Tower Bell Foundation

The bells of Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse

Use of bells for private events

In 2005, the Municipal Building Commission began renting the Rotunda of Minneapolis City Hall & Hennepin County Courthouse for private events, such as weddings, funerals, and receptions. Once the Municipal Building Commission has approved such a rental request, the event organizers may contract with the Tower Bell Foundation to provide bell playing at these events. For event attendees, hearing the bells as they approach or leave the building can add a dramatic note to whatever celebration is taking place and underscores the historic associations with the building. The Tower Bell Foundation charges $100.00 per hour for this playing with a minimum of one hour. This is in addition to the rental fee for use of the Rotunda charged by the Municipal Building Commission.

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Only players supplied by the Tower Bell Foundation may play the bells. Our players are trained in the use and limitations of the instrument, and only they have access to our extensive library of sheet music. We are unable to train outside musicians to play the bells insofar as it would take longer for our volunteers to do this training than to play the event themselves.
  2. The optimal use of the bells is for them to be played while guests are arriving. They are best heard outside. Since attendees to events in the Rotunda generally arrive through the 4th Street entrance, they will hear the bells for several minutes as they approach the building. When a large number of people are gathered inside the Rotunda, it is nearly impossible for the bells to be heard there.
  3. Event organizers may request special music of the player, preferably in advance; however, due to the limitations in the range of the instrument, not all music can be suitably rendered on our bells. Therefore, it is better if organizers can have a list of alternate selections to be played. It is better still to let the player pick appropriate music given the nature of the event and his or her experience and repertory.
  4. The bells are not suitably tuned in order to play along with other instruments.

Tower Bell Foundation
304 City Hall
350 S. 5th St.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415

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