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250 people suggest songs for new tower

Treasure Island plans to unveil the new clock tower and carillons at a celebration Oct. 20.

By AMY WIMMER

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 23, 2001


TREASURE ISLAND -- From We'll Sing in the Sunshine to Singin' in the Rain, from Beethoven's Fur Elise to Barry Manilow's Mandy, Treasure Island's musical taste runs the gamut.

More than 250 readers reponded to the St. Petersburg Times' plea to help Treasure Island Mayor Leon Atkinson select songs for the city's new clock and carillon tower.

Responses ranged from the unenthusiastic ("The mayor should select. He's the one spending our money on this monster") to the exuberant ("I think the carillons will be a terrific asset to Treasure Island residents and tourists alike").

Patriotic tunes were top picks (This Is My Country, Battle Hymn of the Republic) -- even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that pulled out the patriot in everyone.

Also popular were songs about the beach (Ebb Tide, Love Letters in the Sand), songs about the sun (The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun and John Denver's Sunshine on My Shoulders) and songs about variations in Florida weather (Stormy Weather, Cruel Summer).

The selections were widespread. A total of 230 songs were suggested, and the top vote-getters earned only 14 votes each.

The new clock tower carillons, scheduled to ring for the first time at a citywide celebration Oct. 20, will play tunes that are programed into microchips. The bells will ring in time with the music, and city leaders are looking for guidance on what songs they should include.

The carillon manufacturer provided the city a list of songs already in its library, and the city can pay for additional songs. Some people are unimpressed by the list, which included such tunes as The Man on the Flying Trapeze and While Strolling Through the Park.

"Pinellas is finally shedding its reputation as a retirement community," wrote one reader. "PLEASE don't include Daisy Bell (or, for that matter, anything else on the 'Old Favorites' list!) in the repertoire."

Two music aficionados in Treasure Island dug up the appropriate On Treasure Island and Isle of Capri.

On Treasure Island never received much popular acclaim, possibly because it includes the lyrics "I looked for gold on Treasure Island, and I found that gold when you gave your golden love to me."

Among the requested songs most difficult to imagine hearing on carillon bells were Hootie & the Blowfish's Hold My Hand and Garth Brooks' Two Pina Coladas.

The clock tower, the focal point of the 107th Avenue improvements under way in Treasure Island, will cost about $200,000. The City Commission decided to add the bells at a cost of about $19,000 and is accepting donations to cover the cost.

So far, the city has collected nearly $13,000 in donations.

Someone unimpressed by the bells and their price tag suggested What a Tremendous Waste of Money, Oh Suckers of Treasure Island and How Did We Let This Happen.

Also up for discussion is how often the bells will ring. "I hope it will not be too early or too loud or too often as to annoy vacationers at the beach who are sleeping," one reader wrote.

And from another: "As a resident homeowner on T.I. for over 25 years, my first choice would be silence. Otherwise, No. 1, Sunny Side of the Street; No. 2, Getting to Know You; No. 3, America the Beautiful."

Carol Malkin, chairman of the Treasure Island Beautification Committee, which is debating how often the bells should ring, said the committee is leaning toward using the bells several times a day.

"We feel that the bells are there to be used, and we feel they should be rung on the hour, every hour, maybe from 8 in the morning to 8 at night, and maybe perhaps at the half-hour, too," Malkin said.

Atkinson had suggested playing the bells less frequently and making their "concerts" a special event. Malkin said her committee wants them to be part of daily life in Treasure Island.

"We don't really feel that there should be a concert, per say, where people should go and listen to these bells," Malkin said. "It could be done, I guess, but we kind of feel like the bells are there; let's hear them."

Residents will hear them for the first time during the Treasure Island Celebration 2001 festivities, which will kick off with a parade at 10 a.m. Oct. 20. Also on the agenda that weekend are a ribbon cutting, a Buccaneers tailgate party, a classic car show and a raffle.

And the top prize in the raffle drawing? A trip to London to visit Big Ben.

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