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Summer Carillon Concert Series featured Laura Ellis

The second concert of Berea College’s Summer Carillon Concert Series, featuring guest Carillonneur Laura Ellis of Gainesville, Fla., began Monday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m.

Carillonneur Laura Ellis

The concert lasted about one hour. Seating outside the Draper Building on the College Quadrangle was provided with a video monitor which allowed persons at ground level to view the performer in action.

Like all Carillon concerts, admission was free and guests were permitted to greet the artist at the entrance to the Draper Building after the concert.

The 56-bell instrument is the largest carillon in Kentucky and was recently designated the John Courter Carillon, posthumously honoring one of the leading carillonneurs and present-day composers for the carillon, who served as a Berea faculty member for 36 years.

The concert celebrated the 500th anniversary of the carillon (1510-2010) and included works by George Friedrich Handel, Jorge Variego, Albert Gerken, Clifford Ball, Milford Myhre and Alice Gomez, with a special arrangement by Sally Slade Warner for the opening piece “Solemn Sinfonia: Entrance of the Queen of Sheba.” The concluding piece was “A Tribute to Copland,” composed by the late Carillonneur John Courter.

Laura Ellis serves the University of Florida as associate professor in the school of Music where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate organ, harpsichord and carillon.

A carillon recitalist in the United States, Canada and Australia, Ellis’ most recent performance was a summer 2010 solo carillon recital for the 2010 Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA) at the University of Chicago. She also presented a solo organ recital at the Region IV Mid-winter conference of the American Guild of Organists in January 2010. In October 2007, Ellis traveled to Australia for a series of five recitals, including a solo organ recital on the Great Hall Organ at the University of Sydney and at the National Carillon in the capital city of Canberra.

Ellis is a graduate of Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) and holds a Master of Music degree in church music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from the University of Kansas. Her major organ teachers have been Professors James Higdon and William Kuhlman. She began her teaching career at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas. Prior to her Florida appointment Ellis served as professor of music at McCurry University and held the position of parish organist at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, TX.

Active in the American Guild of Organists, Ellis was recently elected Region IV Councillor. She sits on the Board of the Directors of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and is director of the Music and Publications Committee. A former winner of the Gruenstein Memorial Organ Competition, Ellis is active as a recitalist and clinician. Her CD entitled “Legacy: Laura Ellis Plays the Organ Works of Jeanne Demessieux,” was released under the Pro Organo label.

Additional carillon concerts by guest performers are scheduled for Aug. 16 and Sept. 6.

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