Above / The Moser Tower with the 72-bell Millennium Carillon is located along the Riverwalk, 443 Aurora Ave. across from Naperville Central High School, in downtown Naperville, Illinois. (PN Photo, Oct. 24, 2018)
Carillon Concerts & Tours in 2019 Coming Soon!
Scroll down to “December 2018” for New Year’s Eve happenings.
Above / The 72 bells in Moser Tower are played using the keyboard pictured here. The keyboard is located in the enclosed air-conditioned cabin high in the tower. (Photo courtesy Marilyn Schweitzer)
Weekly Recital & Concert Schedule
Tim Sleep, City Carillonneur, prepares the weekly recital schedule. Look for the schedule to be posted and updated here throughout 2019.
Memories of September 2018
In memory of the late Mayor A. George Pradel, a recital at Noon on Sat., Sept. 8, and 4PM on Sun., Sept. 9, was dedicated to his honor.
Each recital concluded with a memorial toll of our 6-ton bourbon, “Big Joe.”
The 72 bells of the Millennium Carillon, among the largest musical instruments in the world, are located in Moser Tower on the Naperville Riverwalk, just west of Eagle Street and City Hall.
Naperville Carilloneur Tim Sleep recalls another time when a Naperville Mayor’s funeral procession stopped by City Hall, he honored him by playing his favorite hymn, “On Eagles Wings.”
During New Year’s Eve celebrations held at Rotary Hill along the Riverwalk at 5:30PM and again just before midnight, Mayor Pradel was known to lead the annual festivities with song and merriment.
September 11, 2019
Sept. 11 / From noon to 12:30PM a special 30-minute concert on the 72 bells of the Millennium Carillon inside Moser Tower will play on Tues., Sept. 11.. A solemn tolling of the “Big Joe” bell followed by “In Memoriam,” a carillon piece written following the events of September 11, 2001, meant to be played in bell towers throughout the world.
Carillon music can also be heard beginning at 5:30PM, just prior to the observance at 6PM at the Cmdr. Dan Shanower Sept. 11 Memorial along the Riverwalk.
Dec. 30 3PM / Tim Sleep
Dec. 31 Sun 5:30PM New Year’s Eve Family Concert / Tim Sleep
Dec. 31 Sun 11:15PM New Year’s Eve Duet Concert / Tim Sleep
Enjoy the year with the bell ringers.
Ring in the New Year
6PM Monday, December 31, 2018 / Kid-Friendly time to ring out the old and ring in the New Year / Millennium Carillon Countdown.
11:30PM Monday, December 31, 2018 / Ring out the old and ring in the New Year / Millennium Carillon Countdown. Cheers to peace and prosperity.
A few details about the bell-ringing celebration on New Year’s Eve…
Naperville Park District invites the community to the Countdown at the Carillon, featuring both the Early Family Countdown at 6PM and the Traditional Countdown at midnight. The free events take place at the base of the Naperville Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower, located at 443 Aurora Ave., across from Naperville Central High School.
Festivities will begin at 5:30PM, with refreshments while supplies last outside Moser Tower. Entertainment will be magical until 6:30PM. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather, as the entire event is outdoors.
The Traditional Countdown will take place at midnight, with Carillon music beginning at 11:15PM. The music will feature carillonneurs such as Sue Bergren and Tim Sleep in a duet concert and likely will include selections from the “Nutcracker Suite,” a Viennese waltz, and “Try to Remember” from the musical, “The Fantasticks.” After the midnight countdown to the New Year, the bells will ring a Royal Peal, then will play “Auld Lang Syne,” and conclude with music from the “Royal Fireworks” by Handel.
Whatever the season… Moser Tower with the Millennium Carillon is a short distance from downtown Naperville, Naper Settlement, Nichols Library, Centennial Beach and North Central College.
Can you hear it?
The big “Joe Naper” bell and 71 additional commemorative bells from generous donors help ring out the story of one of the largest musical instruments in the world, standing 14 stories high (about 10 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty) at the base of Rotary Hill along the Riverwalk to look toward the future in Naperville.
The bells sound the hour audibly throughout the day, with a single bong on the half hour.
Can you see it?
The Riverwalk park setting around the Moser Tower is open year-round during normal park district hours. Visitors are welcome to listen to the harmonic bells of the carillon at any of the scheduled performances. Many visitors bring collapsible lawn chairs. Concerts usually last about one hour.
From May through October, Moser Tower is open to the public on weekends, weather permitting. Visitors can climb the 253 steps to the observation deck near the top of the 160-foot tower, enjoy a spectacular view while learning about the workings of 72 different-sized bells and reading their engraved messages, and getting to know the unique features of one of the world’s largest musical instruments.
On a clear day, we highly recommend the climb to the observation deck of Moser Tower where you can see the Chicago skyline.
The Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower and the Visitor Center hours are from 10AM-4PM on Saturdays and from 12 noon-6PM on Sundays, late April through the last Sunday in October.
Beginning the last weekend in May, Friday hours (10AM-4PM) run through the second Friday in August.
Visitor Center (in the old Netzley House) admission is free of charge.
Guided tours, however, are $3 for ages 5 and older; children 4 years and under are free. Visitors under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
Guided group tours, for groups of 10 or more, are available by reservation at (630) 848-3619 or by email at email@example.com.
Concerts are open to the public and free of charge.
The Millennium Carillon and Visitor Center are located along the Riverwalk at the base of Rotary Hill at 443 Aurora Ave.
Can you use it?
Set along the Riverwalk at Rotary Hill, the iconic Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower is available for rental for weddings, anniversaries, monumental occasions and other once-in-a-lifetime events.
Some folks like to entertain guests before or after special events at a catered reception at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center’s Community Hall, located at Eagle Street and Jackson Avenue.
Many nearby restaurants in downtown Naperville as well as historic Meson Sabika also welcome special luncheons, receptions and dinners, too.
To reserve a date for Moser Tower, call (630) 848-5000 for details.
For everything you want to know about Naperville’s hospitality community, check out www.visitnaperville.com.
Do you know Tim Sleep, City Carillonneur?
Tim Sleep was appointed Naperville City Carillonneur in 2007 where he teaches and performs regularly on the Millennium Carillon high up in the enclosed cabin in the Moser Tower. He has performed carillon recitals at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, University of Chicago, the Chicago Botanic Gardens and guest recitals throughout the country. He is also an Instructor for the North American Carillon School.
Now in his fourth term as President of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA), Sleep previously served as its Corresponding Secretary, then its Vice President. He has performed on the New Music recitals at various GCNA congresses.
First studying with Wylie Crawford in Naperville, then continuing with John Gouwens at the Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana, Sleep became a Carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 2004.
Sleep holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from North Central College and a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.
A retired band director and middle school principal, Sleep is longtime church musician currently serving as organist for Knox Presbyterian Church in Naperville.
Why do some individuals call it “The Third Gift”?
In the tradition of Centennial Beach (1931) and the Riverwalk (1981), the Millennium Carillon (2000) is a gift from the people of the community for all future generations to enjoy.
“Big Joe,” the carillon’s biggest bell weighs 5.8 tons, was installed on March 24, 2000, and all 72 bells were in place by April 23, 2000.
The first concert was performed on June 29, 2000.
Many individuals, families and businesses that donated funds to help build Moser Tower with the 72-bell carillon are featured on a large plaque behind the tower near the Visitors Center. The plaque also recognizes the partnership with the City of Naperville and the Naperville Park District for their part in care and maintenance of the instrument.
Take a stroll around Moser Tower at Rotary Hill, hear it chime on the hour and half hour, and experience special concerts performed throughout the year.
For more information about the Riverwalk and how it was built brick-by-brick, growing to become the city’s natural treasure from Jefferson Ave. to Hilliside Road, visit Naperville Riverwalk.
Editor’s Notes / Back in 2015, the Riverwalk Commission began laying the groundwork for maintaining the Riverwalk and related assets for generations to come. Moser Tower, built over a period of time at the turn of the millennium, was included in that long list. By taking an in-depth look at the current state of the structure, now 17 years old, caregivers can better plan for maintenance needs to be done in the future, and budget appropriately and wisely to meet those needs. The aim of the Commission, the City of Naperville and the Naperville Park District has been to best serve all contributors and taxpayers in the long run.
Thanks to an assessment released in the spring of 2017, interested vendors have proposed possible testing and solutions. And Riverwalk Commissioners say they’re taking a pause to evaluate all options. (Oct. 2017)
UPDATE, March 30, 2018 / Fast forward to March 26, 2018. That’s when scaffolding started going up, up, up daily and will continue through the first week in April to complete the assessment for future care and maintenance by taking additional samples from the concrete structure. Results of the Addendum #1 Naperville Riverwalk Moser Tower Assessment are expected to be reported to the Riverwalk Commission this summer for careful review, consideration and future recommendation.
As we keystroke this update of the Carillon performance schedule with dates provided by Tim Sleep, we’re mindful that today is National Pencil Day. Write it down. Get the point that fair and free markets activate successful economies. Remember National Pencil Day every March 30 by reading the essay called “I, Pencil.” Think big, but focus on local connections whenever possible. Local matters most.
Could it be March Madness?
And wouldn’t you know? On the Road to the Final Four NCAA Basketball Tournament, many fans have noted a Naperville connection from the Moser Tower to 2018 March Madness. Loyola Coach Porter Moser originally hails from Naperville and he’s the nephew of Margaret and Harold Moser, the Naperville benefactors after whom Moser Tower is named.
Let the bells toll to celebrate a wonderful season for Loyola Chicago. Thank you, Ramblers!