Recital Schedule 2014

Carillon recitals are given every Sunday from 2pm to 2.45 pm, and every Tuesday from 1pm to 1.45 pm. Visitors may view the recital via a monitor on the western side of the Quadrangle. A tour to see the instrument follows each recital.

Please visit the Carillon Society of Australia website for information on recitals.

100th anniversary of 1914 World War 1 Christmas truce

Christmas Eve
Wednesday 24 December, 19:14


Worldwide Carillons will recall the 100th anniversary of the 1914 World War One Christmas Truce at 19:14 hrs on Christmas Eve 2014

The University of Sydney War Memorial Carillon will join in this special recital, marking the WWI Christmas Eve Truce of 1914. It will be played by Honorary Carillonists Dr Lucy Koe and Edward Grantham.

The recital is free and open to the public.

Historical Background
As darkness descended upon a brutal landscape of trenches and barbed wire, broken earth and decaying corpses, music and songs suddenly replaced the deadly din of bullets and shells along the Western Front.

The sound of carols rising from the German lines prompted curious British, Belgian and French soldiers to raise their heads above the parapet. In the distance they could see the glow of candles on small Christmas trees. Germans were also seen peering back. No shots were fired. Tantalisingly, some soldiers raised their heads higher. The men exchanged salutations. Enemies inched closer and eventually met. They shook hands, agreeing a truce for the following day.

On Christmas morning they met again. They held joint religious services and they helped to bury each other’s dead. Throughout the day they shared tea and coffee, wine, beer and cognac, chocolate and food sent from home. They swapped cap badges and buttons, showed one another photographs of their families and loved ones. They even posed for photographs. They played soccer and had bicycle races.

British historian Piers Brendon called it “the most extraordinary celebration of Christmas since those notable goings-on in Bethlehem.”

To recall this remarkable moment of hope and humanity, many of the 600 carillons around the world will ring out at 19:14 hours on Christmas Eve, beginning with “Silent Night”, a Christmas carol sung simultaneously in three languages during the Christmas Eve Truce.

Messines, Belgium was at the heart of the 1914 Christmas Truce and increasingly is being recognised as the City of the Christmas Truce. Messines Peace Carillon is a collection of bells, donated from all over the world, pealing for Peace every day.