Drone footage via Bok Tower Gardens

In 2022, Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL  is participating with organizations across the nation to commemorate the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.— the father of American landscape design. His son, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. designed Bok Tower Gardens. 

In keeping with their annual tradition, Bok Tower Gardens hosted their International Carillon Festival in March.  The festival featured world-renowned carillonneurs and daily performances, but –  new in 2022 – was the debut of winning pieces in the Inspired by Olmsted carillon competition. 

Bok Tower Gardens Carillonneur and winner of Olmsted 200’s Inspired by Olmsted Carillon Composition Contest Geert D’hollander demonstrates how to play the bells

Inspired by Olmsted: Geert D’hollander Wins Top National Award

As part of the Olmsted Bicentennial, the National Association for Olmsted Parks sponsored a carillon composition competition, Inspired by Olmsted. An expert jury, chaired by Washington National Cathedral Carillonneur Edward Nassor, selected five winners, and Bok Tower Gardens Carillonneur Geert D’hollander was awarded first place.

D’hollander performed the award-winning composition, Four Miniatures: Spring Flowers at the U.S. Capitol Grounds, The Reflection Pond at Bok Tower, A Court Dance at the Biltmore Gardens, and Central Park in the Fall  at Bok Tower on Wednesday, March 16. The second prize-winning piece by Peter Paul Olejar of Raleigh, North Carolina debuted on Sunday, March 20.

Live tapings of the concerts can be found on Bok Tower’s Facebook page here and the new pieces will be shared with carillonneurs around the globe. To learn more about Inspired by Olmsted and the competition, please see here and here.  

Other highlights from the festival included a special St. Patrick’s Day performance by the first and currently the only carillonneur of Ireland, Adrian Patrick Gebruers as well as daily concerts by professional carillonneurs Stefano Colletti, Wylie Crawford, Adrian Patrick Gebruers, and Carol Jickling Lens.

The 25th International Carillon Festival was supported and sponsored by Visit Central Florida and The State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.  

Wayside at Bok Tower Gardens

In addition to the festival, Bok Tower Gardens is celebrating Olmsted in a myriad of ways. As a proud Olmsted 200 Celebration Partner, the Gardens have on display a superb exhibit in their Visitor Center and outdoors through a self-guided walking tour, featuring the Olmsted legacy  throughout 2022. 

A Walk in the Footsteps of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. at Bok Tower Gardens outlines how Olmsted used nature as a living canvas in the creation of Bok Tower Gardens. 

In 2022, the Gardens are also sponsoring a host of public lectures focused on the Olmsted Legacy.  Included is an upcoming lecture: Victor Dover Reviving the Olmsted Vision for Lake Wales

Urban designer Victor Dover will introduce Lake Wales Connected, the City’s new master plan for revitalization linking the historic downtown and its nearby Northwest neighborhood. Lake Wales Connected calls for an ambitious tree planting campaign and street upgrades that will re-start the Olmsted Brothers vision for a “city in a garden.”

Learn more about Bok Tower Gardens: https://boktowergardens.org

View Olmsted 200’s Instagram Takeover with Bok Tower Gardens: https://www.instagram.com/olmsted200/

This article first appeared in the April 1, 2022, issue of Field Notes by the National Association for Olmsted Parks.

On June 18, the NAOP and Olmsted 200 will travel to Chicago to hear another carillon concert, featuring all five winning pieces. This time, we’ll be at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel. Learn more about the concert here, and learn about our Chicago Bicentennial Gala here