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ROCHESTER, Minn. — It has been a landmark for southern Minnesota for quite some time, and this week they are celebrating their 150th birthday.
Doctor William Mayo brought his family to Rochester in 1864 when he opened a medical practice. It later evolved into the Mayo Clinic.
Jeff Daehn has played the carillon at the Mayo Clinic for about ten years now. He is only the third to play this musical instrument for them since 1928.
“It’s always interesting. It’s a rare opportunity and an honor to play and to keep this history alive and going,” Daehn said.
Rare is no understatement. There are only about 180 carillons across the entire U.S. and Canada and the one Daehn plays is one of 5 between Minnesota and Iowa. This is one of the largest in the country.
“This is a good size instrument that we have here and the fact that we’ve preserved the clockworks, that’s kind of unusual. There’s a lot of carillons that won’t have that to begin with, much less the original 1928 motors,” Daehn said.
Now, for the first time in many years, this carillon will be able to play the Westminster, or “Big Ben,” chimes every quarter hour.
It is all just in time for Mayo Clinic’s 150th birthday.
“It’s all about patients, it’s all about enjoying each other’s company. We will have music posters on display in the buildings,” said Matthew Dacy, Director of Heritage Hall at Mayo.
It is also about teaching everyone a little history lesson.
“We recall that period of time and all phases of our history, showing what has changed at Mayo Clinic, obviously different technology and cars and buildings, but most important what remains the same,” Dacy said.
Just like the sounds of the carillon that the Mayo brothers envisioned since it arrived at Mayo in 1928 .
“I like to think the whole concept of a carillon was part of their holistic approach to medicine, which, at that time they probably didn’t call it that, but they wanted to bring peace and inspiration to their visitors,” Daehn said.
The celebrations will continue in Rochester for the rest of the week. For more information on what is going on visit the Heritage Days website.