News - November 12, 2018

Jazzy conclusion to eight festive months

Roelof Kleis

The WUR centenary celebration was concluded on Friday with a surprising concert for big band and carillon, which also formed the inauguration of the carillon.

© Guy Ackermans

The carillon is a gift to the centenarian from the University Fund Wageningen (UFW), Kadanz and several alumni of varying prominence. To re-establish a tradition that was lost in the agglomeration of education and research on campus, chair of the UFW Jan-Karel Mak explained. The tradition is that the students heard the carillon at the Market when they cycled across town, from one university building to another.

On campus, the carillon from the town centre is not audible. That void is now filled by the sounds of the new carillon. However, the instrument on campus will only play once in a while. The municipality has allowed the carillon to play no more than twelve times a year. That means during special occasions, such as the official closing of the centennial festivities. But it probably won’t sound like that first time again anytime soon.


That experience was brought by big band Sound of Science, led by conductor and composer Guus Tangelder, who wrote a jazzy piece for big band and carillon specifically for this occasion. The combination is a rare one, and it worked wonderfully. The ambiance certainly added to it: the pinkish light on the carillon gave it a fairy-like air against the dark backdrop of the starry sky.

The closing of the festivities was heralded not long before that in Atlas. Chair of the board Louise Fresco expressed her vision of WUR in 2118. By then, the university will have 34 establishments around the world, and teach 500,000 students – most of them Chinese or Indian. Robots will be an inclusive part of education and research.

Fresco expects that the campus will have changed beyond recognition. But the carillon still stands, like a cherished relic from crazy times long gone. With the difference that the aluminium of the legs has been replaced by bioplastic. Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven, who was a guest on campus, remained somewhat more grounded. ‘The party’s over. Let’s get back to work.’

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