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Norwood's Ringing of the Bells

Monday kicks off the town's 2011 Summer Carillon Concert Series.

More than 80 years ago, Norwood residents realized the town needed a feature that would set their home apart from other New England locales. 

The answer: a 50-bell memorial carillon, dedicated Nov. 11, 1928 at Town Hall — 10 years after the conclusion of World War I. A gift from Walter F. Tilton, a Boston banker, more than 10,000 people packed the town's common for its inaugural ringing.

Those who take a stroll though downtown Norwood today still hear the bells sounding, years later.

Residents had the opportunity to walk the stairs up to the bell tower Thursday evening and get a peek at how the large instrument plays. 

Norwood's carillon is operated by a human and not a computer, unlike some, said Lee Leach, a Norwood resident and town carillonneur.

"It does do a lot of good for people to hear the bells in a town like Norwood," he said. "Occasionally, when there are weddings or funerals across the street, they'll ask me to play and I'm more than happy to do that."

In the 1980s, the bells got into a state of some disrepair, but renovations were done to have the bells in their close-to-original form.

This summer begins the town's 26th annual Carillon Concerts on the Common. From 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. each Monday, people can find a seat on the common and listen to the bells — rain or shine. Tours of the bell tower are scheduled after most concerts.

For more information about the concert series and its schedule, visit the town's website.

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