I was driving past St. Spiridon’s Greek Orthodox Church in the warehouse district of Lake Union neighborhood (Harrison & Yale) near REI, when I heard the deafening peal of church bells. Driving through a rundown section of downtown Seattle, you just don’t expect to hear anything so wonderful, but there those carilloneurs were ringing those bells with serious airport-style headphones protecting their eardrums. They sounded unlike any other bells I’d ever heard–like they were peeling just outside my eardrum. These were the real thing, not that ersatz recording of the Big Ben Winchester bells which you hear everywhere.
I’ve heard real live bells before when I attended Columbia University and lived near the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and when I attended UC Berkeley, which had a lovely carillon tower. But hearing live bells ringing 100 feet from your ears is a stupendous experience.
If you want to hear this sonic wonder, get there sometime before 12 noon (there may be other bell ringing times too). I was there about 11:50 AM and the bells stopped shortly afterward.