The carillon of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is an instrument comprising 56 bronze bells. From sacred hymns to folk tunes, from ancient melodies to the contemporary repertory, the bronze voices fill the air in all seasons. Many times a week, its music quietly invades the mountain, never ceasing to thrill passers-by.
The Paccard Bellfoundry of Annecy-le-Vieux in France originally casted the bells for Paris’ Eiffel Tour, but they were never installed there. In 1954, the carillon was loaned to the Oratory for its 50th anniversary. Generous pilgrims later purchased the bells and donated them as a gift to the sanctuary. Although campanological art dates back to the 16 th century, there are only eleven carillons throughout Canada, and the only one in the province of Quebec can be found at Saint Joseph’s Oratory.
Made of a copper and tin alloy, the Oratory’s bells make for an instrument which has a total combined weight of 10 900 kg. The largest bell, which has the lowest sound, weighs 1500 kg while the smallest weighs only 5 kg. Installed outside, beneath the roof of a small tower, the Oratory’s bells are bolted to the campanile’s beams, and do not move. Instead, sound is produced by bell clappers activated by steel cables connected to the interior keyboard where the carillonist sits. To play, the carillonist uses fists or open hand to push the wooden levers, also known as batons, that make up the two rows on the keyboard, and correspond to the black and white notes of a piano keyboard. In addition, there are pedal keys connected to the keyboard’s two lowest octaves.
The natural elements combine with the musician’s talent to shape the sound of the melodies performed. The bells of the Oratory carillon are exposed to wind, snow, rain, humidity, heat and cold. However, nothing stops them.
The main bell: named "Exelia", it rings a D# and weighs 1,360 kg.
Inaugural concert: May 15, 1955 by Émile Vendette
Carillonist: Andrée-Anne Doane
Andrée-Anne Doane, titular Carillonist at Saint Joseph's Oratory, received her musical formation (piano, flute, voice) in Montreal at Vincent-d’Indy School of Music with a collegiate diploma in music and she won a prize with high distinction in voice. Following her bachelor of music degree from L’Université du Québec à Montréal, she continued her vocal study in San Fransisco with Blanche Thebom, in Spoleto Italy with Enza Ferrari, at Lake Placid with Susan Webb, and at Boston’s McClosky Vocal Institute.
The youngest in a family of singers, she was precocious in displaying her musical talent. With her family, she sang at the most prestigious festivals of Québec, as well as in Europe at the Festival of Vienna, and the Festival of Coburg, Germany. The Quintette Vocal de la Famille Laferrière-Doane (the Laferrière-Doane Family Vocal Quintet) performed numerous recitals in Montréal, made recordings for radio and television of Radio-Canada, and recorded a number compact discs under the SNE label.
For several years, she taught Introduction to Music courses at Vincent d‘Indy school, all the while holding the post of organist in some parishes in Montreal. Leader of Song for Masses at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount-Royal for five years, since October 2009 she has held the post of titular carillonist at the Oratory, having pursued studies with two renowned carillonists emeriti: Claude Aubin (Montréal) and Andrea McCrady (Peace Tower of Parliament, Ottawa). In June of 2013, she is welcomed into the Guild of Carilloneurs in North America in North America (GCNA).
Eager to pass on her knowledge and love of music, she offers presentations on the carillon for people of all ages who visit Saint Joseph’s Oratory.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM
Saturday: 12:00 PM 2:30 PM
Sunday: 12:15 PM 2:30 PM
No performance in February
In July and August. Event details : "Les grands airs d'été du carillon".