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Associate Carillonneur Exam

I. Introduction

The Associate Carillonneur Exam evaluates a candidate's skills at an intermediate level utilizing carillon repertoire of moderate difficulty. It is designed for GCNA Associate Members who would like recognition from the GCNA and professional feedback.

Candidates submit recordings of music performed on their own instruments, which may be of any size, including a two-octave instrument. Candidates are not required to perform an examination recital at Congress.

In addition to the performance requirement, there are two written components: carillon history and concert program design.

Applications are accepted throughout the year.

II. Requirements

A. Audio Recordings

Submit audio recordings of two pieces from the lists of required pieces below, plus other pieces of comparable or greater difficulty, for a total of 10-15 minutes of music.

The required pieces are all published in books that can be ordered from the GCNA: Playing the Carillon: An Introductory Method and The Belmont Book, Volume II. *

Do not submit compositions, arrangements, transcriptions or improvisations that you have created.

Required pieces for three- or four-octave instruments

These pieces can all be found in Playing the Carillon: An Introductory Method, by John Gouwens. The handling, pedaling and tempo marks added by the editor need not be followed.

Choose two from the following.

*Second Prelude, by Theophil Rusterholz, p. 18 in the 2017 edition (p. 14 in the 2010 edition)
*Pedal Aria, by John Gouwens, p. 26 (p. 20)
*Sarabande, by Ronald Barnes, p. 28 (p. 22)
*Slow Dance, by Roy Hamlin Johnson, p. 30 (p. 24)
*Pastel in Bronze, by Albert Gerken, p. 44 (p. 38)
Three Short Pieces: Waltz, by John Gouwens, p. 54 (p. 48)
De Gruytters Carillon Book: Andante, by Joseph-Hector Fiocco, p. 68 (p. 62)
*Suite No. 1: Sonorities, by John Courter, p. 70 (p. 64)
Seven Modal Pieces: Mixolydian Mode, by John Courter, p. 76 (p. 70)
Seven Modal Pieces: Aeolian Mode, by John Courter, p. 78 (p. 72)
De Gruytters Carillon Book: Giga, by François Couperin, p. 82 (p. 76)
Toccata for 42 Bells, by Robert Moore, p. 93 (p. 87)
Prelude V, by Matthias Van den Gheyn, p. 97 (p. 91)
Allegro (Anonymous), p. 109 (p. 103)

*can be played on three-octave instruments

Required pieces for two-octave instruments

These pieces can all be found in The Belmont Carillon Book, Volume II, compiled and edited by Beverly Buchanan in 1994. The handling, pedaling and tempo marks added by the editor need not be followed.

Choose two from the following.

Coronation March, by Clifford Ball, p. 40
Belmont Suite: Prelude, by John Knox, p. 44
Belmont Suite: Final Flourish, by John Knox, p. 48
Festival Prelude, by Gladys Watkins, p. 50
Muss I Denn, Swabian Folk Song, arranged Percival Price, p. 54
Stillness, Russian Folk Melody, arranged Percival Price, p. 62
Marche en Rondeau, by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, p. 77
Rondo, K-13, by W.A. Mozart, p. 86

Recording Tips

Place the microphone(s) in an area where there is good balance for the bell sounds. To avoid keyboard noise, do not place the microphone(s) in the playing room. For additional information, see Helpful information on recording for the carillon.

Before submitting your recording, listen to each piece carefully with the music in front of you. Ask yourself:

  1. Will the judges be able to hear the details of my performance on this recording?
  2. Is my playing musical?
  3. Does the piece actually sound the way I intend it to sound?
  4. Are marks on the music reflected in the recorded performance?
  5. Are the rhythms, dynamics and tempi accurate?
  6. Where might my performance be rated on the Standards For Carillon Performance sheet?

Depending on your answers, you may decide to record some pieces again.

B. Videotape Recording (optional)

You are strongly encouraged to submit a video recording of you performing one of the required pieces. The video recording will not be separately graded. It will be used to provide helpful feedback in relation to performance techniques, posture and positioning at the console. Submitting a video recording will help judges provide better and more useful feedback. Head, body, hands and feet should all be clearly shown at some point in the video. A video recording made on a smartphone is acceptable. The microphone for the video recording may be in the playing room rather than in the bell chamber.

