Southern Miss Carillon – Group Spotlight

Posted By Derek Nance on Aug 1, 2013 |

Editors note: This is a recap of Handbell Choir Mondays over on the I Love Handbells Facebook page.  Go check out all the fun handbell stuff Tiara finds there!
Founded in 1985 by Dr. Larry D. Smith, Carillon consists of 10 to 14 ringers selected annually by campus-wide auditions. The ensemble performs 20 to 25 concerts annually for local to international audiences.  Having toured throughout the United States, Carillon performs a wide range of handbell literature consisting of familiar church hymns, traditional classical arrangements, and original compositions for handbells.  In the 28 years of concerts Carillon has performed in 25 states of the United States of America and 14 foreign countries or republics. They have performed the opening concert for the National Convention of the Handbell Musicians of America on four different occasions.

I just learned an awesome “interesting fact” about Southern Miss Carillon!  “When Dr. Smith founded our group he knew absolutely nothing about bells. Towards the end of his first year teaching at USM, the head of the School of Music called him in and basically said, ‘You know about church and stuff, so you must know about bells. We have a brand new 5 octave set of bells, go start a group.'”

How awesome is that!!? Great job, Dr. Larry Smith!  Thank you, Samantha Slayton, for that awesome fact!


One of the best performances I’ve seen! Look at those bass bells dance! More on that later!


Southern Miss Carillon’s bass ringers are astonishing! They even make their own choreography to help each other out when necessary. Apart from all that “dancing” being appealing to the eyes, their sound is amazing! They know what they’re doing, and it looks like so much fun!

I asked a member of their choir how hard was it to make the choreography, and who made it. She told me that “it took them quite some time to work it out”, and that it was indeed made by them! How awesome is that?

Touring in Puerto Rico

This last video I will be posting for today’s Handbell Choir Monday is very close to home! The reason I chose it is because they are ringing in Puerto Rico, my hometown!  Also, they explain that “at the invitation of the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, Carillon played solo and joint concerts with the University’s handbell choir and jazz band”.  I’m a member of that choir!  In the picture slide, some of my friends come up with them!  It’s very enriching to see how handbell choirs from different parts of the world can share amazing moments like these.

They show us that it doesn’t matter where we are from, it’s important to go out and see the world, share this art with others, and meet other members of this wonderful community!  Also, the factor “teamwork” is very evident in this choir. Dr. Larry D. Smith has done an amazing job with his students. Bravo!

Thanks to Tiara for sharing her research with us!  If you want your group featured, email her at