Monday, March 01, 2021

Sam Hammond, Beloved University Carillonneur for 53 Years, Dies

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J. Samuel Hammond, who for more than five decades ended the academic day filling West Campus with music from the Duke Chapel carillon, died Thursday, February 25. He was 73.

To honor Hammond, the carillon recital on Thursday was dedicated to him and featured selections of some of his favorite pieces. Listen to the performance on the Duke Chapel Facebook page. The music included two of Hammond's favorite hymn tunes, "The Church's One Foundation" and "O God Beyond All Praising," as well as various selections by J. S. Bach and Ronald Barnes, a renowned carillonneur/composer who was a friend of Hammond's.

He retired in December 2018 after serving as university carillonneur for a term that spanned six university presidents. His performances at the close of the day were part of the rhythm of the day, said the Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel.

“For over 50 years, J. Samuel Hammond played the carillon in the Duke Chapel tower at 5:00 p.m. each workday,” Powery said. “It is fitting that Sam made music in the tower because he was a towering human being, full of grace, charm, humility, dignity, wisdom, and faith. When he retired, the Board of Trustees dedicated the 50-bell carillon in honor of Sam. This means that every tone and note that rings out from the carillon in the future is a part of the melody of his incredible legacy at Duke. Sam will be missed but his musical resonant life will reverberate in our hearts and lives for many years to come.”

Read more on Duke Today.