The Georgetown Chimes are an accident of Yale's and GU's athletic policies from the time of World War II. Yale senior and back-up quarterback Francis E. (Frank) Jones was about to get a start for Yale, when he received notice to report for service with the U.S. Army.
Returning home from the Pacific Theater after the end of World War II, now Cpt. Frank Jones planned to use his final year's football eligibility to play quarterback, finally, for Yale. While he was at war, Frank's dad petitioned Yale (and Yale agreed) to award his degree, so he could return home and begin law school immediately after the war. However, on his return home Frank learned that Yale would not permit a grad student to play football. Frank still wanted to play, and understood Georgetown would permit it, so Frank headed to Georgetown. But, by the time Frank arrived, Georgetown had re-visited its football eligibility rules, and Frank's aim was dashed. He enrolled at Georgetown Law School nonetheless and instead of football, he joined Georgetown's Glee Club.
Frank sang with his father and four uncles before college, but he was too busy as an athlete at Yale to join one of Yale's a cappella harmony groups. Now, post-war, remembering the a cappella harmony tradition at Yale, Frank believed that he could create a barbershop singing group that emphasized brotherhood and friendship through harmony.
He asked then-Glee Club director Edward P. "Doc" Donovan to name the best bass on campus. "No question about it, Chuck Laiosa," came the reply. Frank tracked down Chuck Laiosa, and together they began to recruit the best male voices at Georgetown for the Chimes. The Chimes quickly developed their own following as an independent performing group, but for its first 15 years the Chimes also was very much part of the Glee Club.
The "Georgetown Chimes" take their name from the original tower bells of Healy Hall. In 1946, Jones, Laiosa and several others were singing for themselves as the tower bell chimes struck in the South Tower of Georgetown University's Healy Hall. Jones named the group on the spot. "Alma Mater Tower Bells - The Georgetown Chimes" also is the name of a song the Chimes perform and have recorded, composed by Doc Donovan. Later, when those original tower bells fell into disrepair, the Chimes' appearance with the Glee Club on the Ed Sullivan Show led to a donation of carillons to replace the original "Georgetown Chimes."
In the years since their founding, the Georgetown Chimes have grown from the original quartet into a group of 220 Chimes, from #1, Frank Jones, in 1946, to #220 Max Stoiber, the "Baby Chime."
From the original barbershop standards, the Chimes' repertoire has grown to include 50s' and 60s' classics, hymns, and show tunes. Beginning with the eponymous first record of 1946, the Chimes have recorded two dozen albums and established a massive repertoire of music.
With singing in harmony as a foundation for lasting friendship, the Chimes have become a family that spans over three generations -- 18 year old college freshmen call themselves brother Chimes of the octogenerian founders, and of every member in between. The Chimes network reaches across time to connect men of several generations. Wives, children, grandchildren, all attend Chime events, as do their many Georgetown fans.
In the late 1980s, the Chimes settled into the Chimes House, at 3611 Prospect St. one block from the campus of Georgetown University. The Chimes House functions as the headquarters for the Chimes, where practices and social gatherings are held. Several Chimes live in "The House."
The first five Chimes are honored or remembered by their fellow Chimes with Orchestra seats dedicated in their names, in the Gonda Theatre at the Royden B. Davis, S.J. Performing Arts Center on Georgetown's campus. This is not a coincidence. When Father Royden Davis himself was a Georgetown student after returning from WW II and before joining the Jesuit Order, he roomed with Charles P. ("Chuck") Laiosa, the Second Chime. He used to complain that he knew when the Chimes were going to perform, because Jones would "borrow" his dress shirts.
"Once a Chime, always a Chime." The Chimes view the group as a tradition, entrusted from one Chime to the next, year over year to now, more than 60 years from its start. Numerous Chime alumni return to annual reunions and Chime performances; every Chime is fluent in the group's vast repertoire. "Active Chimes," usually undergraduates, are the Chimes who make themselves available for practice and performance. The "Actives" also include the current Celestial Chime, James P. M. Walsh, S.J., the Jesuit member of the group. Father Walsh has been active as the Celestial Chime for over 25 years. He was preceded by Fathers Gerard F. Yates, S.J. and Richard C. Law, S.J., who as Jesuits were inducted into the group in 1953.
The "Ephus," a "leader among equals," is elected yearly by the active group to serve as their leader for the coming school year. The first ephus was Frank Jones, the founder of the group, who despite the legend, never legally changed his name to Francis Edward "Ephus" Jones.
The Georgetown Chimes often contribute their talents to university and alumni ceremonies, dedications and functions each year, and even sing the National Anthem before Hoya games. The Chimes are proud to represent Georgetown, in D.C., across the country and overseas, but are not officially affiliated with Georgetown University. Members of the Chimes have served the University and its Alumni Association Board of Governors and Alumni Senate, and as officers of its Regional Clubs, Class Committees and the Alumni Interviewing Program. Two Chimes have won the Alumni Association's Patrick Healy Award (Fathers Gerard F. Yates, S.J. and James P. M. Walsh, S.J.) and four Chimes its John Carroll Award (Raymond D. O'Brien, CAS `49, Law `51; Peter G. Kelly, CAS `59; Charles M. Cawley, CAS `62; and Kevin P. O'Brien, CAS, `65). Raymond D. O'Brien also served as President of the Georgetown Alumni Association, and Charles M. Cawley served on the University's Board of Directors.
