Christmas Eve 2022 Handbells in Hendersonville

Join the festive Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist at St. James Episcopal church online via Facebook or YouTube, or if you are near Hendersonville, NC, join in person. The 8 p.m. EST service will be a traditional festal Eucharist with choir, trumpet, handbells, sung liturgy, incense, and candlelight.

This service will include a Willis Bodine original composition: a new arrangement of “Lo, How A Rose E’re Blooming” for six handbells and solo flute. The Handbell Choir is directed by Linda Hill, the flautist is Paul Doebler (Juilliard graduate and church choir member) and the presentation will be conducted by Brad Gee, director of music ministries.

View the performance:

Preces and Responses

My 2011 Preces and Responses for the Anglican service of Evening Prayer was sung on November 22, 2022, as part of Evensong for St. Andrew’s Day at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Florida. The excellent choir is conducted by John Lowe. They had premiered the work in 2016, so 2022 is the second “season” of their using the setting for Evensong at the UF Chapel of the Incarnation and Holy Trinity’s St Andrew’s Day and Feast of the Epiphany services.

View the complete service on Youtube (and enjoy all the Scottish dancing, and the bagpipes . . .).

View the Preces (1 minute 15 seconds)

View the Responses (7 minutes 15 seconds)

A world premiere of Prelude to Act One of Tristan und Isolde! Feb. 15, 2020

World premieres happen very seldom around the University of Florida, and even less often in my own life. But I am really excited about a new work to be heard for the first time this Saturday, February 15th, beginning at 6:00 pm at the UF Century Tower, as part of the inaugural season of the 2020 Florida Carillon Festival. The theme for February is love (organized around St. Valentine’s Day), so all of the music follows this idea. 💏

My new work is a carillon transcription for cast-bell carillon of the Prelude to Act One of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, which contains the “Tristan chord” – the most famous chord in Western musical history. Wagner’s opera is one of the most complete musical representations of love’s human facets. It has amazed music theorists and listeners alike since 1858 when the work was completed. The performer on Saturday evening will be the eminent Dutch carillonneur Roy Kroezen*, recently appointed as Carillonneur of the Centralia Carillon in Centralia, Illinois. You are invited — and will find generous seating areas, including chairs, on the north side of the tower.

*Roy Kroezenis originally from The Netherlands, where he spent 22 years as a musician and organist. He studied carillon at the Netherlands Carillon School in Amersfoort,as well in Belgium and holds a masters degree in carillon, organ and choir conducting. Kroezen was appointed carillonneur of the Centralia Carillon(Illinois) in 2016. He is also organist at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Mount Vernon, Illinois, and the Fox Theater in St. Louis, Missouri.


Twice Twain Ten for Two

On September 22, 2019, current and former carillon students along with Laura Ellis performed a concert commemorating the 40th anniversary of the installation of the Century Tower carillon.

From the event program:

Willis Bodine, UF Professor of Music (1959-2003) & University of Florida University Organist and Carillonneur, emeritus, composed “Twice Twain Ten for Two: A celebratory toccata-duet for the 40th anniversary of the Century Tower Carillon 1979-2019”. The composer’s prefatory notes to the work outline multiple references to the number 40, including:“twain ten” (the early Anglo-Saxonversion of “twenty”) is doubled by “twice” to make 40; several musical themes are drawn from the 1570 motet Spem in allum for 40 voices written by Thomas Tallis (c1505-1585); the work employs a 5/8 time signature; and, the total number of fingers and toes used by the two performers number 40.

Watch the piece performed by Laura Ellis and two students: Kiko Labayen and John Kemmerer, broadcast on Facebook Live.

[Read story about the event in The Gainesville Sun]

Oral History Transcripts

The University of Florida Oral History Collection is part of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and is an affiliated program of the University of Florida’s Department of History. Its collections include approximately 4,000 interviews and more than 85,000 pages of transcribed material, making it the largest oral history archive in the South and one of the major collections in the country.

There are two interviews with Willis Bodine:

1987 interview by Janet Graham
1992 interview by H.G. Young

Century Tower Carillon Throwback to 1979 (video)

Report on the Spring 1979 installation of the Century Tower Carillon on the campus of the University of Florida, made possible by UF Student Activity fees accumulated over several years. Some of the installation process is shown, including hoisting bells into the tower. Willis Bodine, UF Professor of Music and University Carillonneur, briefly demonstrates the method of playing a carillon. He says the role of this carillon in campus life could best be described by a Latin inscription cast into the “bourdon” bell (69” in diameter, weighing over 3½ tons) — the translation is: “Call together those who are studious of all good things both human and divine.”  Bodine is shown with Budd Udell, Chair of the Department of Music, and Joseph Sabatella, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, as they view this largest bell on the ground in front of the tower.  The completed instrument was dedicated on Monday, May 14, 1979, in two recitals given by Milford Myhre, longtime Carillonneur of the famous Bok Tower Carillon in Lake Wales, Florida.


Special thanks to the University of Florida Digital Collections at the George A Smathers Libraries for providing this footage.

July 22, 2018 in St. Paul, MN: Requiescat in pace (Soliloquy on September 11th)

My carillon piece, Requiescat in pace (Soliloquy on September 11th will be played at 4:00 pm on Sunday, July 22nd, at House of Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Paul MN, as part of their summer carillon series. The artist is Kimberly Shafer, carillonneur of St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church in Chicago IL, and national editor of The Bulletin published by the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. She has also founded Chicago Bell Associates to promote the instrument.

My composition was written in 2003 for my September 11th  dedication recital, as the UF Century Tower Carillon was expanded to its full range of 61 bells.  Although I had already retired from UF, Laura Ellis kindly invited me to play this program.

Shafer was a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin (2002-10). While there she greatly expanded activity for the UT Kniker Carillon, for which I had played the dedication recital in 1987. Since my father, my sister, my wife Anna and I are  all “Texas Exes,” and since Austin is my home town, I now especially enjoy all these “small world” family connections.  My sister-in-law and her husband still live in south Austin; and the UT tower chime in the ’30s was the first bell instrument I had ever heard [Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel carillon was the second, when we lived in its shadow during 1941 . . .].