UC Berkeley’s Historic Campanile Celebrates 100 Years With Seismic Lights, Music Show

Curtiss Kim

BERKELEY (KCBS) – One of the oldest structures in Berkeley is showing off in style for its centennial anniversary.

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A yearlong celebration of the Jane K. Sather Campanile’s 100th anniversary kicked off Tuesday evening with three 10-minute performances, which included a light show on the Campanile’s west-facing exterior wall and the sounds of synthetic bells playing alongside live carillon music, activated by live data from a seismometer inside the nearby Hayward Fault.

“There’s movement up and down and we translate that into music,” said Sanjay Krishnan, who worked on the seismic system design. “There’s a wire that connects this laptop that’s playing the sound up there down to the light show.”

The “Natural Frequencies” show was a joint effort between the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies, the Department of Music and the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Professor Ken Goldberg said it was nerve-wracking. “But I think it came together really nicely and it was super-cool,” he said.

Many who gathered for the show expressed amazement at what they were witnessing, with one even wondering what would happen if an earthquake hit during the 10-minute performance.

The centennial will include a series of carillon concerts, an exhibit at Bancroft Library, a Cal dining contest to construct the Campanile out of food, and other activities throughout the year.

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