Saturday June 26 marks the 200th anniversary of the invention of the Ellacombe apparatus for playing chimes. The TWU chime joins over 135 chimes in churches, schools and other locations in a global celebration of bell ringing. Starting at noon in New Zealand and proceeding westward around the globe, bells have been rung at noon in multiple time zones finally arriving here in the Pacific Time Zone, the last stop of the celebration.

An on campus concert, showcasing the chime’s repertoire will start at 11:45 on Saturday.  (Livestream info TBA)  The  program will include a selection of pre-recorded melodies, you will hear them as they were first performed by musicians in the Netherlands and by TWU students Danica Steenkamp and Chloe Thiessen.

TWU Chime Concert in Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Ellacombe Apparatus for Playing Bells

Date & Time:          June 26, 2021  | 11:30 am
Location:                Norma Marion Alloway Library, TWU Langley campus
Livestreamed:        TWU Library Instagram           

The 17-minute concert will feature a wide selection of tunes played by TWU music major Chloé Thiessen, including pop, classical, and hymns, plus versions of the hymn tune Ellacombe.

What you will hear

The campus bells can be heard over 300 meters away from the campanile (bell tower.) Depending on your sensitivity to loud noises, you may enjoy hearing the concert on the grassy area near the tower, or under some trees. Echoes and reverberations will be more noticeable if you are close to a solid surface such as a wall or pavement. There is something to be enjoyed in hearing the final, lingering reverberations close to the campanile!

 Westminster chime (11:45 AM) 

 Ellacombe 2  18C tune Arranged and performed by Chloe Thiessen

 Jingle Bells. J.L Pierpont (1822-1893)

Trumpet Voluntary  J.Stanley (1712-1786)

Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 (Midsommarvaka). Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960)


Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head. Burt Bacharach (1928 -) / Hal David (1921-2012)

Trumpet Tune in C major, ZT 697. Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Amazing Grace (New Britain). Traditional 19th C

Finlandia, Op. 26. Jean Sibelius (1865-1920.) Arranged by Danica Steenkamp

 The Holy City. Michael Maybrick alias Stephen Adams (1841 – 1913)

Abide with me (Eventide). William Henry Monk (1823-1889)

Minuet: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, third movement. W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

Paloma Blanca. George Baker (1944-)

Heidenröslein. Franz Lehár (1870-1948)

 12 o’clock chime

Ellacombe 3. 18C tune. Arranged and performed by Chloe Thiessen

A Murmuration (for Erica Grimm).  Composed and performed by Chloe Thiessen


We can’t help but hope that the Reverend Henry Ellacombe would approve of the electronic device used to sound the chimes at TWU. After all, the story goes that the 19th century cleric grew tired of the unruly gang of bell ringers in his English parish, and so he used some ropes and pullies and created an apparatus to enable one sober soul to do the work of six or more strong men.

Smaller than his pulpit Bible, the Apollo II bell controller housed in Alloway Library has nearly 100 tunes in its memory and plays the campus chime three times a day, without fail, regardless of the weather.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Reverend Ellacombe’s device, TWU student Chloe Thiessen was selected to create an arrangement of the tune that bears Ellacombe’s name.

Just a day after attending her online graduation service (COVID-19 precluded the usual pomp and circumstance of graduating) Thiessen performed arrangements on a keyboard connected to the Apollo II controller.

Now, her compositions and performances are stored digitally; Ellacombe has become part of the campus chime playlist and, with the touch of a few buttons at the control panel, electronic circuits trigger the clappers to strike the bells and let the music flow out just as she played it.

TWU’s chime stands in a freestanding 15.25 metre campanile adjacent to Norma Marion Alloway Library and holds 15 bells cast by the Netherlands’ renown Royal Eijsbouts foundry.

Dedicated on March 27, 2000, the chime, tower, and surrounding garden were a gift from the Alloway family in memory of Norma, a writer and handbell ringer.

Her words now appear on plaques in the garden including: Bell ringing is a river of harmony; and What music lingers in the air because of our journey?” Most prominent, is a third quote that runs around the southwest face of the tower: “YOU SOUND OUT THE WORDS OF THE LORD,” which are from Saint Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, not directly from Alloway’s pen.

We think Reverend Ellacombe would approve.