Aimee Cho

Meet the Man Behind the Music at the National Cathedral

Have you ever wondered who is behind the music that pours out of the Washington National Cathedral's bell tower?

Cue Edward Nassor.

He’s the fourth person in the history of the cathedral to play the beautiful bells you hear emanating from the tower. 

“I just think it’s a spectacular set of bells,” the carillonneur said. “I feel honored that I get to play them.”

A carillon is the instrument used to play the bells.

Nassor says the key to success is practicing for hours on end. He does this by using a smaller keyboard, so he doesn’t disturb D.C. residents.

“As a musician you have to learn to play those bells with special care, so that you don’t play any notes that clash with the old notes that are still ringing ” he said.

Stage fright isn’t a problem for the bell player, but lightning can be a concern up in the tower.

Still, he plays on. “I figure I’m in a church. I’m counting on protection from above,” he said.

And D.C. is counting on him. Nassor is practicing to play his 28th Easter service at the cathedral on Sunday.

Nassor says "Welcome Happy Morning" is on the set list - a beautiful hymn he's been practicing for months. 

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