Standing tall over the center of campus, the historic Bell Tower is one of the most storied and symbolic places on Belmont’s campus.
Recently though, the tower has become a constantly-used community venue for prayer, music or even studying.
One of the most well-known events typically at the tower is Fire Night, where gather in and just outside the tower’s prayer chapel to play music, sing worship songs and share testimony with each other every Tuesday. This weekly event began four years ago when former Belmont student Cole Johnson and some of his friends wanted a place to meet where they could pray once a week, said current event leader Stone Meyer. Johnson and his group began attracting more and more people to the tower whenever they met. Eventually, the prayer night became known as what it is today.
Meyer said the bell tower is perfect for Fire Night due to its central location on the Belmont campus. Plus, no reservations are needed to use the building’s chapel, no matter how many people show up.
“We have an open-door policy for Fire Night,” Meyer said. “Anyone who walks by can come in and join us in worship.”
Meyer said that on any given week, 70 to 100 people will show up to worship at Fire Night.
“It’s more of a community meeting to worship Jesus than an official church service,” Meyer said.
Fire Night is not the only event that students use the Bell Tower and the surrounding area for. Alpha Tau Omega hosted its Teeter Totter fundraising event by the tower for two years. Pledge Tony Sammond said that the bell tower was an ideal place for the fundraiser because of the large open space with a constant stream of people passing by, not because of the site itself.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with the Bell Tower as much as the fact that it’s in the middle of campus,” he said.
On a day-to-day basis, students can be found practicing their music, studying, or just relaxing by the tower. Jordanne Calvin and Katie Anderson both use the tower as a venue to practice their music.
“You can see all the beauty of campus around you, which can be inspiring, especially if you are trying to write a song,” Calvin said.
Anderson said the tower is a good place to practice because the area around it is spacious and allows multiple musicians to perform. It can be agitating when the tower’s carillon goes off in the middle of a practice, she said. But other than that, she believes the tower is better than some of Belmont’s practice rooms.
“It’s quiet on the inside,” Anderson said. “You can really hear yourself playing when you’re in there.”