At 64 tons, the Cathedral’s 53-bell Kibbey Carillon is the third-heaviest in the world. The smallest bell weighs 17 pounds, and the heaviest weighs 12 tons and measures more than eight feet in diameter.
The carillon was manufactured by the John Taylor Bellfoundry of Loughborough, England, and dedicated on September 22, 1963.
Each of the carillon bells is connected by a taut steel cable to a clavier (keyboard), which is nestled in the tower 15 stories above the nave floor. When played, the clavier strikes the insides of the stationary bells. The carillon can be played like a very large piano, allowing the carillonneur to play familiar melodies as well as distinctive patterns of music.
Edward Nassor is the Cathedral’s carillonneur. In addition to teaching duties at a northern Virginia school, Ed also plays the Netherlands Carillon near Arlington National Cemetery.