The Luray Park Board has appointed Jesse Ratcliffe as the new carillonneur of the Luray Singing Tower. Ratcliffe is a native of Hinton, West Virginia, and a graduate of Concord University. He also received a master of music degree from Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester.
Since the age of 12, Ratcliffe has served as a church musician in several denominations. He is the former director of the Staunton Choral Society and has taught and served as carillonneur at Concord University and Hollins University. In addition, he has studied privately with noted musicians from around the country. Ratcliffe is currently the director of music at St. James Episcopal Church in Warrenton.
Ratcliffe is only the third carillonneur to hold the position since the structure was constructed. Local educator Charles Chapman performed for the opening ceremony in 1937 and continued until 1984, when David Breneman of Luray assumed the post. Ratcliffe's appointment followed Breneman's recent retirement.
There are about 180 carillons in the U.S. and 450 worldwide.
Luray Singing Tower offers free recitals at 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in April and May and at 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays in June, July and August, and at 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in October.