|WCF WORLD CONGRESS 2002 IN COBH|
COBH - The thirteenth congress of the World Carillon Federation took place in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, from Sunday July 28 to Thursday August 1, 2002. A visit to University College Cork was included in the programme. The British Carillon Society acted as host of the Congress. The theme of the congress was "The Carillon and the Music of the People". This was the first occasion that this now biannual event took place in Ireland or Great Britain.
Hylke Banning ______________________________________________
Cobh is particularly known as the point of departure of the many emigrant ships to the United States. In 1912 Cork Harbour was the last port of call of the "Titanic" before the flagship of the White Star Line started its first trans-Atlantic crossing, collided with an iceberg and sank, as a result of which 1,503 people perished. Three years later, in 1915, the British liner "Lusitania" of the Cunard Line was torpedoed near the south coast of Ireland by a German submarine. In all, 1,198 persons on board found a watery grave. Tragic events that definitely left their mark on Cobh. The inhabitants are daily reminded of these disasters through the two memorials in the town centre.
CARILLON OF ST. COLMAN'S CATHEDRAL
Dr. John Magee, Bishop of Cloyne, and Professor G.T. Wrixon, President of University College Cork, were the Congress patrons. Bishop Magee showed his appreciation for the WCF Congress taking place in Cobh in that he himself officiated at a special Mass on the opening day of the Congress. Representatives of various national carillon associations participated in this impressive Mass in reciting selected texts. During the offertory procession, the Bishop was "symbolically" presented with a small bell from the board of the British Carillon Society.
The official opening of the Congress took place in the Sirius Arts Centre in the presence of the Mayor of Cobh and many dignitaries. During the hearty welcome many different drinks and refreshments were served. About 170 participants had registered, among them more than 100 carillonneurs.
Inevitably, not all recitals were equally appreciated by the delegates and occasionally the playing or the repertoire was considered unsatisfactory by some. Whereas there were a few quatre mains performances and one very much appreciated concert by carillonneur Rosemarie SeuntiŽns on the (travelling) carillon incorporating four arrangements for carillon and a (tape-recorded) orchestra, it was perhaps a pity that the Congress programme could not have included more performances presenting the carillon in an unconventional way.
The carillon in the tower was best listened to from the lawn in front of the Scout Hall. There everyone could also supply themselves with coffee. The roof of the Commodore Hotel was also a good listening spot. Unfortunately, the weather during the Congress was frequently dull and rainy.
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK
Luc Rombouts investigated the origin of the word "carillon" and found some unexpected meanings and wordings. David Shayt, employed by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, made a plea for the adding of a carillon to the memorial that is going to be erected on Ground Zero in New York in memory of the victims of the attack on the buildings of the World Trade Center. Though some time was given after the six lectures for the audience to ask questions, a longer period would have been welcome.
Before and after the lectures and during the lunch the travelling carillon of Royal Eijsbouts was set up on the inner court of the university buildings. At that place the conference participants, seated on the grass, and a lot of passers-by were presented with several recitals.
Receptions and dinners usually happen in the Aula Maxima. But because this hall was in the process of renovation, the reception and Congress banquet took place in the main restaurant of the university. Bishop Magee and President Wrixon were the special guests of the evening. All members of the organizing committee were also present at this dinner. These were, besides Adrian Gebruers and his wife Elizabeth Gebruers, Professor David Cox, his wife Roslyn Cox, Kevin O'Donovan, Frank Walley and Father Donal O'Mahony. The evening went by in an extremely harmonious atmosphere and ended late with the singing of a large number of national songs of the countries represented by the members of the WCF.
The Fleming Marc Van Eyck recorded a video of the passage by boat of the travelling carillon from France to Ireland, sponsored by Royal Eijsbouts and the Irish Ferries, and the subsequent round trip of the travelling carillon through several Irish cities and villages in the south. This video was shown on the last evening in Cobh. Responses and comments of the public on the appearance of this unfamiliar instrument were remarkable.
There was an open forum discussion on Monday about the new Keyboard 2000 led by Bob van Wely, chair of the WCF keyboard committee. Various carillons have been equipped with the new keyboard that was designed by Richard Strauss.
Also the selling of books, CD's and sheet-music took place in the Cobh Parish Centre and in the Jack Doyle Room of the Commodore Hotel. However, the supply was somewhat less compared to previous congresses, probably because the representatives of Dutch publishers were strangely enough absent.
Earlier that week delegates were given the opportunity to explore Cobh Harbour on a boat trip. Also, the Cobh Heritage Centre was a most rewarding visit. In bygone days, emigrants departed from this building for America. Images and sounds in this museum give the visitor an impression of the scenes that took place in those days around the departure of these emigrants.
The fireworks display planned as a closing of the Congress was cancelled. The weather was anyhow not suitable. An alternative "firework" was displayed by two fire-floats from Cork Harbour which, drifting in a dense fog in front of Cobh waterfront, demonstrated the power of their water cannons.
It is a fact that Adrian Gebruers has undertaken an arduous task in organizing this thirteenth world congress. He was not only the President of the WCF, but also Honorary President of the British Carillon Society, chair of the organizing committee, and carillonneur of Cobh. For the way he performed that task he was thanked by Vice-President Andreas Friedrich during the final general meeting, which was greeted with a prolonged applause.