tower has been a little bit
of a challenge,” La Duke said.
“As I understand it, typically
in keyboarding you can play
multiple keys at one time and
they blend together in favor-
able ways. Well, the bell tower
doesn’t do that very well. It
doesn’t like two bells sounding
at the same time.”
La Duke, who is not a musi-
cian, has recruited students,
staff and faculty to write and
record music for the bell tower.
“It isn’t very easy to record
music on the console because
you only get one chance. If
you make a mistake, you have
to start over,” La Duke said.
“There are no editing capabil-
ities, and it doesn’t play like a
piano and it doesn’t play like
an organ. If you hit the key, it
rings the bell.”
Dan Gibbs of Kearney, a
senior music education major,
recently recorded “Sing,” writ-
ten by British singer-songwriter
Gary Barlow and composed by
Andrew Lloyd Webber to com-
memorate the Diamond Jubilee
of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.
Gibbs writes, performs and
records music for the bell
tower. He has recorded “When
I’m Gone” from the movie
“Pitch Perfect,” “Let it Go”
from the movie Frozen, “True
Colors” by Cyndi Lauper and
“Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga.
Recording music for the bell
tower has sparked an interest
for Gibbs. He’s been doing his
own research on its history.
“It’s kind of like an escape
from what I normally do, which
is sit in a practice room most of
the day. This job is nice for me
to get a chance to use some of
the things I’m learning and give
back to the campus. It’s been a
lot of fun.”
Bell TowerTunes
Chimes from familiar music grace the campus thanks to students, faculty
Campus & Community
Omaha World-Herald/
Kearney Hub scholars
currently at UNK are:
Blake Brouillette, senior...................Hastings
Jessica Albin, senior........................ Lincoln
Anthony Munch, senior............... Kearney
Daniel Connor, junior............ Bennington
Daniel Feickert, junior.................. Elkhorn
Jake Burklund, junior ...................Omaha
Tyler Mickey, sophomore ....... Scottsbluff
Rachel Flaugh, sophomore.....Hartington
Joshua Lallman, sophomore.........Omaha
13 East 22nd St. • Downtown Kearney
308-237-2152 • 1-800-950-6113
2014-2015 R
at the top
of his class
from Kearney
Catholic High
School in May
2014. He is
the son of
Dr. Robert
and Lora
Messbarger. Robert participated in
tennis, track, soccer, basketball, and
speech. Robert is a member of the
National Honor Society, was student
council president his senior year, and
participated in Youth Leadership
Kearney. He was an academic all-state
tennis player.
Robert was a youth mentor, and holds
a private pilot license. Robert intends
to major in teacher education.
Robert Messbarger
from Deshler
High School
number one
in her class in
May 2014. She
is the daughter
of Joel and
Maschmann. In high school, she
participated in Quiz bowl, speech,
basketball, volleyball, and track. She
won awards for excellence in biology,
chemistry, and reading. April was a
member of Cornhusker Girls State and
the National Honors Society.
April was class president in high school.
April will be a pre-med major at UNK,
and plans to be a family doctor serving
in a rural area one day.
April Maschmann
Robert and April will
be part of the Honors
Program at UNK.
We wish all of the
outstanding Honors
Program students
the very best as they
pursue their dreams
at the University of
Nebraska at Kearney.
World-Herald/Kearney Hub
has been in place for
28 years and in that time has helped
attract some of Nebraska’s most
outstanding high school seniors to
UNK. The scholarship is among the
most prestigious available
to UNK scholars.
The scholarship provides for tuition,
books, fees and room and board
costs for four years.
North 2nd Avenue in the Vista Pointe Shopping Center • Kearney
234-3979 • Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-1am, Sunday 11:30am-12am
Burger, Fries
& Beer
All Day
Happy Hour!
Wing Night
Pizza & a Pitcher
Late Night
Happy Hour
for the
Bell Tower
at UNK has
during the
last year. The
Bell Tower
has even
joined the
Twitter world,
and can be
followed at @
Courtesy, UNK Communications
Dean of Natural and Social
Sciences at UNK has helped to expand the
music that the Bell Tower plays.
a senior music education major from Kear-
ney, records a song on the keyboard for the University of
Nebraska at Kearney bell tower. Gibbs writes, performs
and records music for the bell tower.
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