Carol of the Bells gala raises more than $95K

Silent auction and donations will help restore the Catalina Chimes Tower. Photo by Glen Gustafson

The Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation hosted Carol of the Bells, a virtual shopping gala and celebration of the Chimes Tower, on Dec. 13 which raised over $95,000 through generous donations and a silent auction.

While shopping, viewers also enjoyed a lively visual history of the Chimes Tower, including the significance of bell towers on Catalina and throughout the world, and learned fun facts they can share around the dinner table this holiday season.

Did you know that while other bell towers can play five notes, the keyboard in the Catalina Chimes Tower can play 20 tones? This allows beautiful songs to be heard throughout Avalon, in addition to the Westminster melody on the quarter hour.

With background music featuring jazz and big band holiday favorites, Alison Wrigley Rusack shared her family’s love for Catalina and the sentiment behind their establishing the Chimes Tower, and residents Roy Rose and Jani Eisenhut told tales of the chimes, while Charlie Canby delved deeply into the mechanical wonders of the instrument. Geoff Rusack informed attendees about the restoration progress and that a recent goal had been bringing the chimes to life at night, much like was done in the 1930s.

Thanks to generous contributions, a landscape lighting system was installed which illuminates the exterior of the building and perimeter walls, and a new beacon light was placed atop the tower. Future efforts will include polishing, cleaning and tuning the chimes, and the completion of improvements to the decorative walls outside.

The foundation is almost halfway to reaching its Carol of the Bells event goal of $200,000 to complete the walls surrounding the tower; a link to the event video is available at the home page.

All are invited to contribute to help meet this goal with a year-end donation to the Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation by clicking the Give Now button at, or by mailing a check directly to the Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation at PO. Box 677, Avalon, CA 90704.

Include your mailing address, so we can send you a receipt for your contribution. The Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.

Carol of the Bells gala raises more than $95K