Hunt of the Bells

The hunt to find the find the perfect bells in Chamonix, France.

In the summer of 2011, friends and I took a road trip through the Alps. From Vienna, Austria to Chamonix, France and back again.

One of the missions in Chamonix, besides eating Raclette, was to find bells. These bells would be used in a composition for Mark’s first full-length opera called, Frankenstein.

To commemorate the premiere, 8 years later, I put together this panorama. It’s full of stitching errors and in no way perfect. But, it tells a story and an interesting one — so I don’t care that it looks messy.

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This bell shop is called, Fabrique de Sonnettes Devouassoud and has been a family-owned business since 1829. The man in the blue shirt, is the current owner (Thomas Devouassoud) and bell maker.

I can’t remember exactly, but I do know we spent hours there while Mark and Cath found a group of bells that were in perfect harmony with each other. During this time, it was business as usual for the shop. That meant farmers were coming to pick up their orders. Their bells to go around the necks of their goats, sheep, and cows and to ultimately add a musical composition to the valley at the base of Mont Blanc.