WASHINGTON — Bell ringers from across North America, as well as from the British Isles and Australia, will gather at Washington National Cathedral May 23–26 to mark the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Cathedral’s ten peal bells and of the Gloria in Excelsis tower, the Cathedral’s central tower.

There will be ringing on the bells throughout the weekend, including two full peals (each lasting more than three hours); several quarter-peals; and ringing before and after Sunday’s service of Choral Evensong, which will celebrate the anniversary.

The public is welcome to enjoy the ringing throughout the weekend, which will be audible anywhere on the Cathedral grounds. A detailed schedule will be available on the Cathedral’s website.

What: Celebration of the Peal Bells’ 50th Anniversary
Where: Washington National Cathedral
Schedule of Events

Friday, May 23
6 – 8 p.m. General ringing

Saturday, May 24
11 a.m. Panel discussion: Fifty Years Ago
1:15 – 5 p.m. Peal

Sunday, May 25
12:30 – 3 p.m. Quarter peals
3 – 4 p.m. Service ringing
4 p.m. Festival Evensong
5:15 p.m. Organ recital
6:15 — 8 p.m. General Ringing

Monday, May 26
12 – 4 p.m. Peal

The peal bells of Washington National Cathedral were cast in 1962 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, and in the fall of 1963 they were installed in the Cathedral’s central tower. They were dedicated, along with the tower itself, at services during a full day of festivities on Ascension Day the following spring (Thursday May 7th, 1964). The first peal on the bells was rung two days later (Saturday May 9th, 1964).

The Cathedral’s central tower is one of the only towers in the world to contain two complete sets of bells — the peal bells high up in the tower and beneath them the bells of the Bessie J. Kibbey Carillon.

SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral