Communication Builds Our Community

Retired Bok Carillonneur Milford Myhre Named Pioneer of the Year

Celebration Planned Oct. 26 during Lake Wales Pioneer Days

The Lake Wales History Museum will honor retired Bok Tower carillonneur Milford Myhre as Pioneer of the Year during the 44th Annual Pioneer Days Festival. The celebration will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Lake Wailes Park.

Myhre has been a resident of Lake Wales since 1968. He served as the carillonneur of Bok Tower Gardens for 36 years, until his retirement in 2004. During that time he played daily concerts at the tower, greeted thousands of visitors to the area, hosted world-renowned composers, established the first International Carillon Festival, the Carillon Fellows program, the Anton Brees Carillon Library, and the Music at Pinewood concert series.

Before being appointed Bok Tower's second carillonneur, Myre was a music instructor for 10 years at Culver Military Academy in Culver, IN. He first began playing the carillon at Plymouth Congregational Church in 1950 while studying music at the University of Nebraska, where he earnd a bachelor's degree in music. He received his master's in music from the University of Michigan and studied at the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium.

Myhre is also a founding board member of the Lake Wales Arts Council, the Lake Wales Museum Commission, and founder and director of the Lake Wales Chorale. Myhre has been an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Wales, and consulted on the Rieger pipe organ installation in 1973. And, he is still involved today, even though he is retired, he continues to volunteer for the Lake Wales Arts Center and attends and promotes arts events around Lake Wales.

"Milford is one of the kindest gentlemen you will ever meet", states current carillonneur of Bok Tower Gardens, Geert D'hollander. "He has taught me, inspired me, and been a mentor for me and so many other musicians. And, while he has performed organ and carillon all over the world, the Lake Wales community is truly Milford's family."

The carillonneur who followed Myhre at Bok Tower, Bill DeTurk, said: "Milford has dedicated his life to teaching musicianship, and he taught me so many things about life in general. He is just a very unique person, and his support of the Lake Wales community goes beyond the Tower. He has helped the Lake Wales Arts Center, First Presbyterian Church and the history museum. Milford is always supportive of the arts, and I just admire him for all he does."

Myhre has received many awards, including the Berkeley Medal in recognition of his distinguished contribution to the carillon art in 1983, and the Key to the City of Lake Wales. And this year, the City of Lake Wales issued a special proclamation declaring June 13, 2019 as Milford Myhre Recognition Day.

The 44th Annual Pioneer Days Festival will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26-27. The event is a heritage celebration for the while family with free admission and free parking both days. Pioneer Days offers a variety of heritage education activities, plus market and craft vendors, food and beverage and community and business vendors.


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