Tribute on Retirement as Dominion Carillonneur

Tribute on Retirement as Dominion Carillonneur

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, listen closely as you walk across Parliament Hill. For each quarter hour, half hour and hour, you hear a bell ring. Once a week in July and August you get an hour-long concert. For the rest of the year, there is a noon-hour 15-minute musical interlude. When you were told that you were appointed a senator, did you even think that music at work would be one of the noon-hour perks?

Since 1971, honourable senators, Ottawans, parliamentarians and visitors to this wonderful place have had the privilege of listening to the work of Mr. Gordon Slater, our very own Dominion Carillonneur.

Today I draw the attention of honourable senators to this very special man, this musical talent who has brought so much beauty to our workplace, who is retiring at the end of this month.

About six years ago, when I worked at CTV, I did a news story in the Peace Tower with Mr. Slater. The music sounds effortless on the outside, but on the inside the gentleman with his gloves on is running back and forth in order to create beautiful music. He must be quite an athlete to do what he has done. It was a pleasure to do that Christmastime story with him.

How do you replace someone who is so unique? Who can we find to play 53 bells that span more than four octaves? The largest bell weighs 10 tonnes and the smallest bell weighs a mere 10 pounds.

The carillon we hear every day is only one of 600 in the world. I believe I can say that Gordon Slater, who has been our own carillonneur for more than 30 years, will be a hard act to follow.

Thank you, Gordon Slater, for your music; thank you for filling our workplace with music; we will miss you.