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Ringing In The 53rd International Carillon Festival This Week


Springfield will play host to a world class music event starting Wednesday.   The International Carillon Festival brings some of the best on the instrument to Washington Park.  

Springfield Park District Carillonneur Robin Austin will be among the performers, along with Christian McWhirter, who researched music to be performed Wednesday night, a program titled "Lincoln and the Music He Loved."

"We're very lucky," Austin said.  Springfield has 1 of only 180 carillons in the U.S.  "Senator Thomas Rees, who passed away in 1933, left his entire estate to the Springfield Park District to build this carillon. We're very thankful for that."

Some of the best carillonneurs have played the festival.  "We are considered one of the premier festivals in the world," he said.

McWhirter researched music that Lincoln would have heard.  "They're all going to be popular tunes for the most part," McWhirter said. "A lot of sentimental songs. Lincoln was very big on sentimental ballads that were very popular in the 19th Century.  Those that know about Lincoln know about him telling jokes, and that was reflected in his taste in music."

McWhirter said the rumors were he liked ones with bawdy lyrics.  "We don't have any of these, none of them survived that Lincoln liked."  

The festival runs Wednesday-Sunday. 

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