Two buildings on campus are named for Chimes, the Joseph Mark Lauinger Memorial Library and the Gerard F. Yates, S.J. Memorial Field House. The Main Campus Library was named for Joseph Mark Lauinger (CAS ’67), whose family has been a part of the Georgetown community since the 19th century, beginning with Frank T. Lauinger, who studied law at Georgetown in the 1890s, his son, Philip C. Lauinger, Sr. (C ’22, L ’58) who was president of the Yard and the student body in the College, and all four of Philip’s sons. Joseph Mark Lauinger died in the Vietnam War when the unit he was leading hit enemy fire during a reconnaissance mission. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart posthumously for his bravery in moving his men to safety. The Main Campus Library was named in honor of Joe to commemorate him, along with the 16 other Georgetown graduates who died in Vietnam).
The Field House opened in 1979, and is named for Gerard F. Yates, S.J., beloved Jesuit, Chime and retired faculty member, and former Dean of the Graduate School at Georgetown, who died while on retreat in September, 1979, the week following that year's Annual Chimes Reunion. In a time before email, many Georgetown alumni attended the funeral in Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart, including 75 Chimes who followed the hearse to Gerry's gravesite in the Jesuit Cemetery on campus, to say goodbye to their brother Chime. On the walk down the hill, Father Yates' brother Paul quipped, "just like Gerry, we walk, Gerry rides." While assembled by Gerry's gravesite after the service, the Chimes sang "My Comrades" and "Alma Mater Tower Bells."
Father Yates, who saw the Field House through planning, construction, completion and dedication, acknowledged that he did not have an athletic bone in his body, but he loved the opportunity the building would create for sports and recreation. The Field House has of recreational space, built underground. Kehoe Field, an all-weather playing surface on its roof, is home to intercollegiate, intramural, and recreational activity for Georgetown University students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff.
Becoming a Georgetown Chime isn't easy. The intensity and length of the Chimes' training is unique among comparable singing groups. Chimes must master vocal technique, develop stage presence, be able to perform a vast repertoire of music, and learn about the group's traditions.
A neophyte is an apprentice, who tries out for the group and is accepted initially on the basis of his singing ability. He then spends time with the Chimes, getting to know the Actives, meeting alumni, and learning the group's many songs and its unique history. Each neophyte "process" is unique. The time it takes for a neophyte (or "neo") to become a Chime varies from 8 months to 3 years.
Upon induction to the group, each Chime receives a Chimes Tie and is given a number. Numbers run sequentially from Frank Jones (1) to the current baby Chime, Max Stoiber (220).
Since 1946, the Georgetown Chimes have entertained Presidents from Ike to Clinton, cocktail parties from Maine to California, and crowds of all ages from Holland to Argentina.
From singing "The Star Spangled Banner" at professional sporting events to providing entertainment in the spirit of the Holiday season, the Chimes perform in many different contexts. A Georgetown Chimes concert, lasting up to ninety minutes, entails high quality vocal performance, as well as a blend of humor and energy that has captivated audiences of all ages. Concerts or performances by the Chimes can be the main event for an evening or assembly, provide an enjoyable break at a conference, or serve to set the mood as background for a dinner. Although the group attempts to create an informal atmosphere, the Georgetown Chimes gain their enthusiasm from a common love and respect of the music. This helps make every performance professional. As a result, audiences worldwide have greeted the Georgetown Chimes with enthusiasm and critical acclaim.
The Chimes have performed monthly since 1963 at The Tombs, the popular Georgetown restaurant. The concerts in The Tombs have been popularized as "Chimes Nights." The Tombs, part of the Clyde's Restaurant Group, is the famous Georgetown University bar upon which was based the fictional "St. Elmo's Bar," featured in St. Elmo's Fire (movie). On the wall next to the fireplace are the distinctive two-handled pewter Chimes Mugs that the Chimes use during their Chimes Nights. The Chimes Night tradition was the idea of one man, Richard McCooey, who founded the bar and the superb restaurant above it, "1789 Restaurant," where the Chimes also perform monthly for dinner guests.
The Chimes also run a concert series over three weekends every February to celebrate the art of a cappella, inviting Georgetown favorites and other top groups from around the country to join them at their very popular "Cherry Tree Massacre." These shows, now a 35-year tradition, have included professional groups, including world-famous a cappella vocal groups Rockapella and SPEBSQSA International Champions The Boston Common, as well as a wide variety of guest college groups.
The Chimes can be reached for performance inquiries at email@example.com.
The Chimes are close to one another in part because they gather together so often. Whether informally, such as around a Georgetown sports event, or by schedule (such as for the Chimes' annual Reunions or their annual Cherry Tree Massacre concert series), their common love of music and of their brotherhood mean that whenever Chimes meet, harmony, friendship and fun are sure to follow.
Champagne adds sparkleNever out of vogue, a sprinkling of stardust surrounds champagne, and the illustrious brands that produce this legendary wine. Each house produces its own style, and the blend of grapes is a good way to tell the characteristics of the wine, and which brand name chimes with your tulip-shaped glass.
Sep 24, 2011; Champagne adds sparkleNever out of vogue, a sprinkling of stardust surrounds champagne, and the illustrious brands that produce...