Mitchell Stecker (BM ’14) spent the spring semester studying at the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn” in Mechelen, Belgium. The largest, oldest and most well-respected school of its kind, the school had some 60 students enrolled during the 2014-15 school year, together representing more than a dozen nationalities. Having at its disposal the three carillon towers of the city of Mechelen, through the Carillon School, Stecker was able to perform regularly on all of the instruments in town, including the 49-bell carillon in the tower of St. Rombout’s Cathedral. He followed a full course load, including performance (under the instruction of Eddy Marien), improvisation, composition and campanology. The school afforded him the ability to travel to various sites of campanological importance throughout Europe, including the opportunity to see bells for a new carillon being cast at the Royal Eijsbouts Bellfoundry in Asten, the Netherlands—the same foundry that cast the 61 bells of the Century Tower Carillon at UF.
Stecker returns to Gainesville this semester to pursue a Master of Music degree in musicology with a secondary concentration in sacred music, and he looks forward to once again performing regularly in Century Tower.