David W. Breneman (Luray carillonneur 1984 – 2013)

A native of Broadway, VA, David Breneman’s early musical experiences included playing his grandmother’s piano and organ and attending “old folk’s singings” where shape-note hymnals were used. A graduate of Bridgewater College, Mr. Breneman taught high school French and English, was president of a florist company and a private pilot. He served as organist at Otterbein United Methodist Church in Harrisonburg, VA. Following organ study at Bridgewater College under Ruth Weybright Stauffer, he began carillon study with Charles T. Chapman at Luray. His music memberships have included the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society, the American Guild of Organists, and the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. In retirement, David currently resides in Arizona.

Charles T. Chapman (Luray carillonneur 1937 – 1984)

Charles Thomas Chapman was a graduate of the University of Virginia, with further music studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Johns Hopkins University and Washington, DC Musical Institute, and carillon with Anton Brees at Duke University. He was a minister of music and organist at Luray United Methodist church and director of the Luray Concert Band and the Luray Choral Club. He was a Carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, playing for the 1954-56 President’s Christmas Tree Lighting programs, Eisenhower’s inauguration in 1957 and the dedicatory recitals for the Netherlands Carillon in Arlington, VA in 1960 and for the Yale University Carillon in 1966. His artistry on the carillon inspired over 100 compositions by more than 20 international composers, and his numerous recordings were heard worldwide.

Jesse L. Ratcliffe (Luray carillonneur, 2013 – 2020)

Jesse L. Ratcliffe is a native of Hinton, WV. He is a graduate of Concord University, Athens, WV (BA) and Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA (MM). Since the age of twelve he has served as a church musician in several denominations; including the Director of Music at St. James Episcopal Church in Warrenton and was a former director of the Staunton Choral Society. He has taught and served as carillonneur at Concord University and Hollins University. He studied privately and in master classes with Dr. Stephen Cooksey, Shenandoah; Dr. Roberta Gary, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; Dr. Walden Moore, Yale Institute of Sacred Music; and Robin Austin, carillonneur of the North American Carillon School. He is a Carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and currently teaches and performs at McMurry University, Abilene, TX. 

Luray Singing Tower

Past Carillonneurs

Dr. Andrea McCrady (2022)

Dr. Andrea McCrady began playing the carillon in 1971 at Trinity College, Hartford, CT (B.A., 1975). While in Europe on a postgraduate fellowship, she studied at the carillon schools in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. She was carillonneur at St. Joseph’s Oratory while studying medicine at McGill University, in Montreal, followed by her hospital residency in Toronto, where she played the carillons at the University of Toronto and the Canadian National Exhibition. From 1990 to 2008, she practiced family medicine in Spokane, Washington, where she also coordinated the carillon program at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. In 2008, she retired from medicine upon receiving a Bachelor of Music magna cum laude from the University of Denver and receiving her appointment as Dominion Carillonneur of the Peace Tower Carillon of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. She is an adjunct professor in carillon studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. Dr. McCrady served for many years on the board of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA), and as its president from 1988-89. She has co-chaired the GCNA Ronald Barnes Memorial Grant Fund and the Heritage Music Committee. She served as secretary of the World Carillon Federation (WCF), 1990 – 1996, and has performed for the 1996, 2002, 2014 and 2021 WCF congresses.