WHITE SPRINGS — Looking to keep the bells ringing in the carillon bell tower, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park’s auditorium was filled with the sounds of The Currys on Sunday.
More than 100 people attended the state park’s Citizen Support Organization’s “Save Our Bells” event at the auditorium, where it was moved due to technical issues at the Heritage Tourism Center.
The Currys, a folk trio that originated in Florida but are currently based in Charlottesville, Va., donated their time and talents after performing Saturday in Tallahassee.
“It’s good to be here, it’s good to have things that bring us all together, things that remind us of our shared history,” the group said after their performance. “Restoring the bells is something that we hope gets accomplished, and are glad to play a part in helping that become a reality.”
Within the last year the bell tower at Stephen Foster has undergone repairs due to electrical damage from a storm. Once renovations started it was noticed that there was asbestos found in between the bell covers and the bells of the bell tower.
The bells have been both an attraction and a historic part of the Stephen Foster State Park, it’s 97-bell carillon is one of the largest musical instruments ever to be produced, and the largest tubular carillon in number of bells, which was installed during the summer of 1958.
With Stephen Foster State Park being centered around its folk culture, the carillon bell tower’s melody rings uniquely throughout the park with the sounds that serve as a reminder of the community’s nature and history in folk culture music, familiar to those who know the history behind the Suwannee River and the geology of Northern Florida.
During Sunday’s event, which started at 4 p.m. and lasted several hours, The Currys sang with accompaniment of their guitars, bass and mandolin for several songs.
The crowd in attendance enjoyed the music, with their feet tapping as well as their hands, legs and heads as they listened to The Currys play.
“It’s good to be back, not just to see the people, and share our music with them, but to connect with them through the things that bring us all together,” the group added.
Tickets were sold for $20 per person, and with more than 100 attendees, the CSO gained funding to put towards the restoration of the carillon bell tower. Donations, which are tax-deductible, can still be made to support the Restoration of the Carillon Bell Tower at Stephen Foster Park.
The CSO is an organization dedicated to helping the Stephen Foster State Park in efforts to increase the participation from the local community in the park. Funds raised by the CSO membership funds go towards maintaining and expanding programs, events, exhibits and facilities within the park, along with managing, preserving and protecting the natural and cultural resources located within the park and community, and helping make the park an integral part of the community life in White Springs and surrounding areas.
For more information and donations for the restoration of the carillon bell tower, contact the CSO at 386-397-2733.