North American Carillon School
North American Carillon School

Affiliate of the
Royal Carillon School "Jef Denyn", Mechelen, Belgium
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Instructors who have successfully routed students through the various examination levels in the past 7 years:
Frank DellaPenna, Roaming USA
Cast in Bronze was created to bring the haunting beauty of the carillon to more listeners by demonstrating its versatility with other instruments. This objective has been accomplished through live performances with live musicians, recordings, and solo performances accompanied by musical tracks. 
The carillon is played by a silent and masked "spirit of the bells" that appears only to breathe life into the instrument for the performance. The "spirit" and creator of Cast in Bronze, Frank DellaPenna, began his studies in Valley Forge, PA, with Frank Pechin Law and is the first American graduate of the French Carillon School located in Tourcoing, France, where he studied with Jacques Lannoy.
Cast in Bronze has been invited to perform for Pope John Paul II, a Presidential Inauguration, Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, for top name recording artists and at numerous music, art, and renaissance festivals throughout the U.S..  The music of Cast in Bronze has been heard on radio and television including a special Christmas Eve performance on the NBC "Today" Show.      
The original carillon of Cast in Bronze consists of 35 bells with a total weight of four tons. It is played by a modified keyboard with the fists and feet. It is the only musical act of its kind in the world, and the only carillon in history solely supported by listeners.  Due to increased demand for Cast in Bronze performances, DellaPenna and his wife, Anne, built another traveling carillon of 35 bells to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Cast in Bronze.  Both instruments are on tour.
DellaPenna has recorded several CD’s, an award winning DVD, and has most recently completed a two hour musical entitled, “The Bells”.  For more information and schedule of performances, please visit:
John Gouwens, Culver, IN
John Gouwens has been Organist and Carillonneur of The Academies (in addition teaching piano students) at the Culver Academies since fall of 1980. He has four CD recordings of the organ and carillon at Culver available at present (with more in the planning stages). He also plays and teaches carillon on an adjunct basis at Ball State University and Indiana University. 
Gouwens is noted for his improvisation skills, on the organ and on the carillon, and has given presentations for several chapters of the American Guild of Organists and for annual congresses of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America on this subject. He also won a carillon improvisation contest at the 1983 GCNA congress, the first such competition held by that organization. In 2004, he hosted the annual congress of the GCNA at Culver, having done so also in 1985. 
He is active as a composer, primarily for carillon, with works published by the Royal Carillon School Jef Denyn in Mechelen, American Carillon Music Editions, and The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. He has some vocal compositions to his credit also. In 2010, he was commissioned by the Lexington, Kentucky chapter to compose a work in memory of their colleague - a distinguished carillonneur and composer - John Courter. Gouwens premiered the resulting work, "Suite No. 3" for carillon, at the Lexington Regional AGO convention, on the carillon at Berea College, where Courter served with distinction until his untimely death. 
Mr. Gouwens has many competition awards to his credit in organ, carillon, and composition, and is widely-travelled as a recitalist on both organ and carillon. He will make his seventh European recital tour in the summer of 2012. 
Gouwens studied organ and carillon at Indiana University (Bloomington), the University of Michigan, and the University of Kansas, holding degrees in organ performance from the latter two schools. He was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His instructors included Richard Carlson, Clyde Holloway, Robert Clark, and the late Robert Glasgow in organ, and Albert Gerken in carillon. 
He is very active in the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, where he serves as chairman of the Johan Franco Composition Committee (which commissions new music for carillon and organizes composition competitions). He also serves on the Music Publications Committee and on the Student Examinations Committee. He is very active as an editor and arranger of music for GCNA publications, as well as a contributing composer. He has performed at numerous congresses of the GCNA, as well as at several carillon festivals and a congress of the World Carillon Federation. 
In 2003, Mr. Gouwens completed a method book (revised and expanded in 2010) for teaching beginning students on the carillon. The book, "Playing the Carillon: An Introductory Method," is the first American carillon method book, and is to date the only one published in the US. It is published by the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America.
George Gregory, San Antonio, TX

