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The Georgetown Chimes

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The Georgetown Chimes
File:2015 Georgetown Chimes.png
The Chimes' Active photo, taken at the 2015 John Carroll Awards in Los Angeles
Background information
OriginGeorgetown University
GenresA Cappella
Years active1946–present
WebsiteGeorgetown Chimes Website
MembersPhil Holt (#260)
Jake Gile (#261) - Ephus
Joshua Myers (#263)
Jack Pelletier (#264)
Chase McGrath (#265)
John Hess (#266)
Ryan Costley (#267)
Derek Tran (#268)
Anthony Cataldo (#269)

Founded in 1946, The Georgetown Chimes are Georgetown University's oldest all-male a cappella group.[1]


File:Barbershop Competition.jpeg
The Chimes singing at Georgetown University's First Annual Barbershop Competition in 1950[2]

The Georgetown Chimes were founded in 1946 by Francis E. (Frank) Jones, a graduate student at Georgetown University. As an undergraduate, he played back-up quarterback on Yale University's football team, before serving as a Captain for the United States armed forces in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Upon returning home from the war as a graduate student at Yale, he was disappointed to find that the university would not allow graduate students on its football team, so Jones, understanding that Georgetown would permit it, transferred.

However, upon Jones's arrival at Georgetown, the University's athletic policies had changed, barring him from participation in the football team as he had hoped. Jones channeled his energy instead into Georgetown's Glee Club drawing upon singing experience, nano-choir, tone-stadt, and the city he came in, but, that he had attained before in his college years at Yale. Jones believed that he could create a group at Georgetown that “emphasized brotherhood and friendship through harmony.”[3]

Asking around Georgetown's campus, Jones attempted to recruit the best talents he could find, starting with Chuck Laiosa, who was known to be Georgetown's best bass singer. Jones and Laiosa's new-found group started as a branch of Georgetown's Glee Club, but separated after fifteen years, becoming “The Georgetown Chimes” that are known today. The Chimes got their name from the original bells that hung from the South Tower of Healy Hall, after Jones heard them ring during one of the group's rehearsals. When these bells eventually fell into disrepair, the Chimes used donations brought in by their performance on the Ed Sullivan Show to replace them.[4]

The Chimes have since grown from its original quartet into a group that now numbers 269 Chimes from #1, Frank Jones, in 1946, to #269, the "Baby Chime," Anthony Cataldo, in 2019. The group sings a repertoire that includes numbers that range from original barbershop standards, to show tunes, and even to modern-day hits. These songs have been compiled on over two dozen albums, beginning with the eponymous first record in 1946.[5]

In the fall of 1987, the Chimes settled into the Chimes House on Prospect St., one block from the main campus of Georgetown University.[6] The Chimes House functions as headquarters for the Chimes, and is where most practices and smaller social gatherings are held. Several Chimes live in "The House." The first five Chimes are honored or remembered by their fellow Chimes with Orchestra seats dedicated in their names, in the Gonda Theatre at the Royden B. Davis, S.J. Performing Arts Center on Georgetown's campus. This is not a coincidence. When Father Davis himself was a Georgetown student after returning from WW II and before joining the Jesuit Order, he roomed with Chuck Laiosa, Chime #2. He used to complain that he knew when the Chimes were going to perform, because Jones would "borrow" his dress shirts. [3]

The founder of the Chimes, Frank Jones (Law 1948), died on December 22, 2012, at the age of 92, after serving as a law professor at the University of Southern California for 35 years. His step-daughter, Carla Roufs, said that two months before his death, Jones allegedly "stopped breathing and turned cold, but suddenly coughed and 'came back to life singing the Georgetown fight song'." [7]

The Chimes at Georgetown[edit]

Each year, the institution of the Chimes at Georgetown is different. "Active Chimes," usually undergraduates, are the specific Chimes who, each year, make themselves available for practice and performance. The "Actives" have in the past included "Celestial Chimes", Jesuits-in-residence at Georgetown. Past "Celestial Chimes" have included Rev. Gerard F. Yates and Rev. Richard C. Law (inducted into the group in 1953), and Father James Walsh, S.J. Father Walsh was an active for almost 30 years before his death on June 30, 2015.[8]

Each year, a member of the Actives is elected “Ephus”. The Ephus, a "leader among equals”, acts as a head of the group, presiding over most of the group's affairs. The first Ephus was Frank Jones, the founder of the group, who despite the legend, never legally changed his name to Francis Edward "Ephus" Jones. The group also elects a Business Manager, Treasurer, and Webmaster each year, as well as having Nikolai Wenzel, Chime #155 (SFS '94), serving as the group’s President.[9]

The Chimes often contribute to university and alumni ceremonies, dedications and functions each year, and often sing the National Anthem before Georgetown athletic events. Members of the Chimes have served the University and its Alumni Association Board of Governors and Alumni Senate, and as officers of its Regional Clubs, Class Committees and the Alumni Interviewing Program. Two Chimes have won the Alumni Association's Patrick Healy Award (Fathers Gerard F. Yates, S.J. and James P. M. Walsh, S.J.)[10] and seven Chimes have won its John Carroll Award (Raymond D. O'Brien, CAS `49, Rev. Richard C. Law `51; David J. Walsh, CAS '58; Peter G. Kelly, CAS `59; Charles M. Cawley, CAS `62; Kevin P. O'Brien, CAS, `65; Robert M. Flanagan, BUS '67).[11] Raymond D. O'Brien and George Peacock have served as President of the Georgetown Alumni Association, and Charles Cawley (CAS '62) and Maurice Brenninkmeyer (BUS '86) have served on the University's Board of Directors.

