NAPERVILLE, Ill. (December 27, 2005) – When the ball drops from high atop the Millennium Carillon at midnight, January 1st, signaling the New Year and the start of Naperville’s 175th anniversary, residents can look forward to another milestone in their community – completion of the tower housing this extraordinary musical instrument and a chance to tour its interior in fall.
Final construction of the 160-foot concrete and steel tower, which houses one of four “grand carillons” among the 600 in the world, is scheduled to begin in March, weather permitting. Although the Carillon’s 72 bells have been ringing melodic since it was dedicated the week of July 4, 2000, access to the public has been restricted due to the tower remaining a construction site.
Completion of the interior is expected in summer 2006. A formal dedication is planned for the end of September, when residents and visitors will be able to behold the splendor of Naperville from the 136-foot observation deck of the city’s latest crown jewel.
“The opening of Moser Tower to the public in 2006 will be the latest testament of the ongoing civic pride that has brought this city Centennial Beach, Naper Settlement, the Century Walk and the Riverwalk,” said Brien Nagle, chairman of the Millennium Carillon Foundation.
The second-ever ball drop at the Carillon, attended by hundreds last year and expected to draw an even bigger crowd this Saturday night, will begin with a concert at 11:30 p.m., “Music for Grand Celebrations,” ushering in the beginning of Naperville’s 175th Anniversary year. Naperville Carillonneurs Sue Bergren and Tim Sleep will perform waltzes, duets and classical and popular music. Mayor George Pradel and the Carillon’s six-ton “Big Joe” bell will lead the countdown to 2006, and then a rousing bout of “Auld Lang Syne” and “Happy Birthday” to Naperville.
Complimentary hot chocolate will be served, courtesy of Belgio’s Catering of Naperville, along with birthday cake provided by the Carillon Foundation. For those less willing to brave the cold, a warm-up station at the Eatery by the paddleboat pond, just east of the Carillon, will be open and provide a great view.
In case of inclement weather, residents can determine the status of the New Year’s Eve program by calling the Carillon’s hotline number, (630) 482-4239. In addition to general parking garage facilities and designated parking areas, parking is available at Centennial Beach off Jackson Avenue; Rotary Hill off Aurora Avenue; Naperville Central High School on Aurora Avenue; and the top level of the Municipal Center Parking Garage.
The revelry will continue on New Year’s Day. Following the city’s electric light parade at 5:30 p.m. and a spectacular, 35-minute fireworks display at the base of Moser Tower, celebrants will be treated to a Carillon concert that will include composer George Frideric Handel’s “Royal Fireworks Suite.”
“The Millennium Carillon will ring in the city’s 175th anniversary and then continue to augment the year-long jubilee by participating in the holiday parades, hosting the Carillon’s annual Summer Recital Series and the first tours of the tower,” Nagle said.
“The tower will be closed for winter,” he added, “but 2007 promises another remarkable season for visitors to enjoy this world class instrument, its bells and clavier, and the panorama of Naperville.”
About the Millennium Carillon Foundation
The Millennium Carillon Foundation is an Illinois not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to create a cultural cornerstone that is a living commemorative of the Naperville Spirit. The Millennium Carillon exists today because of the generous gifts of time and financial resources of thousands of Naperville residents and businesses. Donations are still being accepted by the Foundation at (630) 527-2188 to continue to enhance Moser Tower, the Millennium Carillon and surrounding grounds.