C. History Requirement

Demonstrate your basic knowledge about general history of the carillon (and optionally the history of your own instrument) in a written format. The effort expected is the equivalent of about 2-3 pages of double-spaced text, but you are encouraged to present the information in a format that will be practical and useful to you as a (future) ambassador for the carillon. Examples of presentation formats include:

  1. A summary, outline or time line of general carillon history,
  2. A brochure or a website for your own instrument, including a history of your own instrument and a general history of the carillon (or a supplement to an existing brochure or website that focuses on a particular event),
  3. A script for a tour of your own instrument, including a history of your own instrument and a general history of the carillon, or
  4. FAQ: Answers to questions frequently asked by concert audience members about general carillon history and the history of your own instrument.

You (or your teacher on your behalf) are welcome to contact the committee chair to propose a different presentation format.

Original research is not expected. You may use information in the general carillon history section of Playing the Carillon: An Introductory Method by John Gouwens. (Two-octave carillon players using The Belmont Carillon Book may contact the committee chair to obtain these pages.)

D. Concert Program Design Requirement

Submit two sample programs for recitals of between 30 minutes and 1 hour in length. The music chosen does not have to be music that you already know. The programs must include a short biography.

Programming Tips

  1. Instead of listing single pieces one after another, decide if several could be grouped together using headings such as "Three Folk Songs," "Two Hymns," "Three Dances," "Two Twentieth Century Pieces for Carillon," "Two Pieces by French Composers," etc. You are free to think of other groupings.
  2. Variety in programming helps create interest. One way to provide variety is to avoid programming successive selections in the same key.
  3. Similarly, when possible, program music with different rhythms, keys and tempi.
  4. Plan the beginning and ending pieces of a program carefully. The first piece will set a certain mood: perhaps dramatic, perhaps meditative, etc.
  5. Include composers' names and birth and death year dates (if known) and arrangers' names.
  6. Pieces familiar to general audiences are effective in drawing your listeners into your performance.
  7. Program notes are a good idea, but are not required for the purposes of the exam.

III. The Application And Judging Process

A. Application

At any time of year any Associate Member in good standing with the GCNA may submit an application to the committee chair.

You are not required to keep your identity confidential.

(If you are not already a member of the GCNA, you must first become a member by filling out a membership application and paying your Associate member dues, currently US$40, or US$25 if you are a full-time student.)

A complete application includes:

  1. A completed ACE application
  2. A list of the pieces, with title and composer/arranger
  3. Audio recordings totaling 10-15 minutes of music (a separate audio file/track for each piece)
  4. Video recording of one of the required pieces (optional)
  5. One photocopy or scanned copy of the sheet music for each piece that is not a required piece
  6. Carillon history project
  7. Two sample concert programs, including short biography
  8. The ACE application fee (US$20).

The US$20 ACE application fee can be made via PayPal (preferred) below. Enter your name in the box after "ACE Fee for" and click the Pay Now button. Alternatively, the ACE application fee can be made by check in US$ drawn on a US bank made payable to "The GCNA".

ACE Fee for

All elements of the application can be submitted electronically (preferred) via a cloud service such as Dropbox or iCloud. Either put all the files onto your own cloud account and share a link with the committee chair by email, or contact the committee chair for a Dropbox file request folder link. Alternatively, the files can be burned onto a CD and sent to the committee chair by mail.

B. Judging

Committee members will listen to the audio recordings, and read the history project, the two programs and the biography.

Candidates will pass, fail, or be invited to resubmit some parts of the exam material. (If the committee requests the resubmission of some parts of the exam material, candidates will have two years from the time of their first evaluation report to resubmit. After two years, all submissions will be treated as new applications, requiring complete application material and fee. Prior committee evaluations of any previously submitted material will not necessarily be the same upon resubmission.)

To successfully complete the exam, candidates must pass all requirements including each audio recording that is submitted.

The video recording (if one is submitted) will not be separately graded.

Standards for Carillon Performance is the internal guideline used by the judges to evaluate candidates' performances, but will not be used as a template for the final reported performance evaluation.

Candidates will receive comments and suggestions, if needed, from the judges.

Candidates who meet the standards set by the committee will receive a certificate, suitable for framing, an "AC" code in the GCNA membership directory, and a special announcement of their accomplishment to the membership.

Only the names of those candidates who pass will be released to the GCNA membership.

