Towering Sounds

photo of Peter Urquhart at carillon

When it comes to campus traditions, there are few more familiar than the songs that toll from the Thompson Hall tower every morning at 11. Listen for a moment and you might hear a familiar tune — the theme from “Harry Potter,” perhaps, or, during the holiday season, a Christmas carol. This week, though, you may want to listen a little more closely as you walk through campus. That’s because 10 new student and staff compositions will make a ringing debut on the carillon.

Peter Urquhart, associate professor of music, has been the UNH carilloneur since 2000. Earlier this year, Urquhart began seeking submissions for the university’s second carillon composition contest. It was a way to make the instrument part of UNH’s sesquicentennial celebrations, as well as a way to draw attention to it.

He received submissions from undergraduates, graduate students and even staff members. Urquhart’s Music Theory II class chose the top 10 submissions, and the winning compositions began chiming across campus on Dec. 9.

One of the winners is Nate Faro ’15 ’16G, whose composition is based partly on a piece he’s writing for the UNH Wind Symphony. The symphony references UNH songs like “The Alma Mater” and “The New Hampshire Hymn,” and Faro had written a part for orchestral bells that he eventually scrapped.

“I feel like I’ve made a bit of a mark on the university,” he says. “It’s a really nice feeling when you have your own composition played, especially when you hear it ringing across campus.”

edited from a story by Larry Clow

Read the full story in UNH Today.

Watch Video: Behind the Music

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