Even from afar, bell ringers stay committed to Harvard tradition

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 07:30 in Mathematics & Economics

Becoming a member of the Lowell House Society of Russian Bell Ringers requires perseverance, an affinity for heights, and the confidence to make mistakes very, very loudly. Normally, members of the group, who include Harvard students, staff, alumni, and affiliates, ascend the Lowell House bell tower every Sunday for a 30-minute set of traditional Russian peals, Western classical music, and pop songs, played on 17 specially tuned bells that follow a Western scale. (Traditional Russian ones are not tuned to a series of notes and are instead played rhythmically.) The bells also ring out during Commencement, at the end of the Harvard-Yale football game, select Russian holidays, and at the stroke of midnight on Halloween. After a two-year absence due to the extensive renovation at Lowell House, the bell ringers returned triumphantly to the tower last fall, ready to resume their role as the soundtrack to a Harvard weekend. But following the...

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