The Franciscan Center of Wilmington has donated seven bells to the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.
The bells are part of a collection called the Bells of Remembrance. They were commissioned by Franciscan brother David Schlatter as a memorial to victims of 9/11. The largest of the bells weighs 1,200 lbs.
Delaware Symphony Orchestra Music Director David Amado says the bells will be useful in certain repertoire, including Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss or Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky. “Something like Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique and those giant tolling bells in the last movement, you can play them on tubular bells and it gives you the idea of what it’s supposed to be, but there’s nothing like the real thing,” said Amado.
“When we play that repertoire, it’s nice to be able to have real bells to fill the bill,” he added. “Rather than tubular bells or a bell plate or something that reminds you of a bell. These are actual bells. ”
Amado notes that owning a set of bells like these is not common for orchestras. “Delaware Symphony is a regional orchestra and the idea that an orchestra of our size can have access to these kinds of instruments is kind of mind-boggling,” he said.
Amado says some of the bells commissioned for the Bells of Remembrance project, while others were repurposed from churches.
Other Bells of Remembrance are going to Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shankesville, Pa.