By LISA GRAYBEAL
Staff Writer, Chambersburg
MERCERSBURG, Pa. - It's carillon bells, not barbells, that give James Smith his total body workout.
Smith, Mercersburg Academy's music director, organist and carillonneur, can work up a sweat in no time after climbing the 70 steep, winding steps into the chapel's Barker Tower where the carillon sits just below a cluster of 49 bells of various sizes - the largest weighing 31/2 tons - that hang in the 150-foot stone spire.
But the real test in coordination and stamina presents itself at the seat of the odd-looking percussion instrument, from which protrudes two rows of wooden levers, or batons, that act as the keyboard; two rows of foot pedals; and a series of cables that connect the keyboard to the bells above.
"The keys are laid out the same as an organ and you have to coordinate your hands and feet. But that's the only similarity," Smith said, who started out as the academy's choir master and then organist 32 years ago.