For more information, contact Committee Chair James Fackenthal at

Associate Carillonneur Exam Committee
Wesley Arai, Linda Dzuris, Laura Ellis and Tin-Shi Tam
James Fackenthal, Chair

* Note: Under special circumstances, you (or your teacher on your behalf) may obtain special permission in writing from the committee chair to substitute required pieces with pieces of comparable or greater difficulty. It is advisable to contact the committee chair far in advance, before recordings are made.

Committee Members

Jim Fackenthal (Chair): Jim Fackenthal began carillon studies at The University of Rochester with David Caldwell in the mid 1980s, then passed the carillonneur’s exam in Ottawa in 1986. He played the two carillons in Bloomington, Indiana, for seven years, then moved to Chicago 1993, where he became the assistant/associate carillonneur at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. He is now a cancer researcher and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Benedictine University, performs carillon recitals throughout the United States, serves as Carillonneur at St. Chrysostom’s Church in Chicago, and is on the carillon performance team for the Naperville Park District. As a member of the GCNA, Fackenthal has served in several capacities, including examination juror, board member, and co-editor of the newsletter “Carillon News.” Jim now proudly serves as the chair of the Associate Carillonneur Exam Committee. He enjoys interacting with carillon students and aspiring performers as they enter the GCNA and share their talents with the wider carillon community.

Wesley Arai: Wesley Arai serves as University Carillonist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he performs regularly on the 61-bell Storke Tower carillon and maintains an active carillon studio. He studied carillon with Jeff Davis at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received BA degrees in Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Music. Wesley received an MA degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles and subsequently became a Carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. An active recitalist, Wesley has performed extensively across the United States and abroad. Most recently, he performed in Australia, gave the dedicatory recital for the carillon at the University of Washington, and was a featured artist at the Eighth Berkeley Carillon Festival, the Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, and the Springfield International Carillon Festival. Wesley is also an annual recitalist at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Washington.

Linda Dzuris: Dr. Linda Dzuris became Clemson’s first University Carillonneur in 1999 and is Chair of the Department of Performing Arts. Additionally, Dzuris is a performance instructor of the North American Carillon School, which was established in 2013 as affiliate and American representative of the Royal Carillon School ‘Jef Denyn’ in Mechelen, Belgium. She received her B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. degrees in organ performance and church music from the University of Michigan. Carillon study was also done in Ann Arbor, MI, with additional study at The Netherlands Carillon School in Amersfoort, NL. Dzuris is a former board member, a current adjudicator on the Associate Carillonneur Evaluation Committee, and a juror on the Carillonneur Exam Committee for the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA).  She has been a featured guest artist in carillon concert series throughout the United States, The Netherlands, France, and Switzerland. In 2017, Dzuris performed concerts on behalf of the GCNA at the 19th World Carillon Federation (WCF) Congress held in Barcelona, Spain and currently serves as a North American delegate to the WCF. American Carillon Music Editions and the Yale Guild of Carillonneurs publish her original carillon compositions.

Laura Ellis: Laura Ellis is Associate Director and Professor in the School of Music at the University of Florida where she teaches carillon, organ, and courses in sacred music. A graduate of Luther College (Decorah, IA), she holds the MM degree in church music and the DMA in organ performance from the University of Kansas. While in residence at KU, she studied carillon with Albert Gerken. She has done additional study with Karel Keldermans. A carillonneur member of the GCNA, Ellis has performed throughout the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, and Australia. For more details about the carillon program at the University of Florida, please visit

Tin-Shi Tam: A celebrated artist on carillon and organ, Tin-Shi Tam has given recitals in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States. She was a featured carillon recitalist at the Festival International de Carillon en Côte d'Or in France, the International Carillon Festival at Bok Tower Gardens in Florida, and the Congresses of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. In 2008, TAM represented the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America to perform at the World Carillon Federation Congress in Groningen, The Netherlands. As an active clinician, TAM has given master classes, lectures and education programs extensively. A selection of her carillon arrangements of Scriabin’s music was published by Nederlandse Klokkenspel-Verenigin, and her carillon compact disk “The Bells of Iowa State” was released in 2004. At present, she is the Charles T. & Ivadelle Cobb Cownie Professor of Music (the university carillonneur) and the chair of the keyboard division at Iowa State University.

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