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The voice of the University

Two Carolina students are following a nearly 90-year-old tradition as the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower's master bell ringers.

People all over campus hear the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower’s chimes each day, but two Carolina students listen with particular interest.

Chris Pirrung and Katie Rose Hand are the tower’s master bell ringers, a position that dates back to the bell tower’s construction in 1931.

“The part of the University that most people think of when they imagine it is the Old Well,” Hand said. “But when you come to the University, the first thing you hear is the bell tower.”

The responsibilities of the master bell ringers include helping oversee the bell tower’s operations and ringing the bells on football game days and other special occasions. Many master bell ringers have played in Carolina’s band and were chosen for the role by the director of University Bands.

The 14 bells are now operated by a mechanized system that Pirrung and Hand control to play a programmed list of songs, but other songs can be played on a keyboard and added to the system. In addition to nearly a dozen Carolina-related songs, the bell tower is capable of playing the theme from the movie Top Gun.

Pirrung and Hand enjoy the fun aspects of their roles, but also take their responsibilities at the bell tower very seriously.

“It’s sort of the voice of the University,” Pirrung said. “Being able to be in charge of that is quite an honor.”