Friday August 24, 2001
Technique - The South's Liveliest College NewspaperFocus

Spotlight on the Campanile: For whom does the bell toll?


The Kessler Campanile is one of Tech’s newest icons, incorporating the traditions of the past with a contemporary emphasis on the future.

By Josh Boutwell Staff Writer

So you’re in. You got accepted to Tech and you’re on your way to surviving one of the most academically challenging institutions in the nation. You slowly emerge from the mental fog of appreciation and find yourself with 60 pounds of books worth a hard-earned $200.

As you struggle back to your new dorm room and a mildly scary roommate, you decide to rest your weary legs by the pleasant fountain in front of the Student Center.

As you sit, you see a gleaming shard of metal piercing the sky. You shrug and think, “Hey, this is a technical school.” As you slowly begin to relax, you suddenly feel the insanity begin to rise again. You hear bells chiming “You Are my Sunshine,” seemingly from nowhere!

Don’t worry, you’re not insane. The Campanile, also affectionately known as the “Shaft,” has a series of speakers in the base which play a variety of songs. The speakers are specially designed to reproduce the carillon “chime” sound of authentic bells.

The Kessler Campanile is an 80-ft tall stainless steel tower that plays carillon version of songs ranging from the “Ramblin’ Wreck” to “You Are My Sunshine.”

Music selection is controlled from the Box Office in the Student Center. Typically, a student by the name of Derrick Brown selects which songs are broadcast to the Tech campus.

But don’t blame him! Two CDs came with the speakers. They contain approximately 100 songs specifically developed to sound on the speakers.

Obviously, students weren’t polled when these CDs were purchased. Students probably wouldn’t have voted on the classic show tunes or Christmas ballads.

Yet there was a system involved to select the music flowing from the fountain. The Student Center actually organized an informal committee of campus members to vote on songs relevant to the Tech community.

Committee members choose a diverse mixture of songs, including ditties that had special meaning to the South, seasonal ensembles, and of course, Tech-themed ballads like “Up With the White and Gold” and the Alma Mater

While “When You Wish Upon the Star” and “The Music of the Night” are all well and good, the administration should maybe think twice about playing songs like “You Are My Sunshine.”

The songs for the Campanile should uplift the mind and spirit and encourage you to tackle chemistry yet again.

Georgia Tech students have many varied opinions on the vocalizations of this monument Danny Hurley, an ECE graduate student who has attended Tech for several years, felt that “the Shaft should be upgraded from bells to THX; then you can use the THX test instead of the whistle and you can play the shaft theme song.”

Other suggestions for appropriate tunes included “We Are the Champions” by Queen, or a few of the more humorous ballads from South Park. Rachel Glover, an AE, felt that the best song for the shaft would be the theme from Mighty Mouse, “Here I come to save the day!”

But don’t worry fellow students, there is hope! While the stereo system used to play the songs is far simpler than the stereos most GT students have in their dorm rooms, it is expandable.

Currently, it contains a six-disk CD player, a few equalizers and a scheduling system. Brown said, “You can play regular CD’s in this system. In fact, one of the other students put in a Nirvana CD and forgot about it.”

The only difficulty with this system is its simplicity. Apparently it cannot handle stereo input, and the music must be converted to mono by throwing away half of the balance.

Since so many Tech students would like greater selection in their shaft music, someone should write a Web interface. Perhaps a system where people can upload MP3s to a server in the Box Office. This machine could then convert the tunes into mono and feed it into the amplifier. This sounds like an excellent senior design project. Any takers?