Meeks, Watson & Company has made a specialty of the tonal improvement of existing sets of bells, including peals, chimes and carillons. This has included developing a means for tuning existing chimes made by earlier American bell founders, the improvement of carillon bells of various founders, and the replacement of less than fully successful portions of existing chimes and carillons.
Meet our Bell Tuner
RICHARD M. WATSON, Partner, bell tuner and carillon designer, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, began to assist at the carillon of The University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1961 while still in high school; he worked with Arthur Bigelow on the enlargement of the U.W. carillon during the summer of 1963, and entering the University in the fall of 1963 majoring in organ he continued as assistant carillonneur all through school; he worked with Prof. Bigelow again in 1966 to prepare the Princeton University carillon for the Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America that year, and during that Congress played his examination recital and was accepted into Carillonneur membership in this professional organization. In May of 1968, he played the dedication recital on the carillon of Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, and the following month joined the Samford faculty as Lecturer in Music and University Carillonneur. In addition to his teaching and carillon playing activities at the University, he also conducted acoustical research on bells, and acted as an independent consultant on several carillon projects from 1968-1973. From October, 1973 until June of 1991, Mr. Watson was director of the Cast bell, Carillon and Chime division of The Verdin Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. Prior to his joining that company, all manual carillon consoles and related equipment had been imported from Europe; he started a new department to manufacture all these things, to his own designs. In this capacity he was responsible for the design and construction of many new carillons and the enlargement and/or renovation of many others. Mr. Watson founded Meeks, Watson & Company with Mr. William Meeks in June, 1991, making possible the fulfillment of a longtime desire to return the art of casting and tuning new carillon-quality bells to North America. Since that time, the company has furnished the highest quality American-made bells to all parts of the U. S., Canada and the Caribbean.
Mr. Watson has long made earlier American-cast bells a special study. Beginning in his University teaching days, he researched and developed a method whereby such bells can be tuned to carillon bell standards, and has so tuned a number of chimes and peals. Mr. Watson has appeared in many parts of the U.S. and Canada as a carillon recitalist over the years, including recitals for Congresses of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1980, 1984, 1991 and 1995. He was a featured recitalist for the 50th anniversary celebration of the carillon of the University of Wisconsin in June, 1986, and played at the Springfield (Illinois) carillon festival in June, 1987. He received the Berkeley Medal for outstanding service to the carillon in 1983. He is on the carillon staff of the Emery Memorial Carillon, Mariemont, Ohio. Mr. Watson, in addition to his carillon work, has been practically a lifelong church organist; he is currently organist of St. Paul's Anglican Church, Cincinnati, and music director for the Synods of the Diocese of the Eastern United States, Anglican Province of America.