This past Sunday, the Memorial Bell Tower played selected carillons in memory of A.S. Cleveland “Cleve” Fuller ’45, who passed away last March. In honor of their long history with the school, Fuller’s family requested the school to play a memorial carillon on Easter Sunday, the same day that his family gathered in New York City for a memorial.
Grace Curley, Director of Gift Planning, said, “[His son] Charles Fuller, Class of 1975, called over to the school and asked us if it would be alright to have what he referred to as a ‘memorial carillon’ played in memory of his father in recognition of the long relationship with the school that the family has had.”
Abbey Siegfried, School Organist and Instructor in Music, and Paige Busse ’19 played several different selections for the carillons, including some that had been played for the bell tower’s first performance in 1923. Both Busse and Siegfried played on and off for twenty to thirty minutes each, between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.
While the Fuller family did not request any specific songs, they asked that the songs be memorable and happy, according to Curley.
Curley said that the carillons had special significance to Charles, who attended Andover as a student.
“He remembers hearing carillons from the time that he was here as a student. [He] didn’t want to dictate to us which songs to play, but just wanted it to be something beautiful and joyful for the families time of thinking about their dad,” says Curley.
It was important for the family that the memorial was played in the Bell Tower because of their family connection with it. Cleve’s father, Samuel Lester Fuller, Class of 1894, had gifted 75,000 dollars to the school to fund the building of the Memorial Bell Tower, which broke ground in 1922.
Curley says, “I think he felt that it was not necessarily a highly useful facility to build, because it couldn’t house kids, it wasn’t a classroom. But he…and the school felt that it would be an important memorial.”
As an alumnus and war veteran after the ending of World War I, Samuel was moved to create a bell tower on campus because of his experience both at Andover and in service.
“I think during the time that he was in the service, he had also heard beautiful bell concerts that were being played from different church bells across Europe, particularly maybe in Italy,” said Curley.
Fuller decided to dedicate the Memorial Bell Tower to the 85 Andover men who had lost their lives in battle. During World War I, the plot of land on which the Bell Tower stands now was the Training Field. The site was chosen for its symbolic and sentimental value.
The Bell Tower was renovated in 2005 after severe water and rust damage on the tower’s infrastructure, causing the tower to be out of commission for a year. Since the rebuilding, the tower has been functioning on a regular basis.
Since the renovation, the Bell Tower is now equipped with a mini-type keyboard that is a weighted piano keyboard on the first floor, which is how the carillons were played on Sunday, according to Curley.