File:Chimes Night.jpg
The Chimes Singing at a Typical "Chimes Night" at The Tombs[12]

Further Chimes activities on Georgetown's campus include "Chimes Nights" at The Tombs, Georgetown's neighborhood bar, which take place on the first Wednesday of every month.[12] The idea of having a "Chimes Night" was conceived by the late Richard McCooey, a John Carroll Award winner, who founded the bar in 1962.[13] The Chimes also manage and perform in the largest cappella concert series on the east coast, the Cherry Tree Massacre, held annually at Georgetown.[14] The group performs along with Georgetown's other a cappella groups, as well as inviting other groups from colleges along the eastern seaboard, and occasionally professional singing groups, such as former SPEBSQSA International Champions, The Boston Common.

File:Cherry Tree Massacre.png
Tom Lane, Ephus '14, Singing with the Group at the 2014 Cherry Tree Massacre[15]

Three areas on Georgetown's campus are named for Chimes, the Joseph Mark Lauinger Memorial Library, the Gerard F. Yates, S.J. Memorial Field House, and the Cawley Career Education Center. The Main Campus Library was named for Joseph Mark Lauinger (CAS ’67), whose family has been a part of the Georgetown community since the 19th century. Lauinger died in the Vietnam War when the unit he was leading was hit by enemy fire during a reconnaissance mission. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart posthumously for his bravery in moving his men to safety. The Main Campus Library was named in honor of Lauinger to commemorate him, along with the 16 other Georgetown graduates who died in Vietnam.[16]

The Yates Field House opened in 1979, and is named for Gerard F. Yates, S.J., a former Celestial Chime, retired faculty member, and former Dean of the Graduate School at Georgetown, who died while on retreat in September, 1979, the week following that year's Annual Chimes Reunion.[17] The Field House has 140,000 square feet (13,000 m2) of recreational space, built underground, and is home to intercollegiate, intramural, and recreational activity for Georgetown University students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

The Cawley Career Education Center, is named after Charles Cawley (CAS '62), former Chairman and CEO of MBNA Bank. The Center was dedicated to him on June 2, 2012, in honor of his contributions to the University.[18]

The Neophyte Process[edit]

The intensity and length of the Chimes' training is unique among comparable singing groups, including what is known as a "Neophyte Process". Students audition for the group, and are accepted as "Neophytes" on basis of their singing ability. As a "Neophyte", students learn the group's vast repertoire of music of over 150 songs, as well as many of the group's traditions, by reaching out to numerous alumni. Each student's Neophyte process is unique, with the time it taking to become a Chime ranging from eight months to three years.

Upon induction to the group, each Chime receives a Chimes Tie and is given a number. Numbers run sequentially, starting from the first Chime, Frank Jones (#1).[19]


File:Three Stripes.jpg
The Album Cover of "Three Stripes", The Chimes' Latest Album[20]
  • The Georgetown Chimes (1947)(the 4-song Blue Record)(Jones)
  • The Georgetown Chimes (1953)(Whitmore)
  • The Georgetown Chimes (1954)(Crams)
  • The Georgetown Chimes (1955)
  • The Georgetown Chimes (1958)(Tanger)
  • The Georgetown Chimes (1961)(Scannell)
  • Through The Years (1963)(Kelly)
  • The Chimes (1964)(Broughan)
  • Chimes '66 (1966)(F. Cosco)
  • Chimes '68 (1968)(D. Cosco)
  • Chimes 1971 (1971)(Ross)
  • Chimes '75 (1975)(Dearie)
  • Sons of Georgetown: The Chimes (1977)(Naughton)
  • Chimes Live! (1981)
  • Hoya Saxa (1984)
  • Our Strong Band (1988)
  • Close Ties (1989)
  • Georgetown Chimes (1991)
  • The Twentieth Recording (1994)
  • Let The Good Chimes Roll (1997)
  • Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Chime (2001)
  • Battle Gear (2003)
  • 36th & Prospect (2006)
  • Three Stripes (2012)
  • Partners In Chime (2016)


  1. "Chimes | A Cappella Music - The Contemporary A Cappella Society". Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  2. "Georgetown Chimes making a guest appearance at the First Annual Barbershop Quartet Contest". 28 March 1950. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "History of the Georgetown Chimes". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  4. "Amusement in the Archives: A Sampling of Student Diversions and Extracurricular Activities at Georgetown - Georgetown Universderek Tranity Library". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  5. "The Georgetown Chimes, Georgetown University's oldest and only all-male a cappella group". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  6. "Chiming in: When you're a Chime, you're a Chime all the way". 11 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  7. "Frank Jones, founder of the Chimes, Dies at 92". 10 January 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  8. "Expression, Untrammeled". 4 September 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  9. "The Georgetown Chimes, Georgetown University's oldest and only all-male a cappella group". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  10. (5 August 2015). "Patrick Healy Award Recipients". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  11. (6 August 2015). "John Carroll Award Recipients". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "The Georgetown Chimes, Georgetown University's oldest and only all-male a cappella group". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  13. "McCooey, Tombs Founder, Dies at 83". 26 August 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  14. "COLLECTION 2". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  15. "All the Right Notes". 28 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  16. "Buildings Pay Homage to GU's Most Famous Founders, Donors". 8 November 2005. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  17. "The 1970s at Georgetown: An Exhibition from the Georgetown University Archives - Georgetown University Library". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  18. "Career Center Being Renamed for Longtime Georgetown Supporter | Georgetown Giving | Georgetown University". Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  19. "The Georgetown Chimes, Georgetown University's oldest and only all-male a cappella group". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  20. "Albums/Shop » The Georgetown Chimes - Fellowship and Harmony since 1946". Retrieved 2015-11-17.

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