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Hardy Tower Music Honors Sandy Hook Victims

An original composition will ring from SDSU's bell tower in memory of the victims of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy.
Hardy Tower
Hardy Tower
Benjamin Wheeler, 6, son of SDSU alumnus David Wheeler, was among the victims of the Connecticut tragedy.
Benjamin Wheeler, 6, son of SDSU alumnus David Wheeler, was among the victims of the Connecticut tragedy.

Every Friday morning, beginning today through Mar. 29, the Fletcher 204-bell carillon housed in Hardy Memorial Tower at San Diego State University will ring in memory of the 26 victims of the Dec. 14, 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

SDSU carillonneur Terry O’Donnell, has created an original composition, “Tower Music for Sandy Hook” dedicated to the Sandy Hook victims and their families.

O’Donnell, an emeritus professor of music and theatre, wrote the composition in three brief sections that include a flourish of bells based on a five-note musical motif.

The Memorial Toll will sound 26 strikes beginning at 9:50 a.m. on Fridays, followed by a 9:56 a.m. tower-music tribute. The composition will also sound at 9:26 a.m. on Thursdays.

SDSU family

The victims of the Connecticut tragedy included Benjamin Wheeler, the 6-year old son of SDSU alumnus David Wheeler.  A manuscript copy of the composition that lists a dedication to all of the Sandy Hook victims was sent to the Wheeler family.

Benjamin was born on Sept. 12, 2006.   His family described him as a bright and spirited boy, who loved soccer, swimming, The Beatles, lighthouses and anything that interested his older brother, Nate. 

Carillon tradition

The daily ringing of the carillon is one of SDSU’s oldest traditions. The carillon repertoire includes a number of musical dedications to selected administrators, faculty and staff who have made unique or memorable contributions to the university.

Other dedications include musical scores for the 1997 SDSU Centennial, the 2008 Dedication of the restored and completed instrument and for victims of September 11.

O’Donnell has served as university carillonneur since 1963.

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