Canterbury's Carillon Guild was established in 2018. Canterbury is one of only five high schools to have a carillon in the country (St. Paul's School, NH; St. Mark's School, TX; McDonogh School, MD; and Mercersburg Academy, PA). The Carillon Guild is a class that meets twice a week, where students learn proper playing technique on a practice clavier in the Chapel of Our Lady. Guild members also climb the chapel tower and play the Jose M. Ferrer Memorial Carillon everyday, performing a mix of classical and contemporary arrangements. Additionally, Guild members run a Carillon Club where they teach students to play and offer tours of the tower.
Canterbury has the unique honor of housing one of Connecticut’s eleven Carillons. Located in the Chapel of Our Lady, Canterbury’s Jose M. Ferrer Memorial Carillon was installed in 1931, making it one of the oldest in Connecticut, as well as the smallest, with twenty-three bells. The Carillon was cast by the English foundry of Gillett & Johnston, Croydon, England, and is an excellent example of the small carillons for which the foundry was noted.
The Carillon is a musical instrument that consists of at least twenty-three cast bronze bells in fixed suspension that are tuned in chromatic order (i.e., in half steps) and are capable of concordant harmony when sounded together. Because the Carillon is typically found in the bell tower (or belfry) of a church, it is commonly played from a clavier, or keyboard, containing wooden levers and pedals wired to clappers.