A Brief History
Trinity’s historic bells have been witness to major events in downtown San Jose since the first five bells were given by the children of Trinity’s Sunday School in 1880. Since then the bells have rung out to the Glory of God and in celebration of local and national events. They even survived and rang on their own in the earthquakes of 1906 and 1989!
The bell chime has been expanded three times, the last being in the Bicentennial Year 1976, to a mini -carillon of 18 bells played from a console chamber located in the tower below the bells themselves. A dedicated team of bell ringers regularly play the bells before Sunday morning worship services, at weddings, funerals and for public concerts in St. James Park on major holidays. In June 2008, the Trinity Bells were the center piece of sound sculpture, “Sonic Cascades”, created by internationally renowned artist, Bill Fontana, as part of the City of San Jose’s Who’s on First, What’s on Second public art project. Fontana captured the sounds of the bell, digitally mixed them and broadcasted them up and down 2nd Street. The result was an enveloping sound blanket invoking wedding bells, clock towers and centuries old European towns all rolled into one!
– Paul Archambeault, Project Chairman
Bells make a statement that the church is alive and well in the local community
Become a Part of Trinity
As a part of Trinity Cathedral’s 150th Anniversary celebration Trinity has embarked on a long held dream of renovating and expanding the 18 bell chime to a 24 bell carillon with the ability to add additional bells in the future to create a 43 bell carillon. The expanded carillon will be one of only three traditional, manually operated caril- lons in the Bay Area, the other two being the Campanile at UC Berkeley and the carillon in Hoover Tower on the Stanford University cam- pus. The new carillon will be a concert quality musical instrument that will enhance worship and celebration at Trinity as well as be a major asset for the arts and culture in downtown San Jose.
Meeks, Watson and Company, Georgetown, Ohio, is casting the six new bells and is also building the new bell frame, cabling and console capable of allowing us to add bells easily in the future to build the carillon to the ultimate 43 bells.
To accommodate the weight of the additional bells and ensure the ability of the historic tower to safely withstand future wind and earthquake activity, Trinity has engaged Biggs, Cardosa Engineering and Blach Construction to de- sign and complete the necessary work to strengthen the tower.
Growing our chime to 24 bells will make Trinity’s carillon one of only six manual carillons in California and the only one in the Bay Area located in a house of worship.
“Church bells celebrate life and liberty, call parishioners to prayer, chime in celebration, toll in reverence, and ring in remembrance. They call us to honor our past and set the tone for our future. Bringing order and inspiration to life, church bells have always been, and will continue to be a cherished part of community life.”
How You Can Participate in this Project
Dedicate a bell in honor or memory of someone important in your life.
Make a general donation to the project.
For more information, please contact Trinity’s office at 408 293-7953 or [email protected]