GEORGE GREGORY has been organist and carillonneur at Central Christian Church in San Antonio, Texas, since 1958. A member of The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, Mr. Gregory has served many years on the examining committee for the student advancement recitals and also on the Board of Directors for that Guild. He is a past editor of the Guild's Bulletin, a scholarly journal. The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America selected Mr. Gregory as a representative to play a carillon recital at the World Carillon Federation Congress in Løgumkloster, Denmark, in 1982. In 1985,the University of California, Berkeley, awarded him the Berkeley Medal for "Distinguished Service to the Carillon." He has been guest carillon recitalist in two regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, and in 1988 he played the dedicatory recital of the McLane Carillon at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. In 2005 he played the re-dedication recital of the Baird Memorial Carillon at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He has played guest recitals on numerous carillons throughout the United States as well as on carillons in Canada, England, and Denmark.

With a bachelor's degree from the University of Tulsa and a Master of Music degree from The University of Texas at Austin, Mr. Gregory was Professor of Music at San Antonio College for 39 years, where he taught organ, 'cello, harp, music theory and Renaissance instruments.

Guest organ recitals have been performed by him at St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University in New York City and at Saint James the Great Church in Radley, England, as well as numerous organ recitals in Texas and Oklahoma.

A 'cellist, he was formerly a member of the Tulsa Philharmonic, Austin Symphony, and the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra. During twenty years as the harpsicordist/organist for the San Antonio Symphony, he performed the organ part for the Symphony No. 3 by Camille Saint-Saëns (The Organ Symphony) during two different seasons.

He is the director of the San Antonio Early Music Ensemble that presents programs throughout the Southwestern part of the United States using their large collection of early instruments.

Carol Lens, Denver, CO

Carol Jickling Lens began her carillon studies with Beverly Buchanan at Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in the 8th grade. She continued with the carillon at the University of Michigan, with Hudson Ladd. In the middle of college came the excitement of going to The Netherlands Carillon School in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, studying with Leen “t Hart for two years, where she earned both the Practical and End Diplomas.

In 1971 Lens passed the Exam Recital to become Carillonneur Member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA). She was a judge and then chair of the Exam Committee for 6 years. She was on the Board for one term and currently serves as Chair of the Nomination Committee and again as a judge on the Exam Committee.

Lens has played from coast to coast in the US, including two recitals at GCNA Congresses. While living in the Netherlands she played recitals in many cities around the country, including four at the Palace in Amsterdam. While living in England she gave regular recitals at the Bond Street Carillon in London and two in Loughborough. She was fortunate to have the opportunity to play recitals in St. Petersburg, Russia and Seoul, Korea.

Lens and her family have lived in England, Ghana, Libya, New Orleans and Houston. Carol held the position of carillonneur at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Houston, TX, between 1979 – 93, (when in US) and at the Bell Tower Center, Houston, from 1997 – 2006, (when in US). She was appointed University Carillonneur at The University of Denver January 5, 2010.

Lisa Lonie, Phildadelphia, PA

Lisa Lonie is the the Carillonneur at St. Thomas' Church, Whitemarsh, as well as Princeton University. She also performs regularly on the oldest carillon (1882) in North America located at Church of the Holy Trinity (Rittenhouse Square) in Philadelphia. Prior to coming to Whitemarsh, she was the Carillonneur at Trinity U.C.C. in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for nearly 20 years.

She began her carillon studies with Frank Law, carillonneur at the Washington Memorial National Carillon in Valley Forge, PA and continued with Frank DellaPenna, Mr. Law's successor. She is a carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA), former chair of the Examinations Committee, and has served on its Board of Directors.

Known for her musical wit and creative programming, Ms. Lonie is a frequent recitalist throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. She has performed in internationally acclaimed carillon festivals, as well as for several national congresses of the GCNA, as guest carillonneur for the 2002 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) in Philadelphia, and as an invited recitalist at the World Carillon Federation Congress in Aschaffenburg, Germany. She also is one of the featured performers on the CD recording, “Princeton Carillon, Class of 1892” and on the NBC television special "Ringing in the Holidays at Longwood Gardens." Nearly 5,000 copies of her first solo CD of carillon music, The Bells of Christmas at Longwood Gardens, have been sold.

