New Public Charity Seeks to Revive Old Custom: Bells to Herald the New Year as a Message of Peace
Announcing the formation of the Bells of Milwaukee, Inc.
MILWAUKEE–October 25, 2016–Not long ago bells in every community would herald the New Year by ringing in unison as a message of peace.
Sadly, we’ve lost this tradition, once so well established in Milwaukee that nobody gave it a second thought.
It is the mission of the Bells of Milwaukee to bring it back.
The Bells of Milwaukee, Inc., a tax-exempt Wisconsin public charity, was organized in July 2016 to pursue this goal.
“The New Year should be celebrated with the ringing of bells, not the firing of guns,” says President Russ Klisch, who provided the initial impetus and support for the project.
“We will compile a list of the Bells of Milwaukee, and make our research readily available. Ultimately we hope to record and photograph all of the bells of Milwaukee. We will make extensive use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to spread the word — and the sounds — of bells. This will be a community-based, community-wide project for all.” Klisch said.
The Bells of Milwaukee also has a mission to identify those buildings with lost or inoperable bells, and to seek to restore them or to repair them to working order.
“We are certain to find buildings with missing or lost bells. We’ll do what we can to restore these voices of peace to our neighborhoods,” Klisch said.
But the first item of business is to see to it that the Bells of Milwaukee ring this New Year’s Eve.
Initial response to the project has been enthusiastic and positive, Klisch said. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Episcopal Diocese of Wisconsin, stewards of many of the community’s bells, will encourage their parishes to participate. Interfaith groups will help to locate other bell custodians in the community. Residents are urged to nominate bells in their area by posting on the group’s social media sites. [See addresses below.]
The Bells of Milwaukee has also received the support of the City of Milwaukee, which will ring the Solomon Juneau, a ten-ton bell cast in this city in the late nineteenth century.. It is the 9th largest bell in North America, and the second largest ever cast in the United States.
The giant bell in the City Hall tower sang for the very first time on a New Year’s Eve when it rang out 1895 and rung in 1896.
It will chime again this New Year’s Eve with a message of peace to welcome 2017.
The Bells of Milwaukee hopes that news of its mission will encourage others to join with it.
For More Information
To learn more about the Bells of Milwaukee, to nominate a bell, or to arrange an interview, please see the information below.
Facebook: The Bells of Milwaukee
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Churches from as far away as Kenosha will participate.