Satire: The Hill School rings in the return of the Chapel bells


Media: Erick Sun '24

Photo by Erick Sun ’24.

As Edgar Allen Poe writes in his poem The Bells, “To the rolling of the bells— Of the bells, bells, bells— To the tolling of the bells, Of the bells, bells, bells, bells— Bells, bells, bells—”, our campus, too, has become filled with the melody of Chapel bells. 

Every 15 minutes, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., the tolling of the bells reminds us that time is, indeed, passing; the only certainty in this uncertain world. 

They introduce an atmosphere of readiness: a Hill School student rises every day, 8 a.m. at the latest, and approaches the day with vivaciousness and alacrity. They absolutely, under no circumstances, take naps during lunch break, an action reserved for those with low mental tenacity. 

Alarm didn’t sound? The Chapel bells won’t fail you: because if nobody got you, you know the Hill School Chapel bells got you.

But in all seriousness, have the bells been going off more this year than they have been before?

“The bells at Hill have gone off every 15 minutes for as long as they’ve been in use,” said Rev. Anne Confer Martens, warner associate chaplain. “It follows the pattern of Westminster Abbey. As a matter of fact, they rang every 15 minutes all of last year!” 

Built in the 1900s, the Chapel is an integral part of campus. Traditionally, Chapel bells are used to call people to worship and mark time in communities when most people didn’t own timepieces. 

“At some point last spring, they were either turned off or went out due to a power outage. When we tried to turn them back on this fall, the system that controls the bells was no longer working, so we had them serviced and brought back to use,” Confer Martens said.

So why the controversy if nothing has truly changed?

“The thing about the Chapel bells is that they have been traditionally going off for so long that they’re just a part of our everyday life and routine here. It was only when they stopped, then started again, that people noticed them more,” Rev. Khristi Adams, firestone endowment chaplain, said.

Adams requested the volume be lowered after receiving constructive feedback from some students and faculty saying the bells were too loud. No one has since approached Adams with problems concerning the Chapel bells. 

“Because my dorm room faces the quad, I definitely hear the Chapel bells often,” Paige Timbrook ’22 said. “I feel like I’m still getting used to them.” 

Olivia: What’s your favorite Chapel bell tune, Melody?

Melody: I like the one that goes, da da da da, duh da da da da… dun… dun… dun… dun. Poetry. 

Olivia: Really? How about the one that goes, da da, duh duh. I could cry. 

“I enjoy hearing them, as they remind me of going to Chapel every week before the pandemic,” Timbrook said. 

The Chapel bells will never leave you, unlike that boy you met on Tinder. The Chapel bells are a man. A man that has come back into Hill’s life once again.