Lisa studied piano with Nancy Turner of Philadelphia and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with dual degrees in German and Economics. Besides her musical interests, Lisa is the Executive Assistant to the President of Salus University and resides in Blue Bell, Penna. with husband, Paul, their children, and assorted wildlife.

Tim Sleep, Naperville, IL

Tim Sleep was appointed Naperville City Carillonneur in 2007 where he teaches and performs regularly on the Millennium Carillon in Naperville, Illinois. He also performs carillon recitals at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glenview, Illinois and performs guest recitals throughout the country. Mr. Sleep currently serves as Vice President of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA) previously serving as its Corresponding Secretary and performing on the New Music recitals at recent GCNA Annual congresses. He is a Board Member and Secretary of the Millennium Carillon Foundation in Naperville.

He began his carillon studies with Wylie Crawford in Naperville and continued his studies with John Gouwens at the Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana becoming a Carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 2004. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from North Central College in Naperville and a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. A retired band director and middle school principal he is long-time church musician currently serving as organist for Knox Presbyterian Church in Naperville.

Carlo van Ulft, Springfield, IL
NACS Headquarters

Carlo van Ulft was appointed Director/Carillonist of the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon in Springfield, Illinois, in July, 2015. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Van Ulft served for 18 years as Director/Carillonist of the Centralia Carillon in Centralia, Illinois. During his tenure in Centralia, he was able to establish the instrument as one of the preeminent carillons in the world. In 2010, Carlo released “Towering Artistry” CD and in 2015 (in collaboration with other financial backers), he helped produce the professionally filmed DVD, “Meet the Carillon."

Mr. van Ulft, a native of The Netherlands, holds European Masters Level degrees in organ performance, carillon performance and theatre organ performance. He served on the faculty of the Royal Carillon School, Jef Denyn” in Mechelen, Belgium from 1984-1997 and also held position as Municipal Carillonist in four cities in The Netherlands prior to moving to the United States. A frequent guest recitalist, Carlo has played at all major carillon festivals and carillon summer series in North America and Europe. He has been an invited guest player at several GCNA (Guild of Carillonneurs of North America) congresses and was guest recitalist at WCF (World Carillon Federation) congresses in Ann Arbor (Michigan) and Annecy (France). As adjudicator, Carlo has judged both nationally and internationally, most recently at the Queen Fabiola Competition in Belgium in 2014.

Carlo served on the Board of Directors of the GCNA from 2005-2011 and currently serves on several GCNA sub-committees. He was awarded the Medal of Honor of University of California (Berkeley) in 1993 for “distinguished service to the carillon.” In 2014, Carlo authored the book, “Arranging for the Carillon,” and as an arranger, he has had many of his works published and in widespread circulation. A number of his original compositions have also been published.

Recognizing the need for an independent carillon institute to serve carillonists of all ages and skill levels, and with an interest in a variety of musical styles, Carlo founded the North American Carillon School in 2012.

During the academic year, Carlo plays a weekly recital and teaches the art of carillon playing at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. As organist, he serves the congregation of St. John's Lutheran Church in Springfield, Illinois.

If you are looking for a qualified instructor in your geographical area please contact us and we will put you in touch with the person closest to you.
There is no specific requirement for you to have your student take part in the courses of the NACS. There are no enrollment fees or other costs for registration. The only (minimal) charge to you and your students will be for the examination administration once a student is ready for that.  The charges for the paralel coursework is being charged by the various instructors individually without interference from the NACS.
Please note that the Proficiency Certificate examination will preferably take place at the student's (instructor's) home carillon. The NACS Performance Diploma takes place in June in Springfield, IL, the home base of the NACS. For more detailed information on the setup and organization of the examinations please contact us and we will be happy